Three days. I’m still weak. I still feel sick, but better. For 36 hours, I could not eat, and could only take sips of water.
I still have no clue of what I had.
Some thought I had malaria. But I didn’t think so.
You see, I’ve had malaria several times before, and while the symptoms mimicked malaria in some ways – the fever, the nausea, the weakness – there were enough things that were significantly different, such as the lack of the cyclical fevers and the blinding headaches during which the very act of looking to the left or right was peculiarly painful exercise.
And another thing, this sickness did not come slowly like malaria does with me.
No, whatever this was, it came quickly with an uncomfortable rumbling in my stomach at exactly 10:10 pm. I know what time it started because it woke me up. Before then, everything about the day had been good and I had felt just fine.
Here’s something to take note of. When your stomach rumbles and there is no hunger, that’s a clue that something’s wrong.
I lurched out of bed and made it to the restroom. Whatever was in my stomach exploded out and then the remaining contents continued to pour out, albeit less violently, like a stream, nay, more like a river.
I would have been shocked at the rapid onset of my illness had my attention not been diverted to the drops of perspiration dripping suddenly down my face and splashing onto my arm. What the heck? My other arm was wet, slick with sweat. Trickles of perspiration trailed down my back.
Nothing like this has ever happened to me.
While I was trying to take all of that in, I realized that I was quickly growing faint. I’ve never passed out before, but somehow I knew that I was close to losing consciousness.
How can I describe how that felt?
It was like watching myself from a distance, along with the sensation of moving backwards in my mind while moving forward at the same time. Very disorienting. I was losing grip of my position in space.
I forced myself to focus and quickly got back to my room and to my bed, because the floor was pure concrete. If I fell and hit my head, I would die.
Got to the bed, took off the top half my clothes, now soaked, and lay beneath the ceiling fan to cool off and let the sweat evaporate. Moments later, I was cold and pulled on a shirt, got under a blanket and curled into a ball of misery.
Two days later, I felt human again after eating a tiny bit of white rice with raw ground up red and green hot peppers and onion and drinking sips of lemon water.
This is how people can die!
A bit wobbly, I went for a malaria test. And as I thought, it was negative.
What did I have?
Typhoid? Food poisoning? I look at a picture taken of me several days later. I did not look like myself.
Why am I telling you all this?
Because there is a lesson here that I needed to be reminded of.
If you don’t have your health, you’re not going to be interested in doing anything but getting through whatever it is that you are battling. You just want to get through it alive.
Funny how all those important things you needed to get done asap are no longer so important and are relegated to the back seat, or to no seat at all.
It’s the same thing with life situations. When you’re overwhelmed with so many things you feel pressured to get done right away, why not do like your body does when it is sick? Shut off all unnecessary matters and deal with what’s most important.
And you know what? Somehow, you’ll see that all those oh-so-important tasks do not matter that much after all. They’ll get done when they get done, without you pushing yourself to extremes.
Sometimes the necessary things to deal with are your people, your relationships, your peace, your contentment and your health … not work.