We’ve been bused out of Kampala today, followed by a ferry ride to an island. This is because of the crazy traffic near Kampala. There wouldn’t have been any reasonable option for us to cycle that stretch. However, most of us liked that opportunity to rest and close our eyes. In my case, I definitely needed that additional rest day that—officially—was not a rest day but a transit day.
I kept my eyes closed for most of our bus and ferry ride, and thought that would give me a good chance to recover. However, I still felt horrible in the afternoon. Especially the sweetish re-hydration salts made me feel sick. Like that, there was no way I could ride the next day. So I went to see Helen.
“Deb said she took antibiotics and it really helped her. I don’t like taking antibiotics, but it’s already been 48 hours and doesn’t seem to be getting any better. Should I also take some?”
“Yes, I can give you Ciproxin. You can take it as a single dose, so it also limits any side effects. Just a question—have you had any blood or mucous in your stool?” Helen asked.
Helen gave me the tablet, and I planned to go to bed early that night. By 7pm, I was ready to crawl into my tent and hoped to pass out. A last toilet run showed some blood and mucous. Shock! What does that mean? Is it getting worse? I went in search of Helen again. Poor girl—she’s been working non-stop on this trip with all the sick and wounded. But I needed to know what was going on with me.
I found Helen at the shore of the lake, where she probably hoped to enjoy a quiet evening. “Sorry to bother you again. It’s just because you asked me earlier regarding blood and mucous. So now I’ve had some. What does it mean?”
“It means that it’s probably due to bacteria rather than a virus. That means the antibiotics should help.”
“Really? So it’s good news?”
“Yes,” Helen confirmed, “nothing to worry about.”
I was excited as I crawled into my tent. There was hope that I would feel better and still be able to ride my bike the next day! I would still wake up several times that night as usual, but already felt much better by midnight. My diarrhea seemed to have settled. Now all I needed to worry about was re-hydration. And drink a lot I did.
However, by early morning I had another worry. I woke up at 2am boiling hot and sweat soaked. I must have had a fever, my body fighting something. In my delirium, I started to worry about malaria. “I must have depleted my immune system so much that I’m running straight from diarrhea into something worse!” I fantasized. “What if my Lariam tablet [anti-malarial] that I took the previous morning hadn’t been digested yet before I had my next diarrhea?”
I mentally debated the pros and cons of over-dosing on Lariam versus risking malaria. Eventually, I settled the debate in favor of taking another tablet of Lariam. What an irony! In hindsight, perhaps Lariam is to blame for my nightly worries in the first place, paranoia being amongst its most common side effects.
Either way, my fever had subsided the next time I woke up again early morning around 4am. I was on the path of recovery. Yahoo!
NB: Driven by my physical state, I haven’t taken any photos today, and all my blog posts this week are seriously delayed. Thanks to Mike for sharing some of his photos with me. I think especially the one above summarizes very nicely my entire week—one photo says more than a thousand words 🙂
Stage: Transfer from Kampala to Sesse Island (Uganda), 103km
Overcast most of the day; sun peaking through late afternoon.
Some kind of stew and steamed vegetables for those who managed to eat. My diet remained limited to few slices of bread and a few spoons of rice, plus peaches and an apple—my body is craving for fresh fruit to re-hydrate.
Getting an additional rest day out of our transit day.
Double birthday celebration of Andje and Judith. Happy Birthday!