Malaria and crazy dreams (àìsàn ìbà àti àlà tó sàjèjì)

13 Jan

Malaria is an unfortunate fact of life here. Before entering most countries in West Africa, you are required to show a yellow CDC immunization card to prove you have received the arsenal of vaccinations to protect against the plethora of diseases one can contract, as well as proof you have brought prophylactic drugs to protect against malaria. Despite the fact that there is a great deal of effort perpetuated towards visitors, not much is done for the citizens of this country, who many of which have no vaccinations available, and no prophylactic drugs at their disposal. Consequentially, people here accept malaria as a fact of life. There are several different strains of malaria, and depending on the type one contracts, symptoms and consequences can vary. Malaria is not necessarily always the fatal disease some make it out to be if correct treatment is sought early enough. Symptoms, however, can still be absolutely brutal and miserable. Since I arrived in September, both of my host parents and my resident director have had to deal with malaria. Even though one may take prophylactic drugs, it is still possible to contract malaria. Keegan, a friend and colleague in my group fell victim to malaria that landed him in Jaja-the less than comforting hospital (from an American perspective considering things like sanitation and electricity) on the University of Ibadan campus for four days. He said it was one of the most miserable experiences of his life.

Thankfully I have not yet contracted malaria, however it is possible. I make sure to take my pills everyday. One unfortunate side effect of prophylactic drugs is their psychotropic abilities to effect your dreams. Prior to coming to Nigeria, I have heard horror stories about others using prophylactic drugs and stopping because they couldn’t stand the nightmares. I haven’t had too many nightmares, just extremely strange and vivid dreams. A good example happened to me last week-in a dream (I don’t remember the circumstances), I was about to swallow a pill. I put the pill in the mouth and suddenly it felt very strange. I suddenly woke up and realized the “pill I was swallowing” in my dream was actually my earplug that I had taken out of my ear and put in my mouth all while sleeping. Not one of my proudest moments.

7 Responses to “Malaria and crazy dreams (àìsàn ìbà àti àlà tó sàjèjì)”

  1. Karen Born January 13, 2011 at 5:32 PM #

    I didn’t realize how prevalent Malaria was in the area that you are living. Thank goodness you have escaped it thus far, and hopefully continue to…it sounds extrememly unpleasant. It is good to hear that your family and friend got through it.

    I am sure your story about your dream might not be too funny to you, but it reads well!

  2. Barney January 14, 2011 at 12:16 AM #

    Hi Kevin–I’m not surprised the ear plug in your mouth woke you up. They taste terrible all by themselves. Next time, try them with either clam sauce or a brown butter sauce. Bon Appetit!

  3. Bola lati Toronto January 21, 2011 at 4:00 AM #

    Growing up in Nigeria, i had malaria at least 4 to 5 times a year and i remember going to the doctor for chloroquine shots, she paralyzes you for a few seconds but it was always effective in killing the virus.

    Malaria is not as dangerous as it’s portrayed in North America. It is just like getting a flu in Canada, it can be cured and could be fatal if left untreated just like a flu.

  4. Tinuola Ajayi January 24, 2011 at 12:53 AM #

    Jaja! Oh no not that place! Indeed it must
    Have been miserable.

  5. Bayo March 4, 2011 at 4:32 AM #

    Actually malaria is as dangerous as they say. Nigerians are partially immune and that’s why it’s rarely fatal to adults. On another note, I really enjoyed reading your blog🙂

  6. sailorscout1986 April 28, 2011 at 6:41 AM #

    i contracted malaria just before i came back to england after being there, malaria-free for 6 months. this was due to a harsh night of no electricity and we had run out of fuel for our generator, so the mosquitoes ravaged us. anyway, i was very ill and weak but got on my flight and stayed in bed for a couple of days when i arrived home. i was never treated for it, and recovered by myself but afterwards i heard that it was potentially fatal. i saw my cousins get ill will malaria and recover too so i really didn’t know it was so dangerous until i told people about it weeks later

  7. destyneclothings August 21, 2011 at 6:44 AM #

    oh wow lol…good u didnt get malaria…ts not a good feeling, buh u coulda opted for shots too before going, i think its better than pills…..do not eat ear plugs next time lol…

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