Monday, November 12, 2007

African flu

Myspace Mood: less like death than yesterday

So guess what fun experience I had this weekend? You got it, my first time to catch malaria! On Friday afternoon was feeling really tired (which happens on Friday around here sometimes..) so I came home early at 5:30 and lay down for a little bit. I got back up this morning (Monday). At first I thought it was just a flu, so I was trying to let it run its course (since your body need the fever to kill the virus). I didn't sleep much Friday or Saturday night and didn't eat anything, though I was drinking as much water as I could. We realized Sunday morning that it wasn't just a flu when my temp hit 104.5° and my back felt like an elephant had been dancing on it. Since I think the temperature your brain starts cooking is 106°, it was a little too close for comfort and I started taking Tylenol to keep the fever manageable along with the vitamins/OJ I was already taking. This morning we went to the doctor (actually to the head of the only hospital here in Bissau, fortunately our director here at the center had a connection), went and got some blood tests done to confirm the diagnosis, got some medicines, and came home. I feel better today but am still sore and exhausted. It sounds it will be about a week until I'm back on my feet. It might be a long week if I don't start feeling better soon. I was able to sleep last night though, so that helped a lot.

It's funny the different reactions we've gotten here, because malaria is no big deal to the Africans here. They've all had it, probably like once a year. It's like our flu to them. I think most of them got it for the first time when they were young enough not to remember it though – they say the first time is way worse than the rest, and I can put my vote in for that. I had heard that when you have it you feel like you'd rather die. So it is definitely unpleasant, but also not the "yep, you're definitely gonna die now" idea we have in our head when we hear about malaria in the States.

Oh yeah, one other fun side benefit... exhaustion. I've been sitting up for ten minutes now and I feel like I've been awake for a week, lol. I'm going back to bed now. Just wanted all of you guys at home to know that it's not as scary as it sounds and even though I feel crappy I'll be fine in a bit. It wouldn't hurt if you prayed for me though. :)

PS. Sorry if parts of this don't make sense, my brain isn't working quite right yet. You would laugh if I hadn't going back and reread this though, it didn't even make much sense to me! Saturday night I had a half-awake dream that I was building a six inch wide road along an 80 mile stretch of the interior here. After two hours of the "dream" I had only laid ten feet of the road so I was thinking to myself "this night is never going to end!"

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