I’m in the final stages of recovery from Dengue Fever, that means I am tired and my ability to concentrate is limited. The area where I live in Sri Lanka is not subject to this blight but a quick visit south to Colombo about two weeks ago had me in the sights of a Dengue riddled mosquito. It was a fun trip to an Asian City, full of beautiful buildings with a patina of damp and decay. Many of the older shop houses and older areas are being demolished to make way for some government Despotic wet dream of a modern metropolis. Shame really but Sri Lanka in general is attempting to pull itself out of the humid torpor of the nineteenth century or further back in time.
It’s easy living here to give in to complaining about the slowness of events, the easy going attitude to breakdowns and the smiling complacence of locals with regard to life’s vicissitudes. It throws into hard relief my impatience and tight attitudes to getting what I want when I want it.
Over 60% of the population of Sri Lanka have had Dengue Fever, certain areas are prone. In cities like Colombo a slight downpour fills old drains, discarded pots and containers and within a day a new generation of disease vectors is airborne. Woe is me.
I returned home and in my blood the sinister virus festered. Within 3 days I had a headache, nausea and after a walk on the beach the sudden appearance of spots. I lost my appetite and fluid became a major challenge. At first I thought it was food poisoning. A day in bed should fix it, I thought.
Having spent time in Singapore a country also prone to Dengue Fever It’s hard not to note the differences. In Singapore a widespread education program, mosquito eradication program and smaller area to police had brought the problem to manageable proportions. A city the size of Colombo and the widespread areas in Sri Lanka that are prone to Dengue are much harder to fathom. Suffice to say, bring a personal insect repellent with you if you do travel here.
I’m sitting on my bed as I write this under a mosquito net and even though the mosquito sitting above me in my personal domain of insect freeness is harmless, on spotting it, I snarled and clambered about on my bed in slaughter mode. My skin still has hot spots of itchiness and a seemingly unrelated fungus infection near my bits is being treated with condy’s crystals and steroids. The bright red patches are fading and have gone from the size of a hand, to palm size to matchbox size.
White skin in the tropics is a little prone to everything, even now I find being in the wind or sun makes my itchy bits itch and my exposed bits crawl. The recovery states of Dengue fever are difficult, my hands and feet turned a nice shade of puce and the lancing pain streaking through the flesh was horrible. Anti Histamines are my new favourite drug for the evening. Last night was the first time I slept without drug assistance.
There is no cure for Dengue Fever and you can be reinfected, once bitten you can get it again and that can be serious, haemorrhages and dangerous blood problems, best to avoid.
The local president has his picture everywhere, The long shot in guru white robes and red scarf, a red polka dot shirt version of a godly presence in smaller images and a new purple shirt one of a smiling El Presidento. Very occasionally I’ve seem one of the images defaced, with crossed eyes or devils horns. The population here revere him as a god. Perhaps rather than spending money on Coal fired Electricity generating plants in a country with no coal he could spend some on health education not self aggrandisement.
To those of you concerned about my health I promise I have been look after by the comedy team known as the private health system and that little adventure deserves its own post.