It started Monday morning.

I was not doing too well, and I felt really weak, but I thought it was just a stomach bug. I kept trying to do some cleaning around the house, but every time I’d get up to do anything I was exhausted; just washing a dish in the sink would wear me out, so I’d go lie back down. I thought it was strange that I was feeling so exhausted, but then, I started getting a crazy fever. One minute I was burning up, lying down on our tile floor because it is the coolest part of the house. And the next minute, I’d be running to the bed to get under the blankets. That was especially strange, seeing as it was 40 something degrees.

When Josh got home from work, I told him I was feeling miserable, and explained to him my symptoms. He said, “Yeah, but I don’t think its malaria. If you had malaria, you’d KNOW it.” And I said, “Well I think I KNOW it then!” But he still wasn’t so convinced. Josh has had malaria several times, since he grew up in Togo, and apparently its kind of part of the package deal; you live in Africa and sooner or later you get malaria. But I think this is where Josh and I differ from each other. 😉 He said if I had malaria, I would not be able to stand it, recalling all the horrible times he dealt with it. I was definitely feeling horrible, that is for sure, but I thought, “Wow, it’s worse than this?”

So the next morning, I got up and went with Josh to the hospital and got tested. The test came back positive. That news alone made me nauseous and I had to sit down with my head between my knees. I got antibiotics and I’m slowly starting to feel better. They’re awful tasting pills, but they’re doing the trick.

The malaria medicine packages.

Notice the mosquito in the crosshairs!

The crazy thing is, so many kids come to the hospital because of malaria treatments that have gone wrong. One of the ways they treat malaria here is with a series of injections in the thigh. But often the injection is administered incorrectly, damaging the nerves in the leg, which results in deformities. It looks similar to clubfoot, but it is actually from the malaria treatment! So many children here have been handicapped by the malaria treatment, and it is really sad because it is easily (and safely) treatable with pills. It is so tragic when children are treated for one condition and end up with a problem that is even worse. Thankfully, at CURE, the children can get corrective surgeries and treatment.

I’ve been putting up with being sick for a few days, which isn’t fun, but I knew that I was going to get medication and I will eventually feel better. I need to remember how fortunate I am for being able to get immediate care and not take it for granted.  Living here, every day is a reminder that there is so much suffering and so many needs to be met. I am grateful for that reminder. It helps put my own problems into perspective.

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24 Responses to Malaria

  1. Wow, Julie feel better, glad you had access to a safe treatment!

  2. Savannah Fields says:

    Oh Julie,
    I am so sorry 😦 Those pill do taste nasty! I would know that pill anywhere! Its amazing how the third world can put life into perspective for you isn’t it? I am so ready to GO! I pray for you all everyday and I’ll pray you feel better. Do you have an address where I can send you all mail? I love you both!

  3. Emily Fussner says:

    Oh Luba, I’m so sorry that you got malaria. 😦 But so thankful that 1) You are one tough lady. 😉
    2) You have treatment and 3) You have a good God and a higher perspective on the issue!
    Praying that you get better soon! Big hugs~

  4. Oh no, I’m so sorry to hear this! I’m glad you’re starting to feel better.

  5. Sarah Owen, mother of Melody, Saliima, and Yasmiin from the Old City says:

    So sorry you caught this, but I pray for your speedy recovery. You will have increased empathy now for others you meet that are suffering through malaria and it will help you love them better.
    God bless you! Sarah

  6. yael says:

    glad you wrote about it, Julz 🙂

  7. Ughhh, so sorry you had to get it so soon! Glad you are feeling better already!

  8. Kim says:

    Feel better soon! Glad to know that you in a place where you can get immediate treatment.

    • Thank you, Kim! It is nice to have access to the doctors and the hospital… After I got tested, I didn’t feel well enough to drive back home, so they let me sleep in one of the hospital beds!

  9. What a horrible scare, but I’m so glad you’re feeling better. Were you taking anti-malaria pills before? I’ve been taking them for about 6 months now and I want to stop for dry season but hearing your story makes me think twice. Get well soon!

    • Kristina, what kind of malaria pills are you taking? I definitely think some are much stronger than others. I am on chloroquine because it’s not as strong, which has it’s benefits… but obviously, made me more susceptible to malaria. 😦

  10. Danny Kopp says:

    Doesn’t malaria usually mean terrible diarrhea? You left that part out… Glad you’re feeling better!

  11. Nomi PB says:

    Danny for the win

  12. Joe Korn says:

    Julie, take care of yourself and give yourself enough time for your body to heal….. and make that big lug take care of you. Love, BFIL

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