It Begins with Cold Symptoms
I was running around on my usual business, reading, and beginning
to see the need of a secondary project when suddenly it hit me.
I wasn't feeling too well. Not at all! Thank goodness
for my househelp. He fixed supper and after eating, I went
right to bed. Sore throat, headache, and fever. I sweated
up a storm that night. The bed was drenched. I immediately
looked up all the symptoms of malaria. I didn't think I had
it, but I spent the day in bed again. I wished I could say
I slept but I didn't.
day seemed to improve little by little but every night was awful.
It was a miserable long night starting at 1:00 A.M. I didn't
sleep at all after that. I used up the last of my Tylenol
and aspirin. I switched from Sudafed to Chlortrimeton.
It seemed to help.
a few days, I felt good enough to go to Monrovia for a meeting.
The day went well but I had a horrible night! I woke up freezing
even though I was fully clothed and wearing a lined jacket.
I moved to an unairconditioned room. I moaned, tossed, groaned,
and sweated all night. It was awful. I threw up once
and then diarrhea began. I awoke from a strange dream and
saw one of my friends. She said I looked awful and put me
back in bed.
Symptoms The Peace Corps
nurse was contacted. Needles, blood tests, and questions.
I had every symptom imaginable! Gas, cramps, diarrhea, nausea,
sore throat, congestion, headache, chills, 104 temperature, sweating
spells, overall body ache, and exhaustion from lack of sleep.
I couldn't open my eyes because they hurt so bad. It hurt
when my eyes were shut. I took aspirin and Tylenol.
It didn't help at all. I asked for something stronger and
the Peace Corps doctor kept forgetting. I was at the point
of refusing further treatment until something was done for my headache.
I tested positive for malaria and shigella. Shigella is food
contamination. I ate what people are always telling others
to eat if they are mad at them. In addition, I had become
badly dehydrated because I couldn't take in fluids. The Peace
Corps nurse decided to take me to the hospital when it was feared
my kidneys had shut down. I was on an IV for 36 hours or more.
All I could do in the hospital was rest my poor, tired body.
My eyes still hurt so badly that I couldn't read.
My kidneys definitely did not shut down.
The nurse was pleased with the "present" I had for him
when he came to visit. Then, he flushed all that hard work
down the toilet.
few days later I was able to have visitors. I spent two hours
with with a friend. She was told I looked just awful.
I'd say I was looking thinner. Who wouldn't after losing forty
stayed in the hospital a week. When I was finally released
I had a ton of things to do in Monrovia. By the time it was
all done, I was drenched in sweat. Both shirt and hair were
soaked. I looked so bad that a policeman stopped me on the
street and hailed a taxi.
Around, and On the Road Again
Later, I went to see the Peace Corps nurse for my final OK to leave
for home. She said my blood pressure was still too low -- meaning
I need more rest. I was grounded in Monrovia for three weeks
before they okayed me to leave. On my way back to Zwedru,
I went to a party upcountry. Most of my friends were there.
We went to a waterfall. Guess who was the first to climb to
the top? Guess who was the first casualty? The only
one! I slipped, slid, smashed into a boulder, sprained my
thumb, and lost my glasses. I hated to write to Monrovia about
this. I only mentioned that my glasses were "lost"
on the trip back home. No details were given on how they were
2000, revised 2012 by Phillip Martin
All rights reserved.