Wednesday, February 17, 2010

O! Thou Foul Worm

This week, I ought to be writing about our lovely trip to a little community about 70 miles north of Kumasi. I ought to be telling you about the trip up there, the landscape along the way, the great people we met and the nice time Renita and I shared together. I ought to have pictures too, of smiling faces and food and trees and coal pots and hills and green.
But I don't. We were supposed to leave last Wednesday morning for a flight to Kumasi then overland to our destination. But we didn't.

The fever started Tuesday out of the blue, and I knew the trip was in jeopardy by that afternoon. As often happens with Malaria-- for that was the diagnosis-- after a few hours I felt better. But I knew the night would probably be worse. And it was. Fever, chills, fitful sleep. On Wednesday morning, we called our host and cancelled the trip. I began my treatment of artesunate amodiaquine-- and had little idea that a cure could feel worse than a disease. I would learn the truth soon.
Malaria itself has a fairly predictable course until it either gets cured, goes into hiding or kills its host: strong flu-like symptoms, body aches, regular cycling fever, low energy, sleep disturbances-- pretty miserable stuff. However, it must be treated quickly because of the chance of developing life-threatening complications. I wasn't worried, just very disappointed that we missed our trip.

Artesunate amodiaquine, on the other hand, is less predictable. It was the medicine I chose, because it has a reputation of being powerful against several types of Malaria. However for me the side effects, concurrent with the Malaria it was combating, were terrible-- intense stomach pain, vomiting, nausea, vivid repeating dreams with little sleep, anxiety-- Thursday night and Friday night may have been the longest and worst nights of my life. By Saturday, the Malaria was definitely dying but the medicine, with its lengthy half-life, was thoroughly enjoying the new clean house. The stomach pain lasted through the weekend and is just know hinting at leaving.

Ok you get the idea. Today is Wednesday, and we have US guests Rick Slager and James Nowell here for a bit before they leave tomorrow with Renita to Liberia. I'm feeling better but still not back 100%. I get sleepy and my stomach bothers me, so I miss out a bit on the fun. Like today for instance, Renita is out with Rick and James touring a village about an hour away, and I'm convalescing. Actually, for the first time in a while I've been muster the juice necessary to write something, so that's progress. Just in time too, because Renita will be gone for two long weeks.

Anyway I've got no pictures. Maybe when Renita gets back later today, we'll maybe be able to share her and James' and Rick's village visit. As for now, time for a nap.
UPDATE-- Here are a few pictures from Rentia's trip this afternoon. Just a few hours ago.

As always, a formal welcome by various representatives.

Guests James (L) and Rick. Observing as they go.

Visiting the ladies' farm.

They look pleased with the cassava crop! Great shot by Rick.