Cancelling my long-awaited trip to South America because I couldn’t have a yellow fever vaccination made me resent Arthur like I did as a kid who couldn’t roller skate.
It’s not fair that having rheumatoid arthritis (RA) firstly stopped me from rolling around a skating rink and, now, travelling to my dream destination.
Specifically, it’s the immunosuppressant drugs that keep Arthur pacified – arava and methotrexate – that prevent me from having the yellow fever vaccine.
For the vaccine to be effective, I’d need to stop taking the medication 2 weeks before and 2 weeks after vaccination, pretty much ensuring I’d have a flare up.
And, when I’m feeling like I’ve been hit by a Mack truck, there’s a good chance I’d get yellow fever because it’s a live vaccine.
While I could get a certificate to say I couldn’t have the vaccination because of medical reasons, and take my chances in the Amazon, I’m immunocompromised so there’s a good chance I’d succumb to the virus.
Let’s just say my rheumatologist wasn’t very supportive of my travelling anywhere with yellow fever.
Once I stopped crying and moaning about things I couldn’t change, I realised I’d made the rookie mistake of not investigating vaccination requirements before booking an overseas tour.
In my head I’d packed my bags, including the Dencorub in case of aches, light hoodie in case of cold on the plane and Birkis sandals for comfortable walking in the Brazilian heat.
I’d written a reminder note to ask the doctor for extra scripts to stock up medication for the trip and a letter explaining why I was carrying so many prescription drugs overseas.
I’d even dragged my bag down from the top shelf in my cupboard to check it was still light enough to carry and the wheels worked.
But I’d neglected to check vaccination requirements.
That’s something that needs to be done in the early stages of planning – and something I did first before booking my next best adventure holiday…
A Southern Africa safari.