My Uganda trip started off on the wrong foot. Before leaving Jinja I felt pretty bad and had a really rough headache, but I thought that may have just been a hangover from my going away shindig and ignored it. When I got to Mbale I was still feeling down and then assumed it was dehydration so I drank enough water to drown Holland.
In Mbale I stayed at this church run guesthouse/community center since it was the cheapest place in town. The room wasn’t bad which was a good thing since I spent almost all of my time in there. In the four days I spent in Mbale, I only got out once to go visit Sipi Falls. The rest of the time I was laid up in bed reading or sleeping. It was pretty awful. I might have eaten a total of two proper meals that whole time. I just had zero appetite. When I would stand up I got hit by waves of dizziness like when you stand too quickly, but these waves lasted for a full minute or so. I was in rough shape.
After a point I decided that the pain was far too much and broke down. I went to the local pharmacy and complained to them about having a headache that was lasting for days now. The plan was just to get some painkillers. However, the lady behind the counter was having none of that. She would only sell me some malaria medication and aspirin because she knew what was wrong with me. Since the malaria drugs were about five dollars for the whole treatment, I bought them just to shut her up so I could go back and crawl into bed. The pharmacy was a bit dark and when I stepped into the equatorial sun, my eyes went haywire. For a solid ten minutes my vision would go in and out. I would be able to see and then it was like someone was shining a big LED flashlight right at me. It probably was a psychological response. I had a feeling I might have malaria after I didn’t get better for so long, but having someone tell me just sent it to eleven. Standing around was not an option, I didn’t want a hundred well meaning strangers asking what was wrong so I braved crossing the street (a perilous proposition at any time) to get back.
It took a bit longer than it should have, but since my room was only a few hundred yards from the pharmacy I made it and immediately fell into bed. I didn’t have the strength to do much of anything else. It was afternoon so I couldn’t start the cycle of malaria medication until the next morning so I took a couple of aspirin and did nothing until falling asleep.
Waking up in the morning was a treat. For the first time in a week I didn’t feel like death. Cautiously I got out of bed and the dizziness wasn’t gone, but much reduced. I was pretty convinced I had beaten the malaria and I was over the hump. But I did pay for the medication and I don’t like wasting money. I figured it wouldn’t hurt to take it if I had beaten it, and maybe the pain was just trying to trick me by playing possum. I didn’t want to be down for another week so I started the medication according to the instructions and kept at it for the next couple of days. Whatever worked, whether it was my immune system or the drugs, I felt so much better and was able to enjoy the rest of my trip.