9 June 2008
I’m allergic to the insect repellent.
Yup, that’s right. Wherever I put on the repellent – which comes in this fabulous little stick that resembles a push-pop – I get red patches of skin. It’s not sore or even itchy, but it’s still worrying. A fellow volunteer experienced the same thing and was given an alternative. She was very gracious and let me try some to see if that would be better.
Nope, still red patches
I’ll have a chat with the medical officer tomorrow and try to sort it out. Hopefully they have a third alternative or she’ll be able to reassure me that it’s not a severe allergy and therefore I don’t have to worry.
Today we had a big long training chat on malaria during which I was bitten on the ankle twice. Inside! air-conditioned! during the day!
Our Medical Officer, P, is fabulous. She has so many anecdotes about serving Peace Corps volunteers all over the world – eastern europe, a couple tours in Africa, etc. Plus she’s charmingly self-deprecating: “Sometimes a fever can feel really good. Once I had a fever of 104 degrees. I was up all night being productive, writing notes, listening to music, having amazing breakthroughs in my work. I was completely off my rocker”
I’m impressed with how much she believes in the anti-malarial medication. After speaking with her, I was moved over to the once-weekly medicine Larium. (Apparently there’s a website called ‘The Larium Files’ where people have written up their ‘hallucinations’ and vivid dreams while taking Larium. I’m torn between wanting to read it and not wanting to give myself nightmares because I’ve read it. hah) It is easier to remember and she seemed to imply that it is more effective than the doxycycline, if only because doxy moves through the body in about 23 hours – so there’s no leniency if you forget one day to take it. If you get just a couple bites in those few hours in between, you could have malaria.
It was a long session and full of bits of information. I was not feeling very well. This may be an understatement. Last night we had a welcome party at a local bar. I have decided that drinking in a climate that already severely dehydrates me is an extremely bad idea. oops.
But, it was nice to have my inhibitions loosened a bit and I was able to chat a lot with current volunteers. And dance. a lot.
For those of you who have gone out dancing with me, you know how much I love it. There was a live band playing West African versions of American pop songs. (Phil Collins!!! hellzyeah!) Lots of bouncing and a few attempts at couple dances. There’s a married couple (there are actually two married couples in my stage) who met doing ballroom dance at their university. I danced a lovely little latin thing with the husband, L. It was so much fun and really restored my confidence in being able to follow a free-form ballroom dance style. Huzzah.
The bar closed at midnight – it felt like 3 am, but I guess that makes sense since we get up around 6am every day. We all paraded home in a slightly weaving group, attempting to avoid the huge puddles from the fantastic storm earlier in the day that had rocked the hotel with thunderclaps. I collapsed into my bed and dragged myself out just a few hours later to learn about the various symptoms of malaria. yuck yuck.