Search This Blog


Tuesday, April 30, 2013

I think malaria would have been easier.

Sorry for the relative quiet over the past week ... all will become clear.

On Sunday, we explored the Amboni caves and the sulphur springs near Tanga.

This is the crocodile we knew about in the sulphur springs. I'd bet he (or she) had friends.
Look! Someone dropped a handbag in the sulphur springs!

On Monday morning (the 22nd), while we were meeting with a company that takes plastic and turns it into bags, tarps, etc. I started feeling bad ... feverish, achy, chills. I texted our host and said, "I need to see the doctor."

Before we go any further, I'm finally feeling better. I rejoined the team on Sunday night when they returned to Dar es Salaam, and I look forward to closing out the remaining time with them at full strength.

Getting from where I was on Monday to where I am today, both physically and health-wise, has been a bit of a journey.

The doctor did some blood work on the 22nd and told me that, without a doubt, I had a mild case of malaria, from the Plasmodium falciparium parasite (there are a few different parasites; this is the least desirable). He said that the lab work also showed a bacterial infection. He put me on an anti-parasitic, a combination of two antibiotics, and something for the fever (and nightly sweating sessions ... I actually squeezed water out of the bed linens).

Tuesday morning, I get a sore throat, and swollen glands. After starting the antibiotic. Still sweating. Still achy. And these strange sores start coming up on my right hand and my left foot.

Tuesday afternoon, more sores, and the aching is getting worse. Local Tanga doctor thinks it could be a reaction to the medicine, but isn't sure. Wants me to continue with both. I feel really awful.

Wednesday, no improvement. So in the evening, I consult with my family doctor (of 28 years), a friend who's an MD, and I decide it's time to get checked out in a larger city. IBM has a service that arranges for me to be seen in Dar es Salaam (where we were returning on Sunday anyway, I just got here Thursday evening). Nairobi was the other option, but it presented even greater travel, logistical, and visa challenges. Much thanks to our host, Phil, for making a special trip to Dar to drop me off, and to Theo for meeting us at the clinic on Thursday evening in case he could help.

I show up and they do a battery of blood tests. Two doctors come in and say, "You don't have malaria, and you've never had it. What you have is ... (wait for it) ... "hand, foot, and mouth disease". Ewww.

Before we go still further: this is completely unrelated to "hoof & mouth disease" (animals only, not zoonotic), nor is it "foot-IN-mouth" disease. I am expecting a sudden, subsequent outbreak of the highly contagious WD, Wise-ass Disease - often spread through social media - to afflict many of my friends, particularly fellow Wabash men and fraternity brothers (it seems to be partial to y chromosomes). WD is recurrent and there is no known cure.

The doctors say, "We can give you something for the sore throat & the discomfort, but this has to run its course. You should start feeling better on Sunday and be completely cured - and immune to this virus - a few days after that."

Apparently this is a relatively common disease for children. It is significantly less common for adults, not common in the US, and tends to hit adults a little harder.

I will spare you any photos of my hands, feet, or throat. Suffice it to say: not pretty.

I spent the rest of Thursday, Friday, Saturday, and Sunday in my hotel room, sleeping, trying to stay hydrated, and eating things from room service that I think my throat can handle. Fortunately, I've had no "stomach trouble" (as it were). It's not a diet plan I'd recommend, but the pounds have just flown off. Seriously.

Finally, though, the body aches are retreating. I'm sweating less when I get the sweats. My hands and feet are less sore (and still not pretty). I went to meetings yesterday and today.

I appreciate the wonderful support of the team - here and back home - making sure I've had what I need to get better.

I'm ready to get back in the game. Lots to do.

1 comment:

  1. :-( Sorry you're having to go through this. Get well soon!