Friday, July 10, 2009

Malaria Part II

This is not a particularly happy update but is part of my experience here in Ghana. About two weeks ago I fell sick and was treated for malaria even though I was not 100% convinced that I actually had malaria. I started to feel better but then got sick again. This time I had worse symptoms and the symptoms I experienced were strong indicators of malaria. I was in much pain and was taken to a pharmacist who prescribed some more malaria medicine to me and gave me an injection to bring my 101.3 degree fever down. The injection hurt so badly – this one was in my upper arm and I couldn’t move my arm for the next few hours without experiencing excruciating pain. The pharmacist however explained that it would be fine.

The following day (Wednesday), I was taken to the doctor who treated me the first time. He told me that these new medications were not good for my symptoms and that I needed to stop taking them and put me on some cough medicines as I had a bad cough. The following day (Thursday), I felt even worse and Raymond insisted that we return to the doctor so I could be put on a drip to fight the malaria. I was not too fond of this idea and insisted that I be tested for malaria first. So we traveled to the doctor who wrote a request for a malaria and typhoid test at a lab in town.

We had to wait a bit at the lab before the attendant drew my blood for the test. I laid in the back seat of the taxi while waiting for the results as my head hurt, I felt dizzy and very tired. After a good half hour or so, the attendant came out and handed me the results without telling me what they were. Raymond and I tried to decipher the results but all we could understand from the writing was that something was ‘present.’ As I had gotten the typhoid vaccination before coming to Ghana, I thought that the doctor must have been correct in the fact that I had malaria and that must be what was present.

I spent the remainder of the day laying around in my room. I continued watching Prison Break as one of the teachers from the orphanage had brought the first two seasons over for me to watch. As I had been feeling so sick that whole week, I had spent a lot of time sleeping and watching Prison Break already.

A few hours later, Raymond came to my room and informed me that the doctor was at my hotel to read the results. We went outside to see him and I handed him the document. He took a look at it and then said something in Ewe to Raymond. I asked what it said and he explained that typhoid was present. I replied by asking him if he was serious to which he said yes. I then explained that I wasn’t supposed to get typhoid as I had made sure to get all my vaccinations including typhoid before coming to Ghana.

I was to later learn that the test confirmed that I also had malaria. The doctor explained that he would take me to the clinic and we would start the treatment. Oh joy.

Raymond and I got into the car and I started to ask the doctor some questions about typhoid as I was unsure what it actually was and how one could get it. The doctor took me into his office and started writing out a long list of medications that I would need. He explained that I would need to take 3 drips. The first one was to start that very afternoon. He told me that it would take two and a half hours. I was instructed to lie down on a bed which was located between two rooms – the Female Ward and the Male Ward. The needle was then inserted into an area near my wrist and the drip began.

I laid there hoping to fall asleep but found that difficult to do without being able to toss and turn at my will. I waited for the doctor to come by again and requested that he remove the large pillow from under my head. I was unable to do it myself as they had made the bed over the pillow. I turned on my ipod and listened to some music as I was very uninterested in the African movie that was playing on the television. After awhile I got bored of the music and called my mother to express my boredom to her and to update her on my status.

I gotta go but want to assure you all that I am taking care of myself and getting good medical care and will be back on my feet soon.

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