BY STEPHEN BEZRUCHKA, M.D. THE MOUNTAINEERS, 306 SECOND AVENUE WEST, SEATTLE, WASHINGTON 98119; 1988.
We've just returned from Puerto Vallarta, and the daily dose of trimethoprim recommended in this book protected us from la turista. Would that I had partaken of Dr. Bezruchka's wisdom and antibiotics a few years ago, when a frenzied dash through the alleys of the sook in the Old City of Jerusalem, in search of a public toilet, ended in failure and embarrassment.
Dr. Bezruchka, an emergency room physician, mountain climber, kayaker, bicyclist, and all-around-tree-hugger writes with directness and simplicity, avoiding medical jargon. In order to maintain adequate hydration during bouts of diarrhea, he advises drinking fluids in amounts sufficient to produce "two busting bladders full of urine a day." The book is tiny, no bigger really than your passport. But it covers every medical crisis that you might encounter, from Nepal to Nova Scotia, from schistosomiasis to sunburn.
The emphasis is on prevention--boiling, washing, avoidingóbut sometimes,
as the t-shirts say in Puerto Vallarta, "shit
happens." If an attacking lion is not deterred by your withering stare and menacing shouts, and begins to have you for his dinner, Dr, Bezruchka advises that "the beast should be allowed to chew on an extremity in the hope it will lose interest." If it does, turn to the sections on stopping bleeding, fractures, and tetanus shots. If it does not, those traveling with you can turn to the last page, where there is a helpful section on shipping home your remains.