I was contacted by Gunnar Engblom (Kolibri Expeditions), whom I’ve been casually acquainted with online for years, asking me if I’d like to be the “official blogger” for a birding trip to Peru. Yeow, would I?!? This unexpected offer surprised me, to say the least, but it didn’t take too long for excitement to set in after I realized this was a serious offer: I would get to observe and photograph wild parrots!
Unfortunately, I have recently been preoccupied with several seemingly insurmountable tasks, including applying to the USFWS for CITES permits to export my five parrots from the USA, trying to locate a veterinarian in Germany who can help me import my parrots, as well as moving myself to Germany (projected departure: ASAP, but probably mid-to-late November), and I’ve also had the added stress of caring for a seriously ill parrot (she apparently has diabetes), so I’ve been frustratingly slow in meeting all the challenges and time demands that confront me, including preparing for this trip.
But in preparation for my upcoming trip to Peru, I managed to go to the NYC Travel Clinic today to consult with the nurse there about which vaccines I need in preparation for this upcoming birding expedition to Manu (ma NOW) and Tambopata, Peru, which will depart in roughly one month (the dates are estimated to run between 23 October – 1 November). I ended up getting;
- Yellow fever (one injection into the fat of the upper arm; stings like hell; booster required every ten years): $140
- Hepatitis A (first of two injections into the muscle of upper arm; cold feeling reaching down the arm, followed by roughly 20 minutes of an intense feeling that I would pass out and vomit at the same time; booster required after six months for life-long immunity): $95
- Tetanus/Diptheria (one injection into the muscle of the upper arm; then, starting tomorrow and ongoing for 4-5 days, the injection site will hurt as if I’d been punched hard in the arm by someone who deserves to be punched in the mouth; booster required every ten years): $65
- Typhoid (live oral vaccine, 2 tablets every other day on an empty stomach for 8 days [four doses total]; booster required every five years): $90
Because I’ve received the Hepatitis B series twice, I did not get HepB ($80 per injection for a series of three over a total period of six months), even though it was recommended that I get a booster, nor did I get rabies ($245 per injection for a series of three total over a period of 21/28 days), nor did I get the influenza vaccine ($30, also recommended — I forgot to ask for this one, but I think I can get it cheaper elsewhere). In addition to the vaccines, I got a DEET kit with sunblock, spray, etc., ($35) to deter biting insects and a diarrhea kit that contains antibiotics ($32).
In total, this visit cost $520! Very expensive for an unemployed person without any form of health insurance. [Between my sick parrot and myself, medical bills have cost more than rent this month, and the month is only half over!]
After all these vaccinations, I went home and fell into bed, exhausted. I am not sure precisely why I was so tired, but certainly my ongoing lack of sleep (due to stress) played a role and I suspect the vaccinations also affected me.
One more thing that has been recommended is that I purchase is a portable water purifier (I prefer battery-free models), but the expense has made me cautious about this purchase, even though the one I am considering appears to be top-quality.