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Malaria #15

This is how it happens to me, personally…Paul Cook and I at this time of the year, besides having our own boats to fix, get called up from all over the place. Carbs oiled up, holes in boats, gearboxes etc…usually from the boats being unused for many months at a time.

In Morrungulo… Bonito Bay, another sprawling lodge with the works. Beautiful pool overlooking the ocean…casitas, houses, and dive centre…where we had three sets of carbs to get stuck into. This is where it gets complicated. Bonito Bay sent a bakkie to fetch us, but without a canopy. Anyway, a jury rigged shade cloth had us on the road. 2 And a half hours later, we realised the shadecloth  was not helping much. But, we got the motors all firing proper, and back on the bakkie, in the heat of the next day. From Maxixe we rented a sailing dhow and crossed the bar to Inhambane. Back at base. Next day a launch in 35 degrees. Next day fix a hole in a brand new boat, and more carbs, all in the baking heat.

That’s when it hit. A searing set of pains through my body – feels like lightning and thunder in your muscles. Knowing I had to get pills quick, but that the clinic was a few clicks away, I took a Neodal painkiller, and laboured on. Beeeeeg mistake.

Anopheles Mosquito carries Malaria
Anopheles Mosquito carries Malaria

The three more hours it took me to get treatment, was too much. By evening I was a shrivelling wreck, and could not understand how it could have got me so fast and so severely. This is my 15th time, but I never knew anything so severe before.

So the pills went down at about 3pm. Normally I feel an improvement after 6 or 8 hours…but not this time…no waaaay! By midnight I had soaked through jeans, a long sleeve T, a sweater, and a hunting jacket…!

But the little monsters within would not budge. I was feeling the usual waves, but the respites were short and sleep impossible during them anyway. By the next morning…no improvement. Can’t eat. Can’t walk around. Can’t sleep. Can’t think. Malaria really confuses you, luckily I had Paul checking on me every hour or two, through the night and day.

Later this day, I had my first decent respite…took a long hot shower and ventured to the restaurant. Watching Capt Norm Isaacs on DSTV was a treat, but soon the little monsters within returned. With vengeance. The diarhea hit at midnight. Like a sledgehammer. With vomiting. Until everything was out. Luckily I had taken the evenings gourmet course of pills way before, and they were way digested.

I never though malaria could be this bad! And it just would not let up!

It’s Saturday (6 days later) as I pen this, it really is the first day I feel clear…although it still feels like I am hungover as hell.

Some malaria information…

  • It takes about 7 to 10 days for the parasites to start their dirty work. And they can take up to 6 months to get going too! So once bitten…
  • Symptoms include but limited to: muscular and joint pains, lower back pain, headache, diarrhea, vomiting, feeling cold all the time, sweating, confusion. Any of these in combination or even singularly (joint pains), deserves a test at least.
  • The cure – artesunate(from Chinese Wormwood) in many variations, is freely available here in Moz. Go to any roadside clinic, make a donation, and get a few packs. You really should keep some with you, anytime after you have been in a malaria area (mal-area translates to bad area)
  • Once you have the disease. Do not drink alcohol. This is how you will die. Malaria attacks the liver mainly, and the liver under attack cannot deal with alcohol at all. Sugar as we get it in processed form is also not good at all.
  • What is good? Eat oranges and other fresh sources of vitamin c. Fruit is definitely the way forward. Eating is almost impossible but you have to concentrate and force food down. Oily food will make you vomit straight away, and again, oil is too much for your suffering liver. Freshly squeezed fruit juice or smoothies will taste like heaven though, as will herbal tea. Coffee is out…to much caffeine. Water, water, water.
  • After you have got better, a course of anti-biotics (doxy usually) will complete the healing process. Staying off alcohol will stand you in good stead, and a generally healthy lifestyle needs to replace whatever it was you doing before, that may have gotten your immune system down.
  • Stay out of the sun when you have malaria. It aggravates your condition and symptoms.
  • Relapses occur. If you do not get yourself back to tiptop condition before you resume your normal lifestyle, expect a relapse. Funnily enough, I still get malaria beginning each December…UNLESS…

Tinctures of Chinese Wormwood. Available all over and on the internet,if you take a few drops of this stuff every day,you will NOT get malaria. There are enough of us in this town to be able to make assumptions about this – families and individuals living here for ages swear by the stuff and the results are plain to see.

Unfortunately, some staff saw me taking my drops, and thinking they were magic muti or whatever, drank my entire bottle in a day.That was August. I had this malaria coming…

Please note that the above is my personal experience of malaria. I am not an expert or a  doctor. But this is what 15 bouts has taught me…

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