#153 Shanksteps: Malaria: A Study
Day 1: It is Friday evening. Greg was called away to a meeting Monday- Wednesday so I was left to “hold down the fort”. It truly wasn’t too bad; there were no surgeries; I was able to sleep for 8 hours during the 3 days. I took Thursday off to “recuperate”, so why do I feel sooooo tired. MALARIA. And I thought my stomach hurt because I was drinking too much coffee. Again: MALARIA. That dizzy spell I had on Monday in the middle of clinic that I thought was due to not drinking enough water. MALARIA. The nightmares and difficulty sleeping – could it be due to stress or…MALARIA. I mentioned something to Eliza today and she said that I ought to get tested. Afterall, the test is free and the lab was on my way from the Peds ward to the Clinic. So, after telling the lab tech to take my blood, but not expect to find anything, was I surprised to find MALARIA. So, that’s why I’ve been feeling to crummy lately.
Since I feel like I’m going to die every time I take Quinine, Greg thought it would be educational (entertaining) if I kept a malaria journal for the next 7 days and explained to all of you what I was experiencing. So, welcome to my world of malaria and quinine.
Day 2: Saturday morning. I’ve only taken 2 doses of Quinine and already I feel like my brains have been replaced with cotton balls. Quinine causes cinchonism – or in non-medical terms, “buzzing” in the ears. In some ways this is a blessing. I sleep better with “white noise” (ya know: waves crashing, birds singing, fan turning etc), so the quinine has given me an involuntary, never-ending “white noise”. However, it also gives me nightmares (none too serious yet), and dizziness. I experienced the latter on the way to the bathroom. Good thing our hallway is not too wide as I used both sides to steady myself. I must have looked like I drank a little too much millet wine last night…
Some people have PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder) after experiencing a terrible event. I am sure I have PQSD – Post Quinine Stress Disorder. Every time I take Quinine, I feel like I’m going to die, or wish I already had. Fortunately, this is only the 4th time I’ve taken it in the 5 years we’ve been here. So, this morning I prepared my stomach for the assault. I ate egg gravy and toast to thoroughly coat my stomach with something resembling paste, as I am convinced that each and every quinine particle has a razor edge, or maybe teeth, in which to eat through my stomach. So far so good. My stomach is still hanging in for the fight. My tongue is another matter altogether. When the quinine tablet hits the back of the tongue, it is a gentle reminder to the rest of the body of what is to come. Quinine is terribly bitter – much more so than sucking on Aspirin. Once the quinine has infiltrated the body, all food and drink tastes a bit like quinine – and it gets stronger each day. YUM!
Well, it’s 9am and I’m off to take a nap – my first of many for the day. Only 18 more doses to go. Talk to ya again tomorrowJ
If any of you would like a similar experience, please come and visit any time…