May 7, 2005

We are currently in Kavieng still and think we all contracted malaria. Jonah succumbed first and when he got a very high temp, we rushed him to the hospital. His blood test was negative but they started him on anti-malarials. We started getting sick a couple of days later and our blood tests were negative too despite having many of the signature symptoms. We have talked to ex-pats living here and they say the blood tests are crap and only register after having had malaria for a while. The key to successful and rapid treatment is to start the anti-malarial drugs early. Everyone up here uses a Chinese drug called Artesunate (or Artemedine) and Fansidar. The Artesunate has less side effects and rids the liver faster of the malaria bugs which hide out there and then burst forth on one’s body.

What does it feel like? A killer flu from hell. We all have fevers, sweating (but we always sweat), chills, some nausea and a cough. I am pretty sure its not the flu as we all got flu shots in Pohnpei. The doctor at the hospital said it might be a virus but how much can you trust a betel nut chewing doctor? In addition to contracting malaria we are finishing a run of antibiotics for strep throat that we had. Jonah manifested the strep infection with a massive infected boil on his chin. Naturally Jonah is starting to feel great just as his parents are sinking into a sweat soaked hell.

I have no idea when we will leave. I presume observing Jonah that it will be at least another week until we are strong enough. I walked into town today and almost passed out on the way home. I was delirious last night but feel better today although I go up and down throughout the day. Jordan is really bad today. We are hoping the anti-malarial drugs will kick in by tomorrow.

We dragged our selves to the Saturday vegetable market because we are still in amazement at being able to purchase vegetables. We lasted around 20 minutes before we staggered back to the boat exhausted and sweat soaked where we collapsed on our beds.

The upside is that the weather has turned to crap and if we were healthy we couldn’t leave now anyway. We are going SouthEast and need the normal SE winds to ease up a bit.

I did want to add some horrifying comments on the state of the hospital here. The outpatient room was filthy. Naturally there was no air-conditioning. They laid Jonah on a bed with a filthy sheet. The walls were sticky. The garbage stank and ants were everywhere. Jonah was burning up and they didn’t even have a towel so I could sponge him down. I took his shirt off and used that. I watched to ensure all needles were new as they drew blood and gave him a anti-malaria shot. The nurses were nice but the doctors seemed to be not present and we had to specifically ask to talk to him. They didn’t want to do anything until we paid the fee of $2US for the blood test.

A German boat came in last week and is anchored right near us. Eva and Gerd and the boat name is “Daedeldo”. They are lovely and we have had drinks and dinner together before Jonah got sick. Eva is a yoga teacher and I did yoga with her for two days before I got ill. She is a very good teacher and I wish I could continue. They are continuing on to Indonesia over the top of the main island of New Guinea.