my mystery malady

This past Wednesday, I woke up feeling exhausted but otherwise fine. About an hour after eating breakfast, a dull sense of weakness and malaise began creeping over me and I had to lie back down. By the end of the next hour, I was unable to sit up, paralyzed by bodily fatigue. I had stitches of pain and muscle aches in my legs and sides and neck. I couldn’t find a comfortable position and every time I moved I moaned. I was chilly and sweaty at the same time.

I didn’t want to jump to malarial conclusions and I also didn’t want to go to the doctor without a very good reason, so I tried to wait it out, but by 7pm it was clear it was getting worse instead of better. I had gotten nauseous and head-achey, my aches had turned into pronounced pains, and I could barely crawl out of bed let alone stand up straight.

I hobbled with Mamie to the pharmacy next door where they pronounced their prognosis soon after my arrival: “un petit palu,” a mild case of malaria. I told them I take doxycycline every day as a prophylactic and they mimed the pill going in one ear and out the other. They gave me a fizzy paracetamol tablet to reduce my fever and told me to get to the doctor stat.

So we headed to the emergency room (salle d’urgence) of the hospital downtown, whereupon I began an epic journey / vocabulary lesson. Continue reading

a quandary


Note: No one cares about the stuff I drone on and on about below, except for me and perhaps a few other frustrated people searching the Internet for answers to their paludisme prevention pains. So feel free to stop reading right here, I won’t mind.

Commence rant:

Apart from endless sexual and other harassment, which I will write about when I have the energy to channel all the rage and frustration it inspires, my biggest issue here is self-made, in a manner of speaking. The doxycycline that I was taking as a malaria prophylactic was making me nauseous and giving me terrible acid reflux every single day. If my stomach was anything less than 100% full of 100% non-greasy food (which is pretty hard to find here), my gag reflex would go off apropos of nothing. I was in the middle of filming an interview, for example, when a wave of nausea washed over me and in order to fight it back, I had to turn away from the interview subject as she was speaking, and just stare at the ground while gripping my chair for a few minutes. Not great. I felt like a pregnant woman because I was always snacking and always suffering from something akin to morning sickness, a queasiness that was more in my head than my stomach.  Continue reading