Scott Hanselman

South Africa 2008 - Scott in the Time of Cholera

December 20, '08 Comments [30] Posted in Africa
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image Well, more of lower-cased 'C' cholera. Or, just forgot to wash some grapes. Either way, it feels like Cholera. Much like my trip to Tanzania when I was waiting for Death's Sweet Release.

This of course, has little to do with South Africa specifically and more to do with travelling. In large cities, it also has little to do with water cleanliness. If you are African and you come to the US and drink tap water you are taking a chance that you'll encounter a bug you haven't seen before. I have apparently encountered this bug and insulted its mother, and it's taken it personally. I am OK only when on my back and unconscious. All other positions or levels of awake are a world of pain and nausea.

My uncle just set out yesterday for Harare, Zimbabwe in his truck to bring food and water to our relatives that are left. He's going for 7 days and he is taking 15 liters of bottled water just for himself. The line at Beitbridge to get into Zim is apparently 3km long. It's back to back cars, just waiting in the heat, right in the middle of the Cholera outbreak. I'm feeling crappy, but I hope that our Uncle makes it back safely.

You know you are really, really sick when you can't remember what well feels like. Was I ever well? What does it feel like to eat food and process it appropriately? Will I ever know again?

Here's hoping. ;)

About Scott

Scott Hanselman is a former professor, former Chief Architect in finance, now speaker, consultant, father, diabetic, and Microsoft employee. He is a failed stand-up comic, a cornrower, and a book author.

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Saturday, 20 December 2008 10:50:49 UTC

Come now Scott - the whole framework versioning and SP1 GDR release business *is* pretty sickening, but I think you're overplaying it a bit.

Joking aside, hope you feel better soon. And don't forget that once you're well again, you can never quite remember what really, really sick feels like.

Will Dean
Saturday, 20 December 2008 10:51:05 UTC
Sorry to hear about you being sick. Get well soon.
Saturday, 20 December 2008 11:27:52 UTC
Will - ROTFLMAO! Tell me about it.
Saturday, 20 December 2008 12:39:01 UTC
Yikes! Get well soon, Scott!
Saturday, 20 December 2008 12:50:15 UTC
Oh my:( Get well soon.

Christmas greetings from Poland!
Saturday, 20 December 2008 14:11:40 UTC
Drink plenty of electrolyte and make sure you make it from water that has been boiled.
Saturday, 20 December 2008 16:11:19 UTC
Take good care of yourself and get well. Keep in touch. Our love to everyone!
Dad and Mom
Saturday, 20 December 2008 16:55:43 UTC
What do you think now about that immigration officer that didn't want to let you into the country?

Get better!
Saturday, 20 December 2008 16:57:43 UTC

Waterborne illnesses in the 3rd world are nothing to laugh at. We're very concerned for you and you're in my families prayers now. Get well soon and come back to us, with your family, safe and sound.

Saturday, 20 December 2008 21:33:24 UTC
Sorry to hear about this sudden turn of events. Sounds serious.

Is Gaterade, or any sports drink, available in local stores? (Assuming you can manage the sugars in these drinks... they're often too much for me)
Saturday, 20 December 2008 22:07:54 UTC
I hope you have a speedy recovery. Hang in there!
Sunday, 21 December 2008 01:17:31 UTC
Hey Now Scott,
Hope you feel better. You'll be fine.
Tuffen up, like an old IDE hardrive that needs to spin for a just a little while longer!

Hanselminutes fan,
Sunday, 21 December 2008 06:25:33 UTC
Waterborne illnesses in the 3rd world are nothing to laugh at.

Just as the "3rd World" specificity of the remark.
Inhabitant of the 3rd world
Sunday, 21 December 2008 06:53:14 UTC
Bummer! LOL, just realised that expression may be less than appropriate for the circumstances. Hope you're on the mend.

Mike mentioned sport drinks and while they are widely available here, South Africans usually just drink Coke in times of tummy troubles.
Sunday, 21 December 2008 07:02:36 UTC
It's probably not much of a comfort, but you could have had a similar experience, even if you had stayed in the States. There's a nasty stomach flu bug on the rampage. Last week, I found myself sprawled face down on a tile floor, simultaneously freezing and burning up. I had long ago run out of anything organic to give back, so I was pretty sure I had thrown up my soul. But I didn't have the energy to lift myself up and fish it out of the toilet. And I could swear I heard a voice saying, "Come to the light..."
Rob C.
Sunday, 21 December 2008 13:07:26 UTC
Hope you feel better in time for Christmas.
Sunday, 21 December 2008 13:43:35 UTC
One or two drags of some green will get you going again. I remember instances where a little helped a lot with nausea.
Sunday, 21 December 2008 15:01:13 UTC

Assert(Green == absinthe); ...?
Sunday, 21 December 2008 15:01:31 UTC

Assert(Green == absinthe); ...?
Sunday, 21 December 2008 15:07:49 UTC
Hang in there Scott! Hope you get well for x-mas!
Sunday, 21 December 2008 16:01:22 UTC
Hmm, absinthe usually doesn't help with nausea for me, it induces nausea.
Sunday, 21 December 2008 18:00:04 UTC

Nice play on the Gabriel Garcia-Marquez book title!

Glad to hear you're recovering.

Monday, 22 December 2008 14:06:39 UTC
Hey Scott,

As a South African I must say that I am very sorry to hear about your mishaps during your stay. It is a beautiful country but not without its flaws. Glad to see you're taking it in good spirits though! Hope you make a speedy recovery and have a greats festive season!

Damian Gonsalves
Monday, 22 December 2008 14:31:03 UTC
At the very least you need to survive this "vacation". You can be sick all you want when you get back.
Monday, 22 December 2008 15:51:08 UTC
Hey Scott,

Love your blog btw. I'm a Microsoft/OpenSource person too and I'm glad people like you spoke up for this very smart union of different paradigms.

Found this and figured if you're still in South Africa it might be interesting:
Monday, 22 December 2008 16:14:32 UTC
Hey Scott, if you're not better yet, I might have some advice. (I got a similar experience in Brazil a few years ago).

It usually has nothing to do with bad water, as you probably know, but with the fact that you stomach aren't used to the bugs in the part of the world that you're in! Your stomach doesn't have the "stomach flora" that is required for this part of earth. Rest assured that once you're healthy again, it won't happen again - your stomach will contain all the necessary bugs!
Monday, 22 December 2008 17:13:49 UTC
Must make your diabetes even more 'interesting' to deal with.

I feel for your uncle too, those lines to the border are almost as long as the ones to the mall here. Good luck, hope you'll enjoy the rest of your trip.
Tuesday, 23 December 2008 03:05:40 UTC
Get well Scott! I hope the rest of your family is doing well!
Tuesday, 23 December 2008 06:57:07 UTC
Ernst - Ya, it's exactly what you said, a bug I hadn't seen before. Same thing happened when I drank the water in Tanzania. However, I am well now, and eating salad again. ;)

I would agree that urbanized South Africa is hardly "3rd world" and the tap water is largely fine. When I think 3rd world, I think of shanties with NO running water, no electricity. You can find this in parts of the US, in fact.
Monday, 29 December 2008 12:57:35 UTC
Remember these things are 90% mental and 10% physical and 100% awful. That one is from the same category as the Catholic church and the rhythm method - pretty useless.

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Disclaimer: The opinions expressed herein are my own personal opinions and do not represent my employer's view in any way.