Wednesday, November 29, 2006

The m-word

Sebastian has just had malaria. I had very mch hoped never to write those words on the blog, but unfortunately it is the case. He is, however, pretty much fully recovered. Fortunately, he had a very mild attack: just a fever (38.5C, not very high), lack of appetite and general unhappiness. He could have had serious vomiting, diarrhea and a very high fever, which would have been dangerous in such a small child. We have been lucky, and are both slightly shaken and very thankful. We have redoubled our already considerable efforts to keep the mozzies out, dipping our nets in insecticide and spraying the house.

Alongside my sense that we have failed our child to some extent in our basic duty to protect him from dangerous diseases (although of course I know that it is impossible to do this 100%), I also feel ashamed of my previous rather superior attitude towards other people whose children have had malaria. I have often thought – though never said – “Well what do you expect, when they don’t cover them up/spray them/sleep with mosquito nets. Look at Joaquim, he’s never had it.” I am eating humble pie and it’s good to be reminded that we are all fallible, although I’d rather the lesson didn’t involve my 7 month-old baby and a potentially fatal disease.

After I wrote that, Joaquim came down with malaria, same symptoms. Not a good week, but they are both absolutely fine now. I re-counted my blessings when a friend of mine told me her worker’s 10-year-old daughter had died of malaria that morning. It’s no joke.


At 5:26 pm, Blogger swisslil said...

Thank God the boys (and you) are ok. Don't feel guilty, I'm sure you have been protecting them to the best of your ability. I'm so impressed (and humbled) by your being in Moz in the first place..and I'm reminded of what we (in Suisse) take for granted.


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