Thursday, January 19, 2012

Uganda Dispatch #3: Down with the Sickness

*apologies in advance for the hastiness of these posts, I often don’t have time to edit them so there might, regrettably, be some mistakes in grammar/spelling 

Again I awoke in the middle of the night, but this time it wasn’t due to jet lag, rather some unknown bacteria milling about in my belly. My stomach was boiling. I cantered out to the restroom and made good use of it then stumbled back into bed. But, I couldn't sleep. I repeated this process numerous times that night and returned to slumber weaker and weaker. 

When I finally awoke at dawn, I was cold and shivering. My muscles and joints ached and I spent the remaining energy I had pulling a cotton rugby shirt over my chest, then I tried my best to sleep some more, but it was not to be. The doctor (who happens to live 35 feet away) ordered me to take Cipro and I diligently obliged. I had no appetite whatsoever and eventually exhaustion took over and I retreated to my bed. I woke up, yet again, a short while later and again was freezing. I put on more clothes then crawled out to the porch with the hope of being warmed by the great African sun. I looked to the sky and only saw clouds. Then I shivered and made my way back to my room. I wrapped the comforter around me as if it were a boa constrictor then forced myself to sleep even more. I was exhausted. Eventually I emerged and was able to muster enough energy to walk around the clinic, and then I made my way back to the bedroom for even more rest. Crazy dreams spiraled through my brain. My thoughts wandered to the village and the strange new things I had encountered – none bad, just new and different -- like the claustrophobic four hour matatu ride from the clinic to Jinja. The taxi van is meant to hold 14 people, but our's carried, at times, up to 19 adults and 2 children. In addition, three chickens were tied together below my seat and their feathers brushed against my legs. This only added to the stuffiness. -- In between strange thoughts and sleep, I read. I pored through a book about Livingstone's quest to find the source of the Nile and Stanley's subsequent quest to find Livingstone. Quite topical. Their adventures through the jungle and the sicknesses they constantly endured made my "bug" seem like a cough. I felt pathetic, but then I fell back asleep. By late afternoon I felt well enough to walk around, but I was adamant on getting a good night’s rest and staying on a good sleeping schedule. So I passed out around 8pm and longed for the morning.

The next day the latrine saw unspeakable horrors. But, that is as far as I’ll go in detailing that here. My tummy was bloated and in pain, but I knew it would eventually pass. I was able to walk around the village and never needed to nap, but food was not an option. Food made me nauseous. I relaxed on the bed, downed Cipro, water and Tums, read my book and waited it out.

Forty eight hours after "the invasion", the "aliens" seemed to retreat from my body. I slowly regained an appetite and spent the day packing for the trek to neighboring Kenya.

I don't know when I'll see Uganda again, but I certainly gained some perspective from the time I spent here. I'll detail that in my next, and final, dispatch from Uganda.


Anonymous said...

Sounds just like my experience in Costa Rica! 36 hours of misery - crawled from bed to restroom to shower. Thank goodness for Cipro, water, and Gatorade! Hope you fell better, bud! Lincoln

Jared McGilliard said...

We've all been there drowning in the sickness in countries throughout the world...consider it checked off the list, not the bucket list, but the other one, the "rights of passage" list....but there is nothing experience: 2 months of intestinal parasite in Belize, dropped 30 pounds, was "healed" multiple times by medicine men making me drink jungle tonics and pushing as hard as they could on my stomach to ward out the evil...only to pop a pill near the end of the trip to encounter my first solid "movement" in months...sometimes you have to love modern medicine and Cipro.

Glad you are writing it daily so you have something to read back through and a way we can live vicariously through the adventures of the red fox.

champgt said...

Glad that you are feeling better. How is the filming going?

KLIM said...

Filming was great. Now I just need to edit the damn thing...