Disabled with Dysentery During a 13 Hour Flight

July 9, 2013

in Illness/Medical Stories

Last February I flew to Vietnam to visit my brother who teaches English in the Mekong Delta. I wound up getting stuck over there for a few extra weeks because my passport and visa were stolen and I couldn’t leave the country until I had obtained new documents from the Vietnamese government. By the time I had gotten a new passport and visa and rebooked my flight home, I was suffering from a particularly nasty strain of amoebic dysentery that I picked up from the Mekong River water.

I showed up at Tan Son Nhat airport in Ho Chi Minh City to board my flight feeling like death. I had a high fever, chills, and… uh… let’s just say that at that point I was in desperate need of a toilet about once every 10 minutes.

I flew from Ho Chi Minh City to Tokyo and then boarded a non-stop flight to Washington, D.C. – a 13 hour flight across the Pacific. Flying for 13 hours straight sucks no matter what, but flying for 13 hours with dysentery is something that I wouldn’t wish on my worst enemy. I was violently shaking with chills for the first few hours of the flight, and then my fever finally broke and I started sweating so profusely that I soaked my clothes completely. I stopped counting after I sprinted to the lavatory for the 20th time to violently assault the toilet bowl. I eventually just sat in an empty seat at the back of the plane so I wouldn’t disturb my seatmate anymore (and so I could be closer to the much-needed toilet).

We finally landed after what seemed like an eternity. I’m sure the other passengers on the plane were happy to finally get away from me. It truly was the flight from hell.

{ 7 comments… read them below or add one }

Kate July 10, 2013 at 12:13 pm

That sounds completely awful! 🙁


Doc July 10, 2013 at 7:17 pm

Sorry to hear you were so sick. I hope you get thee to a doctor sharpish to treat those nasties in your gut.

Also, I hope you adequately sanitized your hands every time you went to the toilet, or some of your co-passengers may have picked up some of that special Mekong Delta sunshine.


Michelle July 11, 2013 at 1:06 pm

Trust me, I was basically bathing in hand sanitizer every time I visited the toilet. I didn't want to infect anyone around me.

In the end, I did get antibiotics from my doctor but it took me an entire month to get better and I lost 17 pounds in the process. Not fun 🙁


Substantial July 21, 2013 at 8:24 pm

I used to laugh when I'd see people using medicated wipes to clean the surfaces around their seat on a plane. Then I read a post like this when some over-entitled selfish twit decides to fly when they are obviously unfit to. Keep your germs to yourself and stay put until you're well.

I can't believe that someone who is so sick they have to take a dump every ten minutes is foolish enough to take a long haul flight.


@RhovanionGirl February 5, 2014 at 1:03 pm

Seeing as they were already stuck for weeks due to having their stuff stolen, maybe they couldn't afford to stay later?


@RhovanionGirl February 5, 2014 at 1:03 pm

Especially since, even after treatment it took them a month to get better. Living in another country for a month while you recover is not always an option, perhaps financially or due to visa restrictions.


amazon July 23, 2014 at 9:05 am

I feel sorry for you mate, as you've experience a very bad stuff over a roll of some nasty incidents over vietnam. Getting stuck over loss of passport/visa in another country is really a painful incident to be faced. Hope you would take some more care towards these scenarios in the future.


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