Thursday, December 22, 2011
A Merry "Malaria" Christmas?
I seem to have a knack for getting sick around a holiday.
Chickenpox came Thanksgiving Eve when I was just a little girl. Later, in my mid-teens,I sprained my wrist shortly before July 4th and my birthday (July 9th).
And then the most recent "celebratory" illness occurred this week. Sunday evening and Monday I was feeling "odd," which prompted me to go to a Jinja medical clinic. After having a blood test done, I was told I had "much" malaria in my blood.
I had been holding my breath (not in anticipation) for some time for my first encounter with this oh-too-common Ugandan illness, that at some point nearly every missionary here has to face. I right away began my medicine and wondered what I was in for in the coming days.
Female mosquitos are the carriers of the malaria parasites, which invade the human's liver and red blood cells. (BTW, male mosquitos are vegetarians, eating only plant nectar.)
"The parasite is relatively protected from attack by the body's immune system because for most of its human life cycle it resides within the liver and blood cells and is relatively invisible to immune surveillance." - Wikipedia
I have heard rather terrible stories about malaria and its range of symptoms. They can include fever, chills, joint pain (like your body was "run over by a Mack truck"), headache, vomiting, diarrhea, anemia, general overall weakness, jaundice, convulsions, retina damage, and an enlarged spleen. If, however, malaria goes untreated it can progress to even graver symptoms and can be deadly. This is not a disease to mess with.
"There were an estimated 225 million cases of malaria worldwide in 2009.An estimated 655,000 people died from malaria in 2010, a 5% decrease from the 781,000 who died in 2009 according to the World Health Organization's 2011 World Malaria Report, accounting for 2.23% of deaths worldwide. Ninety percent of malaria-related deaths occur in sub-Saharan Africa, with the majority of deaths being young children." - Wikipedia
I did feel as if I had the flu for the last few days, but am so very thankful my symptoms were not as bad as some. I don't know why, and I don't know if it will be the same in future encounters.
I am feeling pretty "normal," or as normal as I can get. ; )
Right now, I am glad I will have a merry and malaria-free Christmas. Thank you so much to all who prayed for me - indeed God heard and answered! He is greater than any illness!
Information Source: Wikipedia
Photo Source: Microsoft Office Clipart