Thursday, 20 August 2015

Once Bitten...

Post from a very poorly lady.

The final event was absolutely wonderful this time round. Back to Hill View Hotel, where we packed the conference room with local alumni. Many from our previous program who I recognised, and some from former programs who I met for the first time.

Hill View Hotel

Our participants delivered presentations in three groups: Documentation, who took pictures and video clips of all the places we visited, Social Media, who created Instagram, Facebook and Blogger sites for the delegation, and Theatre, who gave a stirring performance ending in all participants standing up to sing Lean On Me.

In the evening, we all dressed up and headed to Bamboo, a lovely Chinese restaurant, for a huge meal.

My Fabulous Team
Vincent, Rose and Gilbert
At the end of the meal, all of the participants had a group hug, creating a huge circle which spontaneously burst into Lean On Me again. It was hugely touching. 

We were just about to head off to a bar for drinks when I got a call from one of our participants who wasn't feeling well. She had stayed at the hotel and called to say she was throwing up. So I hopped a moto and dashed across town to get her to the clinic.

Spent an hour on the bathroom floor awaiting blood tests. She tested positive for contact with typhoid, which is a form of salmonella. Got the prescription filled out and went to wait for the taxi in the parking lot.

Five minutes later, I find myself on my knees in the toilet! I vomited so hard I gave myself a nosebleed.

Slightly perturbed, I cleaned myself up and went with my poorly participant to find an all-night pharmacy. Got her dosed up and home to bed.

I then went home to my bed, but didn't get any sleep. Freezing cold, more vomiting, achy joints. 

I'd convinced myself it was food poisoning. The next morning I was so weak, I just thought I'd stay in bed and let it pass. Thankfully my colleague convinced me to go to the clinic, and I'm very glad she did.

Turns out it's malaria.

I almost had to laugh, as the night before, on the bathroom floor of the clinic, I was busy explaining that malaria rates are fairly low here and I'd never had it - not realising that I had it.

By the time I got to the clinic this morning I was in floods of tears, mostly through not having slept and dehydration from being sick. They took my blood and I passed out for a couple of hours, catching some Zs.

I was fairly surprised when the results came back. It's definitely unpleasant, but not as horrific as I'd imagined it would be. Just like a bout of flu - shivers, nausea, achy, sweaty, tired. Though I haven't had the headache people often get.

Hugely grateful to Polyclinique du Plateau in Kigali for looking after me and making it all better. And for having the sort of life that allows me to book myself into a private clinic and pay for treatment and meds. It's why the NHS in the UK is so damn important. Everyone deserves medical care, regardless of income.

It's now 1:30am. I set my alarm for midnight for the second round of meds, but I woke at 11:30 to be sick. This was worrying, as you have to keep the meds down for at least two hours for them to work.

Had a mild panic on Facebook, and my lovely friend Dr. Jeff happened to be awake and gave me support. I'm supping ginger tea and honey (because 'simple sugars are your friend') and so far, so good. One more hour and the meds should be absorbed. I could go back to bed, but I'm wide awake. Catching up on blog posts as therapy.

Thankfully the doctor said I should be well enough to fly home next week. Very much looking forward to cuddles, pampering and sympathy.

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