Saturday, December 27, 2008

Gmail Video Chat

Google just released a new program through it's gmail chat feature.  It's free video and voice chat, and it even rings just like a phone!  Kyle and I have been setting up the family, but if you also have a Mac and/or a webcam, let us know and we'll add you to our chat list.

Friday, December 26, 2008

Doxy vs. Malarone

So there are basically two possible Malaria meds to take in SE Asia: Malarone and Doxycycline. The rest are ruled out because malaria parasites are resistant little buggers.

Doxycycline is an antibiotic, so taking it on a daily basis has its ups and downs. The ups are that it helps combat organisms other than Malaria (such as the kind that give you traveler's diarrhea) and that it's cheap. The downs are that it has to be taken for longer periods of time and has some yucky side effects such as photosensitivity, the possibility of a yeast infection, and since it's an anti-biotic it also kills beneficial bacteria (think gut) and reduces the effectiveness of birth control.

Malarone is an anti-parasitic. Its ups are that you have to take it for less time, there are fewer reported side effects, and it won't interfere with birth control. But the downside is insurmountable: it costs like a bazillion and half dollars for an 8-week course (more like five hundred-thirty-something dollars) and we need 6 months each.

After doing some research (mostly at Chase.com) we decided on the doxy. Our travel doctor recommended we try a Canadian pharmacy in the area that mail orders drugs from Canada. The guy got us a great price (about half), but we had to sign some paper saying we understood that the meds we were receiving were from a country other than Canada. Hmmm....

Sounded fishy so we called him up and asked him exactly which country they were coming from. The answer was a shocker: the U.S.A.

Apparently it's cheaper to get drugs that have been shipped from the U.S. to Canada and back to the U.S. again than it is to get drugs straight from the U.S.

No worries. Obama will fix it. ;)

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Vaccines

So as you might expect, Kyle and I have to get stuck with multiple needles before heading out to SE Asia. We recently visited the nice folks at Travel Health Services, where they filled us up with dead and weakened versions the following diseases:

Japanese Encephalitis B. AKA the expensive one. A 3 course series runs $145/shot. That's 6 x 145 = $870 for both of us. But: Of people who are diagnosed with this mosquito-borne disease, 1/3 die and another 1/3 suffer permanent brain damage. We thought it was best to dish out the cash and be glad we won't end up (brain) dead.

Hepatitis A. Kyle had to get this one, but I already got it a few years back when I went to Central America so I just need a booster.

Influenza. The doctor told us we can feel good about this one because it comes from pig farms in China. (Why should we feel good about that? I'm not really sure.)

Typhoid. Kyle got the injected version, which is good for 2 years. I got the oral version 3 years ago and since it's good for 5 we're both on the same schedule for the next one.

Also recommended (but we've already had): Hepatitis B, Meningococcal Meningitis, and updates of our MMR and DPT. The CDC also recommends a Rabies vaccine for travelers of our sort, but apparently there's a limited amount available and they're saving it for people who have already been exposed. Rough.

Friday, December 5, 2008

No Curb Dumps Necessary

I'm really proud we didn't end up needing a curb dump when we moved. We had incredible luck and were able to sell all our furniture. We were actually able to raise enough money to cover our plane tickets. Most of the rest of the stuff we had we were able to give to friends or donate to Goodwill. Total trash from our move: not quite one bag.

On our way out of town, we had a flat tire and it snowed the whole drive. We've never had a drive to or from NYC where the weather wasn't terrible. Good thing we're out now. We're back in Dublin, and it's been pretty awesome. Hot tubs, fireplaces, and babies. I can't complain.