Friday, January 15, 2010

Mosquito infiltration

There are few things more annoying than mosquitoes. That insufferable whine, the theft of bodily fluids and the resultant angry welt. I also particularly hate the way you swipe at one and (if you don’t succeed in annihilating it) it simply disappears.

Mosquitoes in Malawi don’t just bring histamine, however. Malaria is a real problem here and many of the children we treat are infected. To ward it off I take Cloroquin every night and sleep covered by a mosquito net.

The other night, however, the latter part of my anti-Malaria defense failed miserably. I tucked my net in all around my bed and snuggled down, ready to sleep in anticipation of my 5am alarm. Then: catastrophe. I heard that unbearable whine- one of those little devils was inside my net! I switched on my headlamp and, joy of joys, got a visual on the little bugger. I swiped at it so hard, however, that I smashed it onto my sheets leaving a smear of blood. I tried to go back to sleep (while avoiding the bloody patch of my linens) but my net had been fully infiltrated. Throughout the night I kept hearing them whining right near my ear so I would slap myself in the face to try and end the torment. I continued beating myself at every sound up to and including the Muslim call to prayer in the middle of the night (which caused me to almost give myself a black eye because, in my sleep induced delirium, I thought it was the sound of a monster mosquito). When the sunrise finally signaled an end to my sleepless torment I went to the bathroom and noted that I’d succeeded in killing one of those little devils. How could I tell? There was a smear of blood and a dead mosquito crusted into the corner of my eye. Yummy, huh?

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