Monday, February 28, 2011

Dengue in Iquitos

Well, part of my job when I have a group in the Amazon is to talk with the Universe and ask that anything bad that is going to happen to any of my guests happen to me instead. And the universe, cool spirit that she is, obliges. While my guests generally go home without nary a scratch, I wind up with the flesh eating staph infection or the flesh eating spider bite. I get the broken ankle and the exploded intestine. Not that I like getting those things, but I've been a jungle rat long enough to know my body can handle them and I won't utterly panic. If my guests got those things it would be really awful. So I ask to get them if they have to come and then trust that my team, my fantastic team, can doctor me safely through the crisis. And with the exception of the intestinal ulcer explosion a few years ago, they have.
This year it was dengue fever. I've never had it before so it was an interesting learning experience. And of course, I was glad that none of the guests got it or anything else. Thanks, Universe...sort of.
What I had was called hemorrhagic dengue--but I didn't hemorrhage so that's the good news. There was an epidemic down there and here's what happened:
Every year, every house, tree, park, river bank, store and so forth get sprayed for mosquitos in Iquitos. The men just come and knock on your door on the designated day and they come into your house looking for any place where mosquitos could thrive. If they see you have piles of old clothes soaking wet in a corner or newspapers (leaky roof), they take them and burn them in the street. Everything else they spray.
They go from neighborhood to neighborhood for a couple of weeks till the whole city is done. It's a pain in the ass--you're not allowed to leave your house on the day it's your neighborhood's turn--but it keeps malaria and dengue at bay by eliminating mosquito larvae.
Last year the people in charge of the spraying money--millions of dollars--kept the money and claimed that Lima never sent it to Iquitos. They did the same this year and so an epidemic of each: malaria and dengue broke out. Thousands and thousands of people were sick. Hundreds died. People protested wildly, demanding blood from the thieves when they discovered that Lima had indeed sent the money for the spraying.
Finally, Lima sent more money and the spraying got done, but not before an awful lot of us were sick.
The malaria didn't bother me because I already have it and those parasites just live in my liver until I get sick, overworked and so forth, and then they come out and I have malaria for a few days. Rotten but I can deal with it.
The dengue is not nearly as severe for most people but the mosquitos that carry it put something in your blood that thins it. Thins it a lot, which is why people often hemorrhage. If you don't, you're better in a week. If you do, you have to get to a hospital quick to get blood coagulant or you just bleed to death. So a lot of people who live on the river died. And a lot of little kids and old people died. For me it was just 7-8 days of being real sore, puking unexpectedly, muscle aches, head throbbing, hilariously puffed face and other soft tissue and no ability to eat or sleep. Oh, and your body itches from the inside wildly, so that you have to scratch yourself all the time without getting any relief...
But I made it so that was good. A couple of neighbors didn't, which was bad, particularly considering that the whole epidemic was created by someone or a few someone's purposely keeping the funds meant to prevent it.

3 comments:

Johan said...

Glad to hear you are feeling better, I don't know what your strategy was in 2000 but I seem to remember all of us including you staying extremely healthy and happy so you might want to consider going back to doing what you did back then ;)

Peter Gorman said...

Well, in 2000 I had Moises to watch my back, if I remember--and he generally took the hits for me and us...

Michael said...

"... part of my job when I have a group in the Amazon is to talk with the Universe and ask that anything bad that is going to happen to any of my guests happen to me instead."

So Peter, are you saying that the sins of one person can be taken on by another? I think I heard that story before. Didn't work then far as I can see.

If you did find the secret, how come only those that go on a tour with you get the benefit? How about taking on old age from me please. A few other major and minor problems. I'll send them UPS.

You see mon? It is not that what a man experiences is caused by another, and it is not that what a man experiences is caused by himself; it is only that what he experiences is the consequence of identification with the intent to create experience through acts of thought, word, and deed.

Transfer of kamma is simply a wish, and good states do not increase nor do bad states decrease simply through wishing.