2 weeks knocked out? No mama, no wife, no talks. Just a bed and thousands of thoughts.
This is the only thing which can happen when you travel and cannot really happen when you are at home (of course with some crazy exceptions!): getting some tropical virus. People say that there is no cool traveller without dengue fever or malaria experience. Then I’m still not cool. But I’ve got… chikungunya. Much worse thing that it sounds like!
All the Vava’u north group of islands of Tonga – is covered. An epidemy is going on also in other Pacific countries, on Carribeans and… in the States.
Chikungunya is a viral infection transmitted to humans by infected mosquitoes, just like dengue fever (mainly by the Aedes aegypti and Aedes albopictus species). It can cause very high fever, join and muscle pain in the extremities, headaches, skin changes, insomnia and an extreme degree of prostration. All one after another, or at once. The fever and prostration lasts around 2 weeks but the pain can stay up to two years in most of the cases. What is the most scary in this story is (as I read in few places already) that the virus might have been created by Americans as a biological weapon against Cubans. The name comes from some African language and means: “that which bends up”…
In my case: everything has started with little red dots on my skin. The locals were sure from the beginning: you have our chikungunya! Took us some time to get to the internet to read a bit more about it! Then, the fever came. After a week, when I though I’m already fine – we changed the place of staying into another island. And then it has seriously started: I was fainting, loosing conscience and it was really bad. And in the worst moment, what happened? We met an angel! Italian Pepe, living in Tonga since years. Who invited us home, gave us (me) a bed, was cooking for us amazing food, his kids were playing with ours and Tom had a lovely company. Seriously, we are so lucky people!
Chikungunya was, until now, the only dark part of our trip. But all in all was not so bad: we made a life-long friendship, we got some kilos (with Pepe’s food!), we rested a bit and learn even more about the people and places.
But still – I don’t wish anybody funny-sounding chikungunya. There is no specific treatment for chikungunya infection, nor any vaccine to prevent it. There is no specific treatment but medications can be used to reduce symptoms. Not funny at all but at least chikungunya does not often result in death. And luckily I have Tom, who is not only amazing in every-day life but also just perfect in emergencies. And I have Hanna, who was creaming my painful skin, and I have Mila, who was bringing me her mango juice.
Our first book is out!
We have published our first book (for now just in Polish:) about our Central America Trip.
See, read and order here »