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Cyclical Malaria

No malaria prophylaxis is 100% and now I know that first hand. It all started when my friend Elizabeth and I decided we needed to get out of Mango for the weekend. We didn't go far - 20 minutes down the road was enough to get away from work schedules and 2am call-outs to the hospital.

In the tiny village of Sadori there's a Nunnery where guests can stay and where we invented the game of Ultimate Frisbee-Soccer. After a few rounds we decided it really would be a game better played with more than one player on each team: it's quite difficult to kick a soccer ball and throw a Frisbee to ones-self at the same time!

Then came the dreaded mistake of trying to read peacefully outside. I believe that is when that nasty little malarious mosquito bit me. By the Monday I felt headachy and tired but didn't think much of it. By Tuesday my joints had started to ache but only sometimes. First it was my knees, then my elbows, then my shoulders, and I felt unwell enough to go to bed at 7:30pm halfway through a movie. On Wednesday I ran 9 miles (somehow I now think in miles). By Thursday night I was so tired and achy I couldn’t leave the house to go to a birthday party. When I turn down the opportunity to eat cake it is a sure sign of illness! On Friday morning I felt way better but when I discovered I had goosebumps on a 40˚C day I knew it was time to take a malaria test even if they had to extract two whole drops of blood! (If I haven’t told you before, I am a pharmacist because tablets don’t bleed.)

After taking my treatment it took two weeks before the waves of exhaustion interspersed with feeling perfectly fine began to fade away. I’m glad I was taking my prophylaxis otherwise it could have been a whole lot worse.