Uganda map:
Bacteria and Booze
Oct 14, 2004

Bacteria and Booze

I am embarrassed -- it has been 7 weeks since I last updated this journal.  Sorry for the delay.  I am a complete slacker....  but I do at least have have an excuse.

Steven King wrote:  "The idea that creative endeavor and mind-altering substances are intertwined is one of the great pop-intellectual myths of our time."  He's lying - or at least he's in denial.  He is an alcoholic and an AA member.  He cannot admit, even to himself, that drugs and alcohol help him write even though he did his best writing when he was out of his head.  I am not an alcoholic, so I feel free to admit that I need booze to write.  I've had ongoing stomach problems which have kept me from drinking, and without my booze I haven't felt motivated to write.

"I am not an alcoholic."  This phrase has been so twisted by AA that denial has become an admission of truth.  "Yes" is yes, and "no" is yes.  How fucked up, scary, and "1984" is that?  Well...  this is diverging onto another topic completely - I'm actually not an alcoholic and I'll leave ranting about AA for some other day. 

Here is the latest theory for the "buddies in my belly", and the reason that I've been unable to get rid of them.  I was taking doxycycline, an antibiotic, to prevent malaria.  It seems that the antibiotic killed all of the good bacteria in my stomach leaving me wide open to attack.  In Nairobi, I was diagnosed with Shigella a standard form of bacterial dysentery.  [You know you've been traveling for too when you begin to refer to types of dysentery as standard].  I managed to kill the Shigella, but my stomach problems continued; now with a new set of symptoms.  The best guess is that what is remaining is a fascinating super-bug called C.  Difficile.

    "C-difficile produces spores when attacked by antibiotics.  The spores can live in the open air or in dirt for up to two years.  Normal disinfectants have been shown ineffective against the spores.  This means that even if you kill the C-dif bacteria, spores can still be present.  When the leftover spores detect an attack from conventional antibiotics, it unmasks the spores and causes them to start producing the C-dif bacteria all over again."

    -Clostridium Difficile Foundation

One of you is undoubtedly thinking:  "Adam, can't you just drink this bug to death?  It was _you_ that told us that enough Vodka can kill anything."  Well, I was wrong.  I gave it my best shot.  Unfortunately, these bacteria seem to love the booze as much as I do. 

Interestingly, the cure for C.  Diff is to _stop_ taking antibiotics.  I'm now off antibiotics and am taking "probiotic" pills.  Each of these pills is filled with 4 billion good bacteria.  I'm still having minor stomach problems but these might just the wasteland from an epic fight between billions of good bacteria and bad bacteria.  I can't be sure yet, but it seems like my health might finally be improving.

Now, before you have too much sympathy for me, I need to say once again that dysentery isn't necessarily so bad.  Every few days I'd rush to the toilet with loose stool.  Weight loss was the more serious problem - and that is a symptom that most Americans would kill for.  The medications have been worse than the disease, and my biggest complaint is that I've been unable to drink.

Should these probiotic pills do their job, it is possible that I'll be completely healthy in a week or two.  The first thing that I'm going to do is order a double-shot of waragi, the local rock-gut booze, and start seriously catching up on writing.  I have adventures from around Uganda to write about.  I also have a stack of articles that have been outlined and just need to be thrown together.  Unfortunately, for the moment I'm still sober .  I'll just share a bit of news today and more writing will have to wait. 


I'm almost famous.  I am top-listed in google, and in this day and age being top-listed in google is like being famous.  Bring up google.  Type in "Adam Katz" and click "I'm feeling lucky."  Pretty neat, huh?  This new-found fame is great, but I'm just excited to have finally overtaken "Adam Katz - Dog Trainer."

One of my photos was selected to be in a multimedia exhibit at an Italian science museum.  I'm not overly flattered though, as they didn't offer to pay me anything.  It is a photo has gotten very little notice on this site, but it is one that I like.  The shot tells a story.  The subway in Milan on a winter morning is exactly as miserable as these people look.  [photo]

Uganda is the 50th country that I've visited!!  Reaching this milestone seemed incredibly cool until I achieved it.  Then it hit me that it's only an arbitrary number.  There is nothing more exciting about having been in 50 countries than there is at having been in 49 countries.  The next goal is one quarter of the countries in the world (65).  Perhaps this goal will be more meaningful, as it is less arbitary.  I possible that I'll get there before the end of this trip. 

