Beside accidents and missing your flight, nothing is probably worse than ruining your vacation with a droping health.
Common cold is enough bad and would forced you do nothing else than laying a couple of days helplessly on bed, not on the beach sands like you supposed to. Many unfortunate travelers could come up with diarrhea and more fatal diseases like malaria.
Like I did 3 years ago. I was naively thought that the malaria was no longer exist around the area where I and girlfriend visited. It was a small plantation island out shore of Southern Sumatra, called Pulau Sebesi. From there, we can enjoy a scenery toward world-famous Krakatao volcanic island. We did enjoyed a short stay on this non-touristic island; camping on its beaches, meeting with the friendly inhabitants and snorkeling around its coral farms. Not until 2 weeks later, when we were coming back to Bali from Lombok and we started feeling sick. Yes, both of us at the same time.
We unsuspiciously thought that it was an exhaustion from hiking toward Mount Rinjani crater rim. So we took a rest and consumed amoxillin, because our temperature hit 39 degree Celcius. It seemed worked because the next day we felt 90% fit! That day, we hung around and enjoyed what Kuta have to offer to its tourists. On the evening our temperature came back. We couldn't hardly got up from bed. I also got chills eventough the room temperature was warm and humid.
Started to realized that this meant serious, we managed to go to doctor the next morning. I had a blood test. In the afternoon, the doctor worried about how low my trombocyte level was. She cannot be sure if we got dengue fever or something, but we likely would be dead pretty soon if we were not be taken care of. She demanded that I go straight to hospital. After much considerations -- like taking blood test in that Bali clinic was 10 times more fucking expensive than in a common hospital and the fact that we have a flight home the next evening, we decided to gamble our lives and wait another day.
Desperately hoping to get an earlier flight, we were already in Bali Ngurah Rai Airport since morning. We were pretty much like zombies. Of course we had no luck because it was a long-weekend Sunday and half of Jakarta went to Bali for holiday. After hours waiting and began to believe that being half-dead meant no privillege whatsoever, Air Asia staffs suprisingly allowed us to board the plane first. The flight arrived earlier than schedule too! Yes, it was those times when Air Asia seldom late.
We arrived in Jakarta after midnight. My family was already waiting and drove us directly to the hospital. We checked-in at 2 am and stayed 10 nights in RS Melia Cibubur. The doctors first suspected dengue fever, but 2 days later when we later told them that I got occasional chills during my fever, they ran a malaria test and it was positive. The test required that they take my blood when I got the high fever and shivering, it wasn't easy and comfortable at all.
The fever always came in cycle. When the fever comes, my head felt like it would exploded at any time. So painful, that sometime I felt that my soul flew out from my poor body. And if it just wasn't enough, the drug Chloroquine --that I needed to take daily, made me want to vomit every 10 minutes. Believe me, it wasn't a beautiful feeling.
Anyway, the other half time I spent on hospital when I didn't have fever, it was just me laying pale, bored, flicking throughout the tv and strugling against hospital food. This might disappointed people who come to visit and expecting I was still looked like a living zombie.
After 10 nights, we were allowed to go home. My girlfriend went back to Slovenia and we came back to our peaceful long-distance relationship. Oh wait, did I tell you that she had malaria again one year later?
The fact are that malaria doesn't exist in western and central Europe and she didn't travel anywhere near malaria endemic area that year. Yes, it was the very malaria she got when she was in Indonesia one year earlier. Do you know that the malaria paracites can live stealhly in your body that long and stike when you are the least supiscious. Fortunately, She managed to get through.
Another story involved her and family looking for Primaquine to some European countries, only to find out that they don't have the drug no more. She found it 10,000 km away in Singapore when she traveled there and the pills cost quite fortune.
So that's our story. Do you still think that malaria is not that bad? Yes, there are way to avoid this horrible disease. On my next post I will discuss about antimalarial preventive drugs.
Flying while you have malaria? Been there done that! Believe me, you don't want to try..
UPDATE: the post following this story is ready to read, titled "How to prevent malaria"