Sunday, March 15, 2009

Malaria - No One's Friend

What a terrible night, fitful and full of thoughts of how next to proceed with our troubles with this local official, trying his best to extort $3000US from us!

This morning brought excellent emails, our contacts at ICCN coming through in fighting style, but it’s still disappointing that the fate of wildlife in this territory is now in the hands of a man so indifferent to its suffering and destruction.

If one recalls my battles with malaria, Adam had it no better last night with this, his fourth case of malaria in six months.

He awoke in the night, and asked if I wanted to accompany him to the toilet. Which in a state of malaria seems like quite a distance.

I don’t even recall him asking, mostly asleep as I was, but I remember seeing his hazy shadow, illuminated by the flashlight, through the mosquito net.

I called out blurrily, “Wait, I’m coming,” but the next thing I remember was hearing Adam call from the living room that he felt dizzy.

I jumped out of bed, and found him stumbling, as though drunk, and slick with sweat, his skin fiery to the touch.

I held him close as he leaned against the wall, his eyes unfocussed. I started to usher him back to the room -- to the bed -- and I felt him go limp.

As strong as I may be, holding up Adam when he is deadweight is beyond me, and I cried out as he collapsed to the floor. I called his name and shook him, but he didn’t respond for what felt like minutes (but was really only about 10 seconds).

“Where am I?” he asked. I told him he was in the living room, and that we were going to get him back to bed.

Though I knew from experience what he must feel like, to watch him fall to the ground was just horrifying.

I didn’t let him go to the bathroom alone for the rest of the night, and as we walked together, one of his hands on each of my shoulders, I could feel the quantity of weight he rested on me and just kept assuring him that we were almost to the bathroom, and that we would make it together.

Thankfully he didn’t fall again during any more toilet excursions, and when we woke up this morning, his fever had finally broken from nearly 104º to a solid 101º.

I’m glad he’s on the mend, but it’ll certainly be nice when malaria is no longer an angry storm on the horizon!

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