My Africa Story – 19

“Malaria.” the doctor smugly pronounced as he flipped through the chart of the many test results.

“Malaria? How is that possible? I got the shot!” I did indeed do everything I was told I had to do to make the trip to Africa safely.

“How much do you weigh?” the doctor queried without looking even glancing at me.

“135.” I defiantly gave up. What does my weight have to do with Malaria? I wasn’t feeling at the top of my game, but even at my best I’m sure I couldn’t have made the connection between the two facts.

“I’m sorry, but you weigh 112 and unless you’ve lost 23 pounds in three weeks, which is highly unlikely, you obviously were overdosed from the Malaria inoculation. You more than likely ended up contracting the Malaria for the inoculation, not from going to Africa.” The white coat, bland faced authority was quite proud of himself.

As though how I contracted Malaria would make everything all better. What about how I felt? “What treatment would there be? How long would it take?”

“Oh, there is no treatment. You’ll have Malaria the rest of your life.” he flipped the pages of test results back over and officially closed the case as he turned and walked out of the room.

The nurse who stayed behind had been very kind and gentle. She explained I would take quinine tablets and would have to force myself to rest at least 12 hours a day.

What she and the doctor didn’t tell me was ten percent of everyone who contracts Malaria won’t make it. In fact I had no idea it was in means a fatal disease.