My last Sunday in Bere was rather memorable. For some reason, I just wasn't feeling good at all. Ansley and I had planned to go to Prudence's house for bouillie because she wanted to have us over one last time. So, off we went. But as we were walking there, I told Ansley, "I really feel pretty awful." My head hurt, I was slightly cool (which is only unusual since it was probably a good 100 degrees outside), very nauseated, and rather fatigued.
You guessed it: malaria. I still went to Prudence's and looked at all of her pictures, ate bouillie with her, and talked for a while. But I don't think I was my usual "charming" self. When Prudence asked why I looked so glum, and I told her how I felt she said, "Oh, it must be Bere's farewell to you."
What a sweet parting gift.
When we finished, Ansley went home and I went back to the middle house. I lay on the bed for a while out of sheer exhaustion. Then I took my temperature, and when I discovered it was 103.6, I decided that I ought to muster up the energy to get up and go bother James. But I knew what his answer would be, and it was not what I wanted to hear.
I had made it my goal to get through my time in Chad without ever needing an IV. But sure enough, the verdict was IV Quinine. I have a theory as to why this last round of malaria was so bad. About a week earlier, I had tried to give blood, but Anatole couldn't find my veins. The next day I did a malaria and hemoglobin test, which showed that my hemoglobin was 9.6 (low normal is 12), but the malaria was negative. Praise God that Anatole couldn't find my veins because if I had given blood, who knows how low my hemoglobin would have dropped. Anyway, I suspect that it was a false negative test and that the malaria had just been multiplying in my red blood cells for a good week or two.
So, Ansley kindly came back to the hospital to take care of me. Apparently I don't do well with IVs though. Ansley stuck me twice and got good flashback, but couldn't advance the catheter. We called Caroline who also had to stick me twice with a smaller needle. And then, my IV infiltrated before a day was over, so Augustin 2 had to come stick me the next morning. His IV lasted an even shorter time before I got phlebitis. I am not a fan of IVs.
Let me just say, this experience gave me an awful lot more sympathy for my patients. When you are already feeling fairly miserable, the last thing you want is for someone to be shoving needles in your veins.
Anyway, they got me all set up, gave me some Vitamin B complex and some Diazepam for my nausea and to make me sleep. I don't think the Diazepam worked too well though; it knocked me out for about 10 minutes, and then I think I was just slightly loopy afterwards, though the memory is a bit fuzzy for me.
The one thing I will say though, is that IV Quinine really works. I was feeling tons better within several hours, and tried to convince Ansley that I could take pills, but James had ordered for a full day of IV medication. I suppose nurses really don't make good patients.
I am quite content that there is no malaria here in Gimbie, and would be even happier if that turned out to be my last experience ever with such nasty parasites.