Monday, July 6, 2015

The Dengue Diet

Such a short time before i go, and Nicaragua has designed to humble me as much as possible. What i thought was a pretty standard virus -- the kind you can catch nearly anywhere -- lingered and lingered until i realized that all of my symptoms were exactly in line with that more dreaded ailment: Dengue Fever, brought on by a silent, day-biting mosquito. Aedes Aegypti is not like the bird-size mosquitoes we have in Minnesota. It doesn't buzz around your ear and it doesn't swarm just after a rain. It bites in the early morning and just before dark, on silent wings, so you don't know it's coming.
Meanwhile, this guy awaits a really good walk.

Our house is well screened in, and i am diligent about keeping said screens closed -- but as they say, it only takes one to get you sick. At its worst