I have been feeling under the weather for the past six days. When I first arrived, I was told that every clinic volunteer gets sick—no arguing your way out of it. I have been so lucky up till this past week. No stomach ailments, just a few bug bites and a touch of fatigue.
Last Tuesday, I woke up with a pressure headache all the way around my head and a pretty hefty feeling of fatigue. During preconference (our little meetings between the volunteers before we start out seeing patients), Michelle taught us how to start IVs. I was her model (I have great veins and was willing to be poked). Right after the stick, I felt lightheaded like I’ve never felt before. I’m not squeamish or needle-shy; if anything, I was really interested in what she was doing. My dizziness continued, even after I’d gulped my second liter of water. I ended up sitting in the sun for a few minutes to warm up my clammy limbs and then decided to head home. I have never felt that overwhelmingly wiped out. I’ve had that feeling on and off since then: Wednesday I felt better, Thursday I felt good, Friday I felt terrible, Saturday was okay, and then yesterday was the worst yet. This weekend, I began having bad joint and muscle aches, so the point where a lazy swim out to snorkel was an ordeal.
This morning, I woke up with the fatigue, head pounding, and dizziness. I went in to the clinic just long enough to have my blood drawn, then headed home to rest. All the tests were negative: no anemia, no malaria. I’m now nursing a pitcher of Oral Rehydration Solution mixed with some peach iced tea powder to attempt to mask the awful saltiness. Maybe my electrolytes are low? We shall see.
Besides this little sick spell, we have had some exciting updates on the island. Hurricane Ernesto is approaching! This morning, for the first time, I ate breakfast to the sound of the waves on the beach and a view of whitecaps out by the reef. Usually the ocean is glassy, only occasionally lined with gentle swells. The next signs of the storm are just appearing now: the sky has turned a medium grey, rain is pelting down, and the wind is picking up. One advantage of being sick today: I have a front-row seat in this natural drama!
I will try to snap some photos of the waves soon. For now, here are some shots of the spectacular view of Sandy Bay from the house that Evan, our computer guru, and his family rent. We trekked up and up to get to this place on Saturday.