Luckily, the most frequent maladies are bothersome, but not life-threatening. There is the Inca Two Step, from eating and drinking contaminated food and water.
Yes, those are cows, and yes, those are carrots.
Fleas and mosquitoes also try to impede the work here.
Luckily, every person in our part of Peru believes himself or herself to be invested with great medical wisdom. While the root cause of maladies may not be clear to 21st-Century medicine, there is little room for doubt among these Doctors of Peruvian Medicine (MDPs).For instance: You cannot eat fish if you have a cut. DON'T DO IT!
It is a well-known fact that tomato seeds are deadly poisonous, and must be removed before ingesting said fruit. DON'T EAT THEM!!
We have heard from many sources, so it must be true, about the guy in Lima who opened his refrigerator and fell DEAD, DEAD I TELL YOU! when the cold fumes hit his body. DON'T EVEN THINK ABOUT DOING THIS!!
The MDP's are also clear that washing dishes in warm water causes arthritis, so STAY AWAY FROM THAT ONE, TOO!! That better be cold water, kid, or you're toast! Only, don't let the toast touch the other food, or you're a gonner from that also.
The remedies suggested by the amateur practitioners that surround us here can seem odd, but obviously work. For instance, for belly pain, one simply has to urinate in one's hand, and rub it on the belly. Twice a day for three weeks. Duh!!
While the Andean version of Montezuma's revenge is frequent, cures for it are even more widespread. A common one is to give a laxative (excuse me?!) as obviously this empties everything out and gets rid of the problem. Obviously!
OK, fine, but the deal is made real by then throwing the egg as far away as possible.
Oh, yes, I should remind you of an important caveat. If the egg breaks in mid-air, RUN, as the illness may return with a vengeance. Sometimes, two or three eggs are necessary.
As in any other legitimate branch of medicine, MDP's will occasionally be stumped as to the diagnosis, and may need to take the drastic step of The Cuy Test. Cuy is Peruvian for guinea pig.
Forget your MRI´s, CT scans and other hocus pocus. Pass this little guy around the body of the infirm individual several times, then cut the cuy open. The illness of the afflicted will be clearly seen in the insides of the animal. Meanwhile, the side benefit is that fried cuy is delicious, so even if the patient doesn't get better, you'll have a great meal.
So there you have it. We may not be richly blessed in conventional medical practice, but luckily the locals fill in.
May you stay healthy next time you're in the area.
Dave & Paula