Friday, April 25, 2008

Touch of Malaria

Well, everyone, sorry it's been nearly a week. But what a week. Jeez, Louise. Saturday night I came down ill, crossed my fingers and knew the worst was coming. By Sunday, when we went out and got Marco a car--a 2004 Kia Sentra LS with 63,000 miles for $4,000 in what looks like perfect condition (at that price it was probably stolen in some other city and wound up on a lot here, though I hope the heck not!!!)--I nearly couldn't make it back home. Malaria had got me by the throat and man, Sunday night through Wednesday night seemed to take a year. It's a pretty amazing malady: the first time you get it, in my case in 1985, I was laid up for a month, alternately freezing and boiling, lots of vomiting, and the key thing: Delirious thinking. After the fact the delerium is funny, but at the time, it's just impossible to think straight. I mean you can go to get water to cool down and take three steps and forget what you're doing, or realize that there's no point, that you'll never get cool and then you just lie down on the floor. But you can't sit still because your body is jumping out of your skin so you get up and put your head in the freezer. Then go to the shower and sit on the floor in scalding water for hours. And you can't sleep. And the first time for me it went on for a month till my body got control.
But when your body gets control that doesn't mean you eliminate the parasites. It just means they retreat into your organs--kidney and liver I think, though I am not perfectly clear on that this sec. And they sit there until something happens to weaken your t-cell count: an enormous amount of stress, working so hard you forget to eat for a few days, coupled with drinking and then toss in maybe an infection like I had a couple of weeks ago that caused me to take antibiotics--which wreak havoc with your immune system--and voila, the little buggers see their opening and are all over you.
So I was out out out. The only thing I was good for was for a laugh for the kids now and then when I was sitting in our house with the heat on on 80 degree days, my teeth chattering, me under covers an inch thick. "Hey look at dad! He thinks he's freezing!"
Anyway, that broke on Wednesday night and what a wonderful day yesterday was. I mean, I felt like I'd been used as a punching bag by a real mean guy, but still, just being able to think clearly was so fantastic.
So no big deal. Just try not to get malaria.
The only think worse is the prophylactic Larium. Larium can not only have your body duplicate the symptoms of malaria but toss in psychosis, suicidal tendencies and occasional violent outbursts. It's why I think our kids are killing themselves in such numbers in Iraq and Afghanistan. Just an opinion.
Anyway, I leave town for a trip on Monday. I'll try to think of something to write before then.
Oh, and for any of you who might be interested: There's a piece in the current Men's Journal (Harrison Ford cover) from a guy who was on a trip with me in January. Mostly relates to his ayahuasca experience in Peru, but he's a pretty good writer and it's a pretty good piece.


Frank Justice said...

The Men's Journal article is how i found out about you and came to find your blog. I am very interested in a tour but not for a few years since i have a child on the way. Unfortunate because i have heard the calling of the vine from a close friend and his experiences and this article plopped itself on my desk at work out of nowhere (about a week after my friend discussed it with me).The magazine was dropped off by someone who didn't put it on my desk because of the interest in the subject either. Coincidence? Either way I'm borderline obsessed now and would be more comfortable in a ceremony in Peru than sitting in my house with my friend as my guide.

Kuchinta said...

Sorry to hear of your illness. But am glad you have recovered and are ready to take another group for the adventure of their lives!
Stay well!

bamboo said...

Be well Peter. :-)

Phoenix said...

Cool Peter, you're always good for a story! Sorry you're sick but thanks for the drama. Be well my friend.

daisyduke said...

those little buggers give you the gift that keeps on giving;and I don't mean VD. Keep yourself as alkaline as possible, that crap thrives in acidic blood.
I can't wait to hear about this trip