JP (the DH in my life, for those of you who don't know me IRL) came home from Bamako with a low-key, but somehow still fairly irritating cough. He's just been to a conference up in Mali and had had to sit out the last two days because he felt miserable. The doctor up there told him he had a "viral bronchitis" and sent him on his way with a bottle of cough syrup. I, on the other hand, took one look at him and said "Malaria".
"But they gave me a blood test in Bamako. They said I didn't have it." He protested.
But of course, all that meant was that he didn't have many parasites in his blood at the time. The amount goes up and down, peaking with high fevers and descending in between. I made him go to a lab here for another bloodtest and, sure enough, he had baby bugs in his blood. Lots of them at this point, as he had been letting them run rampant for nearly one whole week. Bugs in your blood. How creepy is THAT?
So, he's at home resting and taking Quinimax. It's nasty stuff, but quite effective. Very common side effects are: buzzing in the ears, sudden loss of hearing, dizziness, headaches, visual disturbances, and nausea. So, you spend the five days of your treatment feeling just as bad as someone who is taking nothing at all. But, of course, you don't die in the end, which is the fate of the many people here that can't afford even the most basic medications for common, dangerous illnesses.