Filed Under (General) by Rob on 04-10-2006

Hi folks, this is gonna be a short one, as my energy levels are pretty low, for the above reason!

Don’t panic, it’s pretty low-grade (with a count of 100), but it nevertheless zaps your energy big time and the headaches are not good either.

I woke up this morning feeling really worn out (sounds like the first line of a ‘blues song’!!) and yesterday morning was the same. Then, when you have a slight headache and are feeling mildly shivery, you’re pretty sure it’s Le Palu as they call it here. So, after prayer breakfast, I headed straight for the ‘Clinique Mahouna’, which is just down the road; a pleasant local clinic, which has a lab open 24/7 for malaria blood tests and the like.

You arrive at the metal door of a smallish ‘hut’ behind the clinic, with the sign ‘Frappez et entrez’ on it, and so you knock and enter.

“A fón gangi à?” says the man in a white coat. The room is small with a few pictures and the obligatory card calenders on the wall. There are two comfortable reclining seats – one is occupied by a lady having some blood taken.

“C’est pour la goutte épaisse?” asks a second white-coated man. And I reply Oui, c’est ça.” The goutte épaisse (thick drop) is what the malaria test is commonly called and – seeing as the majority of yovo’s (white people or ex-pats) visit for this reason – his assumption is to be expected.

Here’s an interesting – if a tad technical – site on the ‘thick smear’ malaria test:

Thick smear / goutte épaisse info

First, he wipes some alcohol onto my thumb and then, with a brand new needle (opened in front of me) he pricks it and puts a couple of drops of blood onto a glass microscope slide, then hands me the cotton wool to press onto my thumb. That’s it! Then I go to the kiosk and pay up (£3 for the peace of mind of knowing your clear or not – what a bargain!) Actually, I say that, but at this stage in the game you’re usually more relieved if the result is positive, as this means you know why you feel so lousy and can begin treating. If it’s negative, you have to figure out what else it could be (worms, giardia, amoebas, dengi fever…)

I phone the lab two hours or so later. “Monsieur Bakkér, c’est positive, à cent, seulement. Mais il faut traiter quand même.” So, I take my first dose of artesunate and something else (Fansidar, I think, but it has a different trade name I can’t remember!) and hope it takes effect soon.

Thanks for reading. Time for a rest!

4 Comments posted on "Rob has malaria…"
Eddie on October 4th, 2006 at 1:40 pm #

You know you’ve got malaria when you think you are going to die. You know it’s really bad when you are worried that you will survive!

All the best, mate. Hope it clears up soon.

anne on October 4th, 2006 at 4:04 pm #

get well soon, interesting to know how the diagnosis bit works in cotonou. rest up. anne

Reggie on October 5th, 2006 at 12:05 am #

Hi Rob,

Sorry to hear you are in pain. I hope it clears up soon.

I had an inflamed foot about two weeks ago. It seemed to happen suddenly in the middle of the night, so I thought it must have been a insect that flew in the window. However, by the evening, I was almost unable to walk! I went to the doctors next day, and was put on antibiotics for a week.

It’s better now. I figure that it was probably due to the litter collecting. I was sorting it out on the evening before the rubbish men collected the plastic bottles, washing them and removing lids. I guess something nasty must have splashed on a slight cut I had on my ankle. Hmm. I’ll have to be more careful in future.

I hope you have a mosquito net big enough for Clive when he visits!

Rob on October 5th, 2006 at 11:59 am #

Thanks to all the well-wishers. Hope your foot gets better soon, Reggie.

I’ve had a lazy day today, though have little energy to do much more! Just had some beans on toast and am feeling a little better.