October 10, 2008

Malaria

We have a new site www.g-lish.org where you can read all articles from This is Ghana in a much more organised fashion. Read Malaria there.


You delude yourself into thinking it wasn’t that bad. When you don’t have it, you can’t imagine how debilitating and painful it is. Then, you feel the tell-tale prickling, burning sensation skimming across your skin like a sunburn -- only you’ve been stuck in an office for the last five days. And then you sneeze once or twice and your legs start to ache and you just want to sleep…

You wake at 3 am as an indiscriminate pain pierces your legs, your buttocks, your spine, and your skull. You roll yourself up in three sheets to keep ‘warm’ in the twenty-two degree cool, shaking for hours while the parasites boil in your blood. I wonder if Dante ever had malaria. Soon, your temperature hits forty degrees while you vomit the contents of your last meal over the side of the bed, in the bed, or all over yourself.

When you do experience malaria, you can’t imagine how you ever had energy; you can’t even walk to the bathroom. You can’t imagine ever walking to the front gate, let alone function as a human being in this world – even in laid-back Ghana.

It does not surprise me that most of Africa is still developing when a great proportion of the population suffer from malaria at some point in their lives, if not regularly. I will think twice about taking a 'sickie' for a headache/PMS/random day off in future.

The drugs won’t always prevent it – no, not Doxy, not Larium, not Malarone – but they will reduce the severity of an attack and even save your life. If you don’t take your drugs…well...welcome to the seventh circle of hell – a river of boiling blood.

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