Home » Living in Belize » Late Night Health Care in Belize aka my Crazy Friday Night Sci Fi Experience
Late Night Health Care in Belize aka my Crazy Friday Night Sci Fi Experience
Saving Lives in the Caribbean through Preparedness project - Belize Red Cross

Late Night Health Care in Belize aka my Crazy Friday Night Sci Fi Experience

Friday night turned into a total real life sci fi movie for me within a matter of minutes. Around 10pm I decided to use some of my Glorious Belize coconut massage oil that I had added some small vanilla pod pieces to scent it. This was not the first time I had used it but this time around I had a severe allergic reaction. My upper body started to tingle and I noticed the veins in my arms were puffing up and going all weird and snakey looking. I kept asking Paul if I was crazy or could he see it too and that I needed to get to a doctor right away.

He called Dr Daniel Gonzalez at Ambergris Hope clinic who said come right over. The cab ride felt like it was taking forever compared to normal. I just breathed deep and focused in remaining as Zen as I could. We finally finally got to Dr Dan’s and he was in the clinic waiting for us. He showed us into a room and proceeded to get details and examined me. He said my vital signs were normal, thankfully. When I showed him my arms and the bizarre movement of my veins, he agreed I was having an allergic reaction to vanilla. Next we moved to a different room and he  gave me a shot cortisone in the butt to reduce the swelling and calm things down. After the shot settled Dr Dan noticed I was a bit more agitated and said I needed to just relax, he gave me a prescription and sent us on our way back home and said everything would be fine.

The next day I was chatting on the coconut phone with Dr Al as he has been checking in on me daily regarding my boosting immune system and taunting me with his visits to Tim Horton’s and what he is ordering for breakfast. I told him what happened and right away he started looking it up. He said that he found 2 studies where fresh Vanilla pod can actually be poisonous to ones system – a freak reaction.

Later that day Dr Al came  back with a new report that I had mild anaphylaxis. He had also  called poison control for further research and that they thought it could be latex allergy.  Ardently its in the plant the pod and the oil leached it out, not exactly common. Its the pods which are black and have the seeds in them during the curing process latex is leached out. Some was absorbed thru the rash I had on my hand  and voila mild anaphylaxis, tingling, dizzy feeling racy.

His next recommendation aside from taking the meds Dr Dan had given me and resting was to keep eating good stuff. Go to Chetumal and then McD’s order the quaretrion con queso, big chocolate shake and large fries every day for a week. Lots of fluids and salt so suggest energy drinks like Gatorade.

Paul’s company through out the whole ordeal priceless.
Cost of Late night Visit to Dr Dan – $50 bzd
Cost of Dr Al’s further research [also priceless] and reassurance as to what really happened – imported wine

Belize medical

Ambergris Hope Clinic

As a follow up to the “Saving Lives in the Caribbean through Preparedness” project presently being implemented by the Belize Red Cross, we have planned a community awareness meeting to be held in San Pedro Town on the 24th April 6:30 PM at the Lion’s Den.

Please pass the word along so we can work together and create an active, prepared Ambergris Caye.

We will have a member and volunteer sign up table at the event, printed information and a donation box.

red cross belize

Saving Lives in the Caribbean through Preparedness project – Belize Red Cross


san pedro branch belize red cross


  1. Oh no! Buy some Benadryl and keep it on hand. My son went through bouts of full blown anaphylaxis when he was 17 years old where his whole body would break out in external/internal hives and his airways would close. He went through a lot of testing, but allergists never figured out the cause. We kept Benadryl and epi pens on us at all times, and he’d take both while we were rushing him to the emergency room. Benadryl is the first line defense if it’s a mild reaction. Hope you’re back to normal today, and hope it doesn’t happen again!

  2. Some clarification required. Chemical should read Chetumal. The purpose of McDonalds was to help you gain weight not correct anaphylaxis. And the allergy to vanilla would be rare given probable prior exposure over 40 years. I mean you had vanilla ice cream during childhood yes? The poison control centre had no idea really and suggested the latex allergy. The earliest paper on the subject actually dated to 1864 in Boston. Plus the wound on your hand facilitated exposure. I don’t know what the moral of the story is but it was a good story. But scary.

  3. Boy, Laurie, I have had the pleasure of Dr. Al’s online internet advice as well, and for conditions completely different than yours, he has prescribed the same eating regimen – fascinating! It must work no matter what illness you have.

    Between taking care of you and I, when does Dr.Al have time to practice medicine on his paying patients, as wine alone a man cannot live on (I already owe him at least two bottles).

    Seriously, though, I have a latex allergy. I had no idea it could be found in vanilla pods. I will definitely stay away from those. Latex reactions are no fun. Thanks for the heads up, and I hope you’re doing much, much better now.

    Sharon Hiebing
    Relocate Without Rose-Colored Glasses!

  4. Wow…glad you are doing better. That must have been really scary!

  5. How cray about your son, glad he made it through that, can’t imagine full blown, mild was more than enough. I am still feeling it in my system 4 days later. Great Idea Beck, will ad Benadryl to first aid kit.

  6. That was an odd early morning spell check typo Dr Al, but funny how Chemical ended up there in regards to Junk food. I did gain 4 pounds if the doctors scale was right, made sure to ask if I could weigh in at the end of the ordeal.

  7. Sharon let me know when you are ready to split a case ha ha. It was a freak thing and the combo of the oil leaching it out. Definitely be careful though since you have an allergy to it. You can ask Dr Al you show you the research he found on it.

  8. Thanks Emily, it was really crazy but between Paul, Dr Dan and Dr Al I was not as scared as I could have been – the 3 boys really helped take the edge off.

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