Yup, cornflakes. Well, maybe it was less the cornflakes and more the 1250 mg of Larium and 30+ hours of sleep that actually did the trick. Regardless, only four days after testing positive for Malaria (of which strain, I'm unsure) I felt almost 100%.
Leading up to Wednesday of that week, my work schedule had been pretty busy and sleep schedule a bit erratic. When I lay down Wednesday night at about 8, I assumed I just needed a few extra hours of rest. But, after a sleepless night of a 101 temp, chills, body aches, and a very upset stomach, I had an inkling I'd received an unfortunate mosquito bite.
At roughly 8 am the next morning, I dragged myself to the car and our driver "carried" (the operative term in Liberia for "drive" or "bring" is "carry," and variations thereof) me directly to a local hospital. There I met an American doctor I knew working at the facility who helped me hobble towards the lab in the in the maternity ward to get a malaria smear. I remember taking a seat in the lab next to smiling, older lady who eyed me quite curiously.
I vaguely remember hearing the positive results and wobbling my way to the car, and eventually the spare bedroom in a friends apartment just a couple blocks away. I slept from about 9:30 Thursday morning to maybe 3:30 Friday afternoon, at which time I made my way back to my apartment and slept some more.
All in all, it was draining, but short-lived – definitely not the drawn out discomfort of getting shingles in Bosnia. However, I can’t imagine malaria being a routine concern. I have a friend here who said he gets “the malaria” about three times a year. It comes in different strains (and varying degrees of intensity) and can cause long-term liver damage if contracted multiple times. Not good news.
While the side effects of the prophylaxis are a bit intimidating, I think from here on out I’ll risk it with Malarone…