I don't have malaria.
If you are going to spend much time in Africa, you will be taking anti-malaria pills. A common medication has the brand name Malarone. The typical course is to start the Malarone a day or two before you get to a malaria-infested area, take a pill a day while you're there, and continue for a week or so when you get back.
I'm telling you all that because at about 12:15 pm on Monday - 24 hours after I returned from my trip to Africa with the ONE campaign - I felt chilled while sitting at my desk in downtown Washington, DC. That became modest shivering, which became intense shivering, which made me suspect I had malaria.
I know that the incubation period is generally longer than 7-8 days, but I can't remember the last time I had a high enough fever to produce that kind of shivering. And I didn't have a fever.
Chills is always the first or second symptom of malaria. It alternates with "fever" depending upon the web site.
I got so cold that I grabbed a winter sport jacket from the back of my door that I hadn't yet brought home and put it on. Then I went down to my car and drove to George Washington University Hospital which is not far away.
I wasn't sure where I had the best shot at finding someone who would know what to look for. Walter Reed at the Bethesda Medical Center would be the obvious choice but as a card-carrying civilian I don't have any way to get in.
So, it was off to GW. By the time I signed into the emergency room the symptoms - if that what they were - had abated.
Hospital waiting rooms operating on a triage system. If you are a 66-year-old White guy and complain of chest pains you will be ushered right in. The danger is, if you use that as a dodge to jump the line, you run the real risk of God saying, "Oh, yeah? Watch this."
Not a good idea.
Also if you have blood coming out of your body from just about anywhere, they will see you right away.
As I found out "Suspected malaria" (which is not a communicable disease), will put you as far back on the triage list as you can get. Like to July.
But, I was there and I had my iPad with the new John LaCarre novel on the Kindle app, so I settled back and waited. My wife, despite my protestations, came over and sat for about an hour until I convinced her I was not in any immediate danger.
At about 3:30 I was ushered into the emergency room proper. At about 4 PM a doc came to talk to me. At about five another doc came to chat. A half hour later a tech took three vials of blood.
At eight another tech came in and took three more vials of blood.
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