Tuesday, September 06, 2005

Alive and kicking

I wont get into the whole thing, but I got taken out by a pretty serious case of malaria and had to be evacuated the kinshasa where I received very intense treatment. They used Quinine. Got out of the hospital yesterday and am feeling almost like myself again. Still a bit weak - likely explained by the fact i only started eating again a couple days ago - but on the whole i am just happy to not be sick anymore. At one point I had a fever of 105. It wasnt pretty.

Malaria is a blood parasite that is transmitted by mosquitos. It causes the amount of platelets in your blood to be drastically reduced, among other things. It is the #1 cause of death in the world, despite the fact that it is curable. Most people who die of it cant afford the two dollars in medicine that would save them. Most are children.

Originally I tested negative and then the military doctors in Kindu were throwing the wrong things at it. There is actually a relatively new drug on the market that has been used in China for ages and is now considered the best cure, at least here in Africa. I will now carry a treatment dose with me at all times, take it at the first sign of a fever, and that will prevent me from reaching the point where I need to seek treatment elsewhere. Live and learn. For now I will stay in Kinshasa and recover (i.e. go to nice restaurants).

Congo keeps trying to take me out, but I come back swinging.


Blogger Black River Eagle said...

Atta girl, Sarah. Good to hear you are doing better. I didn't know that malaria was the #1 killer disease in the world but I did know it kills lots of people who cannot afford a cheap treatment and mosquito nets. Sad isn't it, really sad.

What's this stuff (medicine) from China called? Does it really work and have approval for use from recognized bodies i.e. the FDA or other international organizations that approve pharmaceuticals for human use. How much does it cost per treatment down in the Congo? Do street vendors sell this Chinese cure (dangerous Apotheke) or is it available only in government-approved pharmacies and clinics and hospitals?

Lot's has been going on back home in the States while you were in a hospital bed, but I'm sure you've heard about the hurricane and floods along the Gulf Coast by now.

Get well soon and the next time you see a mosquito, squash it!

1:10 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi Sarah,

I was wondering what happened to you. Glad to hear you are on the mend.

I wish you a speedy recovery.

1:24 PM  
Blogger Judy said...

hey babe - was so good to hear from you, even if it was because you were wiped out sick in the hospital. i saw a documentary on discovery about that chinese stuff - apparently the u.s. army has also made it (after years of research trying to figure it out from one chinese scientific paper) and is using it now. they're a bit worried about malaria too it seems.

give me a call when you're feeling better if you have a chance. and am so looking forward to seeing you in dc in december. we'll coordinate if claire is also coming to town. - jd

4:44 PM  
Blogger lulu on the bridge said...

hi sarah,
good you're back!
i was starting to get worried after not seeing any posts from you for so many days, but this morning i saw you and 007 (it turns out we're neighbours;)), and i sighed with relief.
enjoy kinshasa!

9:45 AM  
Blogger 007 in Africa said...

Sarah, keep indulging in those 10:00AM ice creams and half pizza marathon and you'll be back worrying about your love handles in no time :) In this case (malaria), gaining wieght is good, it's very very good.

11:35 AM  
Blogger Sahara Sarah said...

lulu, we must get together sometime! perhaps this weekend or next week...

5:05 PM  
Blogger lulu on the bridge said...

sarah and 007, i saw you again this morning! nice hairstyle ;))

10:42 AM  
Blogger lulu on the bridge said...


10:43 AM  
Blogger Sahara Sarah said...

lulu, will email. Eagle, the name of the drug is Co-artem. It's now the drug of choice for the world health organization, at least here in africa. as soon as i buy it i will let you know the price at the local pharmacy. i'd imagine that its a bit cheaper in Kindu, as health supplies are generally donated. i had three IV drips and a blood test (supervised by a finnish doctor) and the bill was just a few dollars.

6:17 PM  
Blogger 007 in Africa said...

Lulu, this is starting to become a habit. It's a little freaky :) :) Definitely up for drinks around the pool or at the Memling this weekend.

6:23 PM  

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