Monday, July 21, 2014

So... I got chikungunya

Dear family, 

So... I got chikungunya. Last Monday night, in fact. It came on very quickly. It started with some minor pain in my knee, but within an hour I had lost all function of my left leg. It was a deep pain that seemed to go all the way to the center of my bones. My left leg was soon followed by my wrists, hands, neck, and finally my right foot. Needless to say, it made walking rather laborious... so I didn't really, at least not for the first 2 days. 

The idea of dragging my stiff, aching body out of bed was rendered even less appealing by the fact that, for the next 3 days, I ran a nearly constant fever ranging from 101-103*F. But I pretty much hibernated through that stage, getting up only long enough to take some Advil or drink some suero (which is literally just IV fluid). 

The final stage (which I am still currently enjoying) is muscle aches and a full-body rash. My arms, legs, neck, and chest are all splotchy and red and itch like crazy. My hands and feet are all swollen and hot and the skin feels raw. It's getting a lot better though, at least now I can make a fist. 

I still limp when I walk, but I can now go out and proselyte. Yesterday was my first full day of work this week. I went to church looking like a giant tomato, but they still asked me to give a talk and lead the music with my splotchy red arms. So, I hobbled up to the front of the congregation no fewer than 3 times.

The rash is the final stage, though. Once it clears up, I can never get chikungunya again (it's like chicken pox in that way). The muscle and joint pain, however, will last another several weeks/months, I'm told. And I'll always have it in my blood, meaning that any mosquito that bites me will be infected. I wonder if that means I won't be able to donate blood for a while when I get home... could you look into that?

Until next week, 

Hermana Kaitlin Olsen
The Chikungunya



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