This post is all in all about how Fredrik gets sick in Malaria and how you may eat some profylax pills or how to best avoid getting it.
We tell mr Donati that we want to go to the school with about 75% orphants tomorrow and Donati makes some calls. Then we ask him to tell his story more thoroughly.
He talks for a couple of hours, how he started with nothing, carried coffee from Kongo and slowly expanded his business in a thrilling life story.
Once we wake up, Fredrik feels sick. Noxious and everything tastes funny. After the breakfast he goes back to bed. Christian goes with mr Donati, the school chairman and the school headmaster to see S:t Donati primary school. I sleep till afternoon. Then have a yogurt, Christian goes to the bathroom and I say I need to puke now, I miss a great cascade only inches from him. I totally spray the toilet three times. There goes the breakfast…
Soon after I read a bit about Malaria and common diseases and decide we should go to the hospital. We get there, take two blood samples and tests. It proves within 10 minutes to be a light stage of Malaria. So treatment within the hospital for 24 h…Feels good. So lucky we were so close by a good hospital. It is also a kind of a tradition as a welcome ceremony to get malaria when you travel in Africa.
So I get treated and meet doctor Scott who also founded the Bwindi Community Hospital. He is this really nice Dumbledore character who you just like immediately.
He is young in his sense, happy and social. He has been here developing the hospital and a foundation to protect the Pygmies. Now he enters my private hospital suite with a band of young american nurses following him. He makes sure everyone is comfortable and explain me that I can direct my questions to these young experts.
About malaria according to Scott:
The best protection against malaria is a mosquito net. Malaria is caused by mosquito parasites. The parasites destroy red blood cells. Every three days the blood cells burst and become 20 new infected cells. Symptoms are nausea, headache, fever, fatigue and that your eyes turn yellow. The attack comes only at night from the Nophelos mosquito which is a regular size mosquito and many times it stays under the bed during day. Therefore you need to tuck your mosquito net in under the mattress. The mosquito is not a carrier unless biting someone who has malaria first. The parasite attacks the liver first, then it takes at least two weeks for it to be seen as symptoms.
I felt tired and nauseous in the morning, with slight fever maybe. Or was I just tired from trekking for gorillas? Food tasted strange for breakfast. I felt weak and went to bed again. Around three I had a yogurt and puked all breakfast and liquids from the mourning. Then I read about common diseases and in malaria areas you should go to a hospital within 24 hours of flu like symptoms. So we packed the necessary for staying overnight at the hospital and set of. They took two malaria tests. One was negative and the other showed a low infection of 7 parasites in the red blood cells. It was good I came in so fast. It could have gone bad. If malaria spreads without treatment you die within ten days usually. Once infected and cured you have a slight better protection, but within a couple of years you are nonimmune again, just like a child under five or a pregnant mother or a person who grew up where malaria doesn’t occur. 750 000 kids under five, die from Malaria every year in the area south of Sahara desert mosquito. That is a lot of people.
There are three main prophylaxis against Malaria:
Doxycyclin - 1 tablet per day, ca 1 cent. Cheap. 94% don’t get malaria. Many get stomach problem and sensitivity to sunshine.
Malarone - 1 tablet per day, ca 1 USD, expensive, but good.
Lariam - 1 per week, seems to reduce a malaria infection but you still can get malaria. (This is the drug we both took, without missing a single pill, still Fredrik caught malaria, even though Christian gets about 99 % of our mosquito bites) .
Since I puked, they want to give me medicine through my veins. They put a sond and give me three shots the coming 24 h.
I mostly walk around looking for the best wifi connection, I feel pretty good, a bit nauseous. I sleep great and it's fantastic having these nurses coming to care only for me. I like hospitals. Great place to see action. Life and death are close by. Well this is not fair. A lot of people are cramped in the open hall. I guess they put me in a private room because they know I have money, being a mzungo. But even if I would love to sit and watch the excitement in this big hall, with all different cases being treated, I really don’t want some other illness upon me right now. So I am happy with my own luxurious hospital suite. I really get treated. Christian and the family of our host come and visit me several times, bringing food and all I ask for.
This is a picture they sent when they sit together in the livingroom.
As an extra surprise the midwife Luise turns up without telling. She is just in front of me in the yard. I can’t believe it. She came 120 km to get here. Wow! This disease is great as long as you feel good. She also brings food and Spaghetti!! That is special. We have a great time before she and the driver goes back.