What’s the worst part about traveling? Getting sick. If there’s one thing I can vouch for first-hand, you don’t want to end up in the hospital in a foreign country.
The symptoms started shortly after arriving in Istanbul although very sporadic and far between in the beginning. For me, this is pretty standard when I arrive in a new country so I didn’t think much of it. Then a few days ago I spent a couple evenings doubled over in pain with stomach issues. (I’ll spare you the details.) I could have put up with it for several days before giving into seeing a doctor. Even in the states, I just don’t go to the doc. I don’t. For one, I’ve rarely had insurance so it’s quite pricey and another, I refuse to take antibiotics if I can help it. I’ve been doing my best to heal my gut and taking antibiotics will reverse all my hard work.
The word “antibiotic” literally means “against life”
Simply stated, antibiotics are a poison that kill your body’s good bacteria in addition to the bad. Once the bacteria has been killed, it leaves way for yeast to grow in your body which is why UTI’s are so common after a bout of antibiotics. While there is absolutely a place for them in our lives, they’re used and abused to the point that they’re now doing more harm than good.
Did you know that more antibiotics per pound are used on livestock than in human medicine? Because of the extremely poor living conditions of our livestock, the animals need antibiotics, steroids and growth hormones to prevent disease from showing before they’re slaughtered. In turn, we ingest these poisons into our bodies by simply eating this meat. (Which makes us fat in addition to sick!) This is why organic grass-fed meat should be your only option. Personally, I choose to avoid all meat.
Dr. Mercola summed it up well, “Antibiotic overuse has spurred a vicious cycle. If you take antibiotics, you can develop drug resistance that lasts up to a year. The more antibiotics are prescribed for coughs and flu-like illnesses and the more antibiotics are fed to livestock, the more bacteria become resistant in an endless cycle. And in most cases of human upper respiratory infections, antibiotics are of no use in the first place because the infections are most often fungal in origin—not bacterial.”
Late Friday evening, my stomach issues got so bad, I was in tears and could barely crawl, let alone walk. It reached the point that I had trouble breathing and the pain spread to my entire right side down my leg, arm and up my neck. I broke down and went to the emergency room.
My time spent at the ER is almost comical when I look back at it… Me with tear stained eyes hunched over shuffling into the hospital, a Turkish doctor that clearly only spoke a few words of “doctor jargon” English, my agency driver who speaks minimal English attempting to translate…
In the end, I really have no idea if my symptoms were understood properly. If anyone asked me if I had an allergy (penicillin!), it didn’t get translated to me. My doctor ended up prescribing me three antibiotics but I decided to stick to natural remedies like garlic and turmeric – both powerful natural antibiotics – to fight the bacteria on my own. If worst comes to worst, I’ll have the antibiotics on hand and will take them if absolutely necessary.
The consensus is that I got sick from water contamination. I’m the third girl in my building with the same symptoms that this has happened to in the last few weeks. You always hear the warning in certain countries, “Don’t drink the water!” I may not have drunk the water here in Istanbul, but I brushed my teeth in it and washed my fruit and veggies in it. We also put tap water in the kettle but after reading up on it, bacteria infested tap water needs to boil for a full five minutes to completely kill the bacteria. (Some agencies recommend 10 minutes.)
Going forward, I’ll use fresh water whenever possible and be MUCH more careful in general.
Here are some helpful articles that explain this in greater length: