While we discussed sickness during the pre-departure days, and while I somewhat expected to get sick while I was here, I also (naively) hoped that it simply wouldn’t happen, and that if I set my mind to it, I would be fine. Unfortunately, I was wrong.
In my second week, during a meeting, I started to feel ill and immediately knew that something was about to go badly. On my way back to our apartment, in 28 degrees, I started feeling extremely cold. By the time I got home, I was shivering uncontrollably and putting on every piece of clothing that I had brought to Morocco, including a down coat.
To make a long story short, I vomited and shivered and sweat and couldn’t get warm for the better part of two days. My entire body was in extreme pain, and my head ached like crazy. In a sort of delirious state, I told myself that this would pass if I just waited, but eventually started getting scared and thought I might need to see a doctor.
When this dawned on me, however, I also remembered that I had used all of my cash and would not be able to make it to a bank machine to get more in order to pay for a taxi. If that weren’t enough, when I picked up my phone to call the insurance company and figure out which hospital to go to, it was out of credit. So there I was, insanely sick, with no money, and no ability to phone anyone.
Thankfully, when my colleague got home from work, he called the insurance company and figured out which medical facility we should go to if it came to it. My supervisor also extended the offer to drive me there, for which I was immensely grateful. Even so, I realized that if I had been alone, I could have been totally screwed, and learned some important lessons in the process:
1) Figure out where the (most appropriate) hospital / clinic / medical facility is, what its hours of operation are and how to get there before you get sick.
2) Make sure you have enough money (cash) for a taxi to get to a medical facility.
3) Make sure you have enough phone credit to call the insurance company or someone else to help you.
In the end, I did start feeling a tiny bit better, and gradually regained some strength. There happened to be a scale in the apartment, and when I was finally well enough to get up and walk around a bit, I was shocked to discover that I had lost 3kg in such a short time frame.
I don’t really have a clear idea what caused this - perhaps a sip of tap water, or perhaps some fruit offered to me from some very kind local people on a train. Regardless, I have been quite careful ever since and pretty much given up on the idea of “getting used” to tap water here in order to minimize the amount of plastic bottles that go straight into the garbage, even though this pains me.