Yesterday I took my kids to the zoo, where I got my first mosquito bite of the year. I’m sure no one’s a fan of mosquitoes, but I have a particular hatred towards them. When I lived in Kenya they took an extreme liking to me. I could stand in a group of people, didn’t matter how many, and the stupid insects would choose me to bite, and ultimately infect me with Malaria. I’ve officially been diagnosed with the deadly disease on 5 different occasions, and I can tell you first hand, it is not fun, but one time in particular was much worse than the rest.
It was the first time we had moved to Kenya, and we were living in Nakuru when I began to feel ill. I’d never had Malaria before so I wasn’t sure what the symptoms were or what to do about it. Yes, I had all my immunization before I traveled, but there are many different strains of the virus and the shots cannot protect from them all. Sorry to burst your bubble.
Anyways, I became weak. So weak, because I couldn’t keep anything down (or in or up or however you want to put it). I lived in the bathroom with a bucket because for the first 4-5 days it was coming out everywhere, all the time. I tried my best to stay hydrated, knowing how important that was, for myself and because I was nursing little E, but it got to the point that I couldn’t even keep water down. I tried drinking pineapple Fanta (in place of ginger ale) one tiny capful at a time to settle my stomach every six hours or so, and I couldn’t even keep half a grape down. I easily lost 15-20 pounds over the course of the maybe 10 days total that I was sick.
Finally, about a week into me lying in bed/sitting on the toilet, E suggested we go for a walk, and that all I needed was some “fresh air”. What I didn’t know at the time was that we were out of groceries and he wanted me to help him do the shopping. And, in his romantic fashion, he offered to carry little E, ohhh thanks 😒. So after about a week of being literally the sickest I’ve ever been, I got dressed (barely) and started out on what was normally a 45 minute walk to the Tusky’s Supermarket. Well this time… it took almost 2 hours. I had to stop every 5 steps or so to prevent myself from passing out or throwing up (throwing up what, I don’t know since I hadn’t eaten in days, but my stomach was churning). When we finally got to the store I made E go inside and do the shopping alone, because I didn’t want to throw up inside.
Then, because I was so exhausted, I insisted E find us a tuktuk to drive us home because there was no way I would make it back without dropping dead plus E had also expected me to carry half the groceries?!?! Seriously? Nope I wasn’t moving. I literally sat down in the middle of the parking lot until he found a tuktuk to take us home. Sometimes you gotta do what you gotta do, and for me that was staging a “sit in’ in the parking lot.
Once home, it took me two days to “recover” from the walk before I finally told E I needed a Doctor. I realized this wasn’t just your standard Kenyan food poisoning and it wasn’t getting better on its own. So instead of calling a piki piki for me to ride on to the hospital, E suggested we start walking and we would just hail one on the way. Again, I’m past sick. Past exhausted, or the point of arguing. I’m just wanting to get better. So, I struggled to get dressed, puke up nothing a couple more times, and we start off on the very slow walk to the clinic.
Of course, with my luck, not one piki piki drives past us the entire time. And E just watches me struggle for an hour trying to get to the clinic instead of call any of the drivers he knows. But finally, we arrive.
The nurse or doctor or whomever takes my blood to go figure out what’s wrong and as I’m waiting I have to go. Like GO. NOW! So I rush across the hall to the “bathroom” which is a literal hole in the floor. Ok, fine. Since living in Kenya I’ve gotten used to the whole squatting thing, but as I frantically look around I noticed there’s no toilet paper. That’s where I draw the line. I’ll squat fine. But I have to wipe! Especially in a “hospital”? How unsanitary! So I run back to the Dr’s office where I remember seeing some Kleenex on the counter and the tech is in there so I quickly ask if I can use the tissue and grab it without even waiting for a response. I RUN back to the “toilet” and barely make it in time.
Then, I have to casually walk back to the office and discreetly place the tissue box back on the counter like no one knew what was happening, while totally worn out by the sheer effort of the running. Meanwhile the tech is politely pretending he didn’t notice anything, how kind right?
About half hour later, my blood work had been analyzed and the results were in.
Turns out, I had BOTH Malaria AND Typhoid! WTF! Not one but TWO deadly diseases at the same time! No wonder a walk for some fresh air didn’t do anything lol. I was actually dying. Literally DYING!
Anyways, the Doctor said he’d never seen anything like it before (story of my life) and gave me a whole bunch of different medications for the various diseases and dehydration. Then sent me on my way. I refused to leave (again) until E called me a ride, for which he obliged right away. Saying things like “Oh C, you’re so strong” and “Wow, you actually were sick”. He’s lucky I was sick and tired, because I just didn’t have the energy to tell him how I felt.
Needless to say, I’ve obviously recovered, just don’t ask me to donate blood 😏.