My love and respect to Sickle Cellers. They are a highly favoured walk of human beings. At least they are spared the debilitating scourge of malaria. I am just now recovering from a near-fatal attack of the dreadful disease. I tell you, Malaria can render a man impotent and useless. This is how I feel having lost my taste for beer, haven shaven off my beards, and repulsed by bear-hugs. I have lost my flair for some other private passions and pursuits, after one week and a half of Malaria fever. Eish.
I woke up on the dawn of April 29, 2012 with a heavy head, hurting eyes, and wobbly legs. There is nothing, I mean nothing at all, a steaming cup of coffee- creamed, sugared, or Black, cannot take care of. I had fixed myself a scalding cup of Espresso- the life’s elixir- and my world came back into focus. One hour later I had chased that with a cappuccino (home made) , and the world was right again. I had hit the street with my usual swagger- the sinister smirk on my face, and the regular bounce in my step. It was a long hard Lagos Monday, wearing out the sole of my working-man shoes, pounding the hard pavements of Lagos’ streets. It is The Hustle. The life. The Cause we are born into- it is how we make ends meet. Call it gra-gra if you like, you will be correct.
The evening of that day I came down with a cold. My usual end-of day Beer was off. Heineken tasted like piss. Dinner of Eba with Banga soup smelled and tasted awful- like copper coin; an alternative meal of bread with butter felt like saw-dust in my mouth. I only could manage half a cup of tea- black, because milk would have given me an impetus to bolt to the WC, to spill my guts out. It was no Alomo time either. The very thought of dinner, (my only real meal for the day) had become yuck to me.
Those TV Ad drugs don’t work shit. The symptoms persisted. I was shivering and sweating all at the same time. It was a long hard night. I drifted in and out and in again into nightmares. Turning and thrashing all night. My cousin Anita, who was visiting, told me later that I was babbling incoherent things, most part of that dreary night. I really don’t do glossolalia on a good day, so I wondered where the babbling came from.
I visited the physician at daybreak, she ran some tests, said I had fever. They drew my blood, did some more tests, confirmed the presence of malaria parasites and some other illegible scrawls they made on the test result sheet. Three days of therapy and medications- nasty pills, punching holes on my poor arse with syringes till I became so perforated that when I fart the gas emits from a million and one arseholes. There was no succour from the scourge. I got sicker, and the thought that I was dying depressed me for the first time since I can remember. My fervent earnest prayer effort was not rewarded with any significant improvement in my condition. I thought I was done for, in my distress the words of the Last Prayer had left my memory.
I think it was the sincere fervent prayers of my family members and the goodwill of my friends on facebook that helped me on the long run. It was the love of these honest, loving and warm-hearted folks that pulled me back from the edge of the cliff. I was already (metaphorically) hanging, swinging by a thread of hopelessness, looking down into the smoky, deep Valley of Shadows; I could virtually see the burning sulphur lake down there. But the Lord hears the prayers of The Righteous, not mine.
I had found the road to recovery after a whole week of mind-blinding illness. It’s been a long, long time since I had it this bad. I can’t wish the experience for another human being. I really have been to Hades and back. But I thank the Lord for sending Angel Nightingales to come to my aid with healing and with recovery.
Healing and recovery are blessings that come in excruciatingly slow process. And that is what I am doing now, painfully, slowly-slowly recovering. The malaria has taken its toll on me. I now look like an under-fed turkey; my pee that had taken on the colour of apple juice at the onset, now looks the colour of Lucozade, smells like coconut liquor, and bitter like gall.
I have consciously, and willingly abstained from my vices- every man’s vices- Wine, “Women and Song”. I could never have pulled this stunt if I was given the whole loot of the Big Brother Africa prize money- US$300,000. But the no-mean-feat has become a cinch because malaria has taken away my thirst, My zeal, and my Passion for Wine Women and Song. It took away my thirst for beer, and my beards as well- I had to shave after a haggard week.