I staggered – literally -to the bathroom with my flashlight in hand. A few hours later I wrapped myself up in the bedsheet against the blazing cold. I say blazing because Ganta is not cold – it is barely even cool at night. Then this morning I found myself lethargic and sleepy and slightly nauseated. As the hours passed I slumped lower in my chair.

Two liters of water into my day (and not even noon yet) I knew it wasn’t dehydration. I was all the more certain because I’d been feeling not quite right for more than a few days. So I sent Sierra Leone a text asking him about symptoms and pulled aside one of the doctors on site for our training and inquired the same of him.

Two finger jabs, one malfunctioning test, and one positive test later and I had a diagnosis – malaria.

The thing is that in the scheme of things I’ve been pretty lucky. Two years in southern Africa and I escaped with a little head trauma, multiple sinus infections, and that is about it. Of all my international travels that is probably the worst of it. Unlike friends, I’ve never had breakbone fever, or giardia, or bilharzias, or anything like that.

The streak has ended.

It could be worse – a lot worse. While I don’t feel good I don’t feel horrible. I have bouts of fever and chills but pretty mild in the scheme of things. And I’m lethargic but I can get out of bed and function.

Essentially I have a suppressed case of malaria because of the prophylaxis otherwise, from everything I’ve been told, my malaria-inexperienced self would be on my hiney! This is more like Liberians (older than 5 of course) do…continue to go to work and socialize. It seems as if it is like a hay fever or a slight cold, something you can’t avoid and so you live with the nuisance. Never mind the strain most common here is pretty dangerous. Never mind the symptoms of malaria – when not suppressed – are pretty heinous, folks go about their days multiple times in a year with little attention to the parasites that converge periodically in their veins.

So I took the first 8 of my 24 tablets to be taken in 3 days (Coartem). Hopefully by midday tomorrow I’ll be feeling much better- if not we’ll figure out plan B.

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1 Comment on 24 Pills

  1. Linda O'Dell says:

    ok luv, almost 2 weeks later I hope u are much better and stronger and my understanding of malaria is that it never really leaves but is subdued and is controllable. Please know you are in my thoughts and prayers always as you travel your journey. Thanks again Linea for sharing your adventure, the good, the bad and the ugly and may your good always be on top. Luv u.

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