Thirty days. That’s what everyone said. IF you’re bitten by a mosquito that happens to be a carrier, it’ll take thirty days for the little critters (they’re called parasites, but that just sounds so … disgusting!) to camp out in your liver until they mature, and then unleash their dastardly invasion throughout your bloodstream, wreaking havoc with every system! So imagine my surprise when, not even three weeks into our little adventure, I’m attacked! And I’ve been faithfully taking the daily preventative medication! And I don’t remember being bitten! And it’s not even been three weeks! When Sandy said to me, “Maybe you’ve got malaria,” I said, “Nah, it can’t be yet. It’s too soon.”
Speaking of too soon, have you ever felt yourself getting sick — know that something’s terribly wrong within about 20 minutes? Without being too graphic, let me share with you what I felt a week ago on Tuesday.
We came home for lunch as usual (It’s a short walk across the compound) and I had a peanut butter-and-jelly sandwich. At about 10 ’til 1:00 we headed back to the office. I had felt a little intestinal distress, but hey, it’s a new county, new weather, new foods. I felt otherwise fine.
At 2:00 I dashed upstairs to the SBA’s office to ask a quick question before a meeting he was about to begin, then dashed back down to my office and started working on some emails. At about 2:15 I felt a bit dizzy, and found it hard to concentrate on the computer screen. By 2:20 I couldn’t hold my head up. I took a drink of water, then laid my head on my arm for a moment. I began to feel pain creeping from my core into my shoulders and hips, then spreading into my upper arms and legs, moving out to the extremities.
For the next 20 minutes or so, I fought with myself to alternately sit up and type a sentence or two, and then lay my head back down. Finally I shut my computer down, told some staff I was heading home, and wandered like a drunk back across the compound. I fell into bed at about 3:00. Sandy woke me up at 6 o’clock and told me if I didn’t get up, I wouldn’t be able to sleep that night. After she watched my pitiful trek down the stairs and saw me collapse into a chair, she uttered that now famous line: “Maybe you’ve got malaria.”
The good news is that the hospital was okay (I’ll write about that next time), and the doctor was terrific, and in a short time I was feeling like okay maybe I still wanted to live again. I prayed and sang to myself, “I’m in His hands, I’m in His hands …” I thank God for good meds and a good doctor, and for watching over me, and for the prayers of family and friends throughout the world.
Now I’m looking for a T-Shirt emblazoned with, “I Survived Malaria!”