Sometime in 2015, I was feeling weak and had this massive headache that wouldn’t just go away despite the number of painkillers I took. A few days later, I started feeling weird, and I knew I had contracted Malaria, but first had to seek the doctor’s advice. So, like all other patients in any other general hospital, I sat on the waiting bench, my heart thumping against my chest, a sour taste in my mouth and weak limbs I couldn’t even move, waiting for the test results to confirm I had Malaria, so I could start the medication immediately.
Something about not prescribing your own medicine.
Shock on me. The test came out negative. I couldn’t hide my disbelief. I was close to dying. How could the test come out negative? Then the doctor said something about how sometimes fatigue makes someone feel weak, or maybe it was just a mild case of bacterial infection.
Mild case so he said. And burdened me with more pain killers and antibiotics.
A day later, I started feeling better but since my roommates were a bunch of great noisemakers, I moved to my other friend’s room to spend the night. I remember before I slept, we had a small conversation with Daughty:
Daughty: In case you need anything, just tap me. I will be awake.
Daughty: Will you make it till morning?
Me: I think so.
And no, I didn’t make it to the following morning. At least not on that bed.
Half way into the night, I started losing breathe. My whole body was covered in sweat and I couldn’t open my eyes because the headache was so intense, I almost screamed. I tried calling out to Daughty but she couldn’t hear me since it was barely a whisper. Neither could I call anyone because I don’t even remember where my phone was.
In my head, I kept thinking I was going to die, because the harder I tried to breathe, the tighter the air became. I was losing it. But just before I gave up, I gave one deep sigh that sent Daughty sprawling to where I was lying, bedsheets soaked in sweat.
Daughty: Jesus Christ! What happened?
She was smart enough. She noticed I couldn’t speak. She also felt the heat and immediately started fanning me. She was in deep panic. She tried several people on phone, but it was 2 am in the night; some were deep asleep, and the others were too stoned to pick up her calls.
Just so you know, it was just the two of us. Picture two girls in the night, one is sick, looking for a taxi to take them to hospital. That in itself was scary.
Daughty: Sasa mbona watu hawashiki simu? Hao marafiki wako wote kwani wako wapi? (Why are your friends not picking up?)
Me: I think I am passing out.
I don’t know how she even managed to pull through, but a few minutes later, I was carried out of bed into an awaiting taxi. The last thing I remember is the thermometer reading because it showed 41 degrees Celsius, and the nurses said that was quite dangerous.
Long story short, I am told I was unconscious for close to eight hours. Even after I regained consciousness, I couldn’t speak for the next four hours. And yes, I was diagnosed with a severe case of Malaria.
You are probably wondering how my sickness is related to a fruit I don’t like. This is it. During the two weeks in which I was in a hospital bed, the only thing I could eat was fruits, and the doctors preferred the water melon to any other fruit, I think reasoning along the lines of me having less blood in my system.
So, there I was, eating water melons for breakfast, lunch, supper and any other times the doctors and Daughty thought I looked hungry. All was going on well until one day I went to pee and my pee came out in a crimson red colour.
Jeez! I almost slipped and fell in that washroom as I kept screaming for the doctors. Both Daughty and I thought I was peeing blood, and I didn’t want to imagine what that meant for me. But then again, the doctors said the colour was due to the huge amount of water melons I was taking.
Daughty: Na si nyinyi ndio mlisema akule hizo vitu. (You are the ones who told her to eat that.)
Doctor 1: It is not a bad sign. It is normal.
Doctor 2: In fact, it is a good sign.
And that was it for me. No way I was going to continue peeing ‘blood’. I said no, and that was it. My diet was changed to something even nastier, I wouldn’t want to describe it here. But at least the colour of my urine got back to normal.
I have never eaten water melons from that day. I cannot even look at them, whether peeled or whole, whether cold or hot. I think they still remind me of those two weeks, and they remind me of Daughty’s selflessness.
That is it for today. See you tomorrow!