I bought a new camera:  A Nikon D70.  It's a huge upgrade, and there should be a corresponding huge upgrade in the quality of photos posted to this site.  This [photo] is a good example of the sharpness and colors that I've been unable to achieve with my old camera. 

I'm signing off for now.  Having a professional grade camera makes me feel like a real photojournalist, and it's time to do some photojournalism.  I'm going to Gulu in the war zone of northern Uganda for a few days.  It should be sad, yet fascinating and amazing.  Other travelers have described it as their favorite place in Uganda.  I expect to come back with interesting stories and amazing photos. 

Jeshua Rosestone - Oct 18, 2004

Adam, it's great to hear from you.  I was getting a little concerned.  If you don't take better care of your health I'm going to start visiting the dog trainer's site on a regular basis.  ;-)

abby - Oct 18, 2004

how are things today.

abby - Oct 18, 2004

its real wounderful journey it seems like that to you am real appreciate, and i have saw all pictures of new camera but can you give me the old one as your friend i like camera and i dont have even for few money please i beg you can you do so.
bye yours friend Abby

Dark Misha - Oct 19, 2004

Looks like your Google title has been usurped.  I found a graphic designer has taken the #1 slot.  We're sending our goons over to him right away.

Well well, you've survived this far Mr Katz.  Nobody thought you could make it this far.  Somehow you've manged to overcome the deadly bacteria I had assassins place in your hummus.  BUT will you able to withstand my rotating blades of death room when you arrive at my super secret headquarters in Siberia?  We shall see Mr.  Katz, we shall see...


Yeah well...  I'm back on top now and plan to stay that way.  :-)

As for surviving Siberia, that's another story.  Between Misha's blades of death and the more obvious danger of the extreme cold we'll see if I make it.


Joakim - Oct 27, 2004

Hello Adam, I bought my Nikon D70 two weeks ago and I love it !!  The first shooting session I did was of an ice-hockey match in Sweden.  I guess there will be some time before you can do the same huh?  ...maybe in Siberia !!


When I first got my d70 I was pretty unconvinced.  It was far to heavy and far to expensive to be pratical for traveling around the world. 

But as I started getting fantastic results from it I became more and more convinced.  Now I don't feel as if I can live without it.


Douglas - Oct 28, 2004

you could also use google adword program and make good money with your site as well
if you are getting some traffic and ask people to click the add word sponsors


Thanks for the tip.

I am now using adwords - though I'm not yet making good money at it.  :-)


Joey - Nov 02, 2004

Hi Adam,
I somehow fell into following your blog awhile ago and have been checking for updates since (every once in awhile).  i'm in Madrid, drop a line if you're ever hereabouts.  My friend just bought a D70 and he is also happy with it.  Nikon and other camera companies are doing something increasingly annoying nowadays with digital cams.  Only local warranties, no international ones, NOT even if you offer to pay extra!  This at Singapore Airport, where the people buying are not likely to need a Singapore-only guarantee.  Anywayy, that was my rant for the day.  I hope the US elections come out positive (meaning not-Bush) and that's funny because I'm not even a US citizen.  Anyway, cheerios.


I love Madrid.  It's one of my favorite countries in the world.  Unfortunately, I don't seem how I'm going to fit it in my plan to make back there any time soon.

When I first got my D70, I was a bit unsure about it - I thought it was too big, and too expensive to be practical for traveling around the world.  But now that I'm seeing the results from it I'm 100% convinced and feel like I can't live without it. 

Oh well...  Bush won again.  :-( *sigh*


skyking - Mar 29, 2005

where do you get probiotic pills?


They're available at health food stores, but also easy to find online.


Jessica - Jun 08, 2007

jeshua, where are you?

Leave a comment


Email addresses are private.


HTML is not supported.

Spam check:
Enter this number: