Waking up exhausted after two 10-hour nights of sleep sent Nate and I to our friendly neighborhood laboratory on Monday, where after pinpricks $1 each and a few 50 Cent music videos in the waiting room, he was diagnose with malaria and I wasn't.
We went to get the dual treatment recommended for Liberia -- 150 mg each of amodiaquine and artesenate twice a day for three days -- and stocked up on juice, fresh fruit and veg, and after running a few errands, decided we'd take it easy for the week.
That day and the next, I felt like I had an undeserved hangover. This morning, I added aching bones and general apathy to my list of symptoms. By 2:00, Nate insisted we go back to our friends at the laboratory.
"This time, we'll do a slide test," Addis the lab technician said as his assistant squeezed blood from my fingertip onto the kind of slides I remember from high school biology. I waited 20 minutes on the cramped benches in the waiting room and when Addis called me back in, he presented me with a smartly folded paper.
It said, "Malaria: few."
"I have malaria?" I asked. Despite spending over 20 years in Africa, I'd never been diagnosed with malaria before.
"Yes," he said, "few malaria."
So here I am after another trip to the supermarket, already digesting the first set of combination pills. It makes me feel better that I only have few.
Also: I realize superstitiously that our sudden infection was likely brought on by my boast in the "Not getting malaria." This has prompted a dicussion as to whether writing about river blindness and other forthcoming health topics in this post will also bring down their wrath. I'm going to guess not, but all the same -- I have been warned.