It started last saturday evening, we had rented a car that same morning and just stopped to change driver. I bounced a little outside the car, but felt as if my body didn’t want to go with me. I took my seat and switched on the heat, suddenly it had become so cold. Just a few kilometers later we stopped at a restaurant, walking inside my whole body was shaking fiercely and all my muscles were hurting bad. As I was shaking the pain became worse and I didn’t know what to do.
I couldn’t eat anything, but had two cups of tea. I took the passenger seat in the car and Alex tried to find us a guest house or hostel. Driving around the South African countryside we eventually found one. But it was closed. I was sitting outside the door, shaking and my whole body hurting. It was raining heavy and Alex urged me back into the car.
There was a number on the door but we didn’t have any telephone that was working. Some guys at a petrol station close by made the call for us and I let the shakings rock me to sleep.
One more day passed by before we entered the hospital in Bloemfontein. By then every step was hard to take and I couldn’t see clearly nor could I explain to the nurse what was wrong with me. “I have a diahorrea,” I told her, “and I’m just really really sick.” The doctor came after a couple of minutes and less than ten minutes later they had me lie down on a bed. Someone came and took some blood, another one put in a drip with fluid. Normally I am terrified of needles, but I was too dizzy to even notice what happened.
I don’t know when, but a nurse came back to me and said “I am afraid you have caught malaria.” I didn’t know what to reply so I said “oh, how fantastic.” “Don’t worry” she said, “are you allowed to be admitted to our hospital? Does your insurance company allow that?” she asked. I said yes, I’m sure. But something was wrong, and I would have to pay myself first. I asked how much. “It’s seventeen thousand rand.” “I have to call my mum.”
Ofcourse my mother panicked as I said I had malaria and they needed to admit me to the hostpital, but first they needed their money. “They won’t start any treatment before we have paid.” I told her. She went to my dad and they scraped together the money, an hour later I had another bag in the drip and I fainted in the bathroom. The next thing I knew I was in a wheel chair on my way up an elevator, then asked to lay down in another bed.
In the evening a doctor came to see me. He said my pulse was down on 112, “it’s good that it has sunk, we just have to keep checking to make sure it doesn’t rise again.” I stared at the man in front of me, 112? Was he crazy? That’s the pulse I have at the gym, not when lying half asleep in bed. I felt my heart, it was pounding faster than ever. “You could have been dead.” the words hit me again and again as I write this, I am so happy that we went to the hospital and not simply waited for it to pass.