Jungle Fever

I’ve got a fever. A jungle fever. No, really and I can’t figure out what it is.

So after All Vol, I spent 8 hours traveling back home. It wasn’t really that bad, except for Kumasi. I knew I was tired and needed to catch up on lots of lost sleep. So when I got home, I dropped at one of my favorite places – Kaaf – to get some banku and groundnut soup. I always drop here after traveling to refuel and feed the craving for good banku. Plus, they give you a crap ton of chicken for a good price. Yeah the chicken is a little dry – it has been in boiling stew for who knows how many hours, but the chicken tastes so much better than most places.

Anyway, I got home talked to the family, then passed out at 6pm. I slept for 12 hours. The next day I felt pretty miserable, sore, tired, and I started having a fever. I figured it was just my body balancing out the travel and cursing me for All Vol. My fever spiked at 101, which is very mild. Then it went back down. I took some Tylenol and went to bed.

Next day, I feel slightly better, but my fever isn’t gone. I was hoping it was just a one day thing. My body is aching like I just decided to be a linebacker. My head hurts. My eyes! of all things are sore. I can barely move. My throat is sore. I have a dry cough. And I have cotton mouth. I feel like shit. As the day progresses my fever keeps rising slowly and steadily. It peaks again at 101 and goes down by itself. Worst part was I took Tylenol and the fever just kept going up.

Hold up. I think I lost a day somewhere in there. Oh well, I was miserable that day too.

Last night was the icing on the cake. So, it rained all afternoon yesterday – absolutely wonderful. It stopped for a while then picked back up again. In the evening it really started to storm. Around noon, I start feeling delirious. And I mean DELIRIOUS. If I spoke with you yesterday, I’m really sorry, but I can’t remember a single thing after I had lunch with an obroni. EXCEPT for a few things.

So around 6, I pass out for a super short 5 minute nap on my bed. I realize it is time to go to sleep. So I am getting ready for bed when Akous knocks on the door. She wants to see if I am hungry. I actually turn down food. I AM SICK. I go get in bed. 20 minutes later, Patrick, the dad knocks on the door. He wants to know I am feeling. I’m tired, you just woke me up. The family is really concerned for me. I look like hell and a ghost, it is probably an indication. Also, I can barely walk to the kitchen to get water – no wonder. He prays for me at my door while I am half naked wrapped in two two yards. I have no idea what he said, other than amen.

I open all the windows and let the cool breeze from the storms aid in my fever reduction. I start to sweat like it is 2pm in the hot season with no breeze in the direct sun. I don’t stop sweating for hours, it wakes me up every half hour because I just feel gross. Keep in mind the delirium is in full force at this point.

Around midnight, I think, I wake up because I am still sweating and the thunder is crazy loud. In my not so great state of mind, I decide – I need a shower! At this point, I am freezing cold from sweating. So I hop in the freezing cold shower and rinse off. I shiver like it is 0 degrees outside. Why on earth did I think taking a cold shower in the middle of the night would instantly cure me? I have no idea, but it seemed like the best idea ever at the time. I hustle back to bed and take my temperature, 97.4. WTF body? Can we decide on something? I wrap up in my two two yards and go back to sleep.

I wake up today with no clue what happened yesterday, my hair is sticking straight up, and I can barely stand straight I am so dizzy. Even in my ridiculous current state of mind, I can still see the humor in all of this. I may be sick, but it is still really funny the things you do when you have jungle fever.

So right now there are a few likely culprits (according to Where There is No Doctor – A Village Health Care Handbook): mild malaria, dengue fever, typhoid fever, or some other virus. My internal compass is pointing to dengue fever, but I am no doctor, even though the book tells me now I am. Although the cyclical nature of my fevers points to malaria, but my fever isn’t really high enough for that. So as the Peace Corps Doc says – I’ll wait and see, treat the symptoms and hope for the best. That’s how we do it in Africa.

Don’t worry family and friends, I’ll get better. Peace Corps provides some of the best medical care available.


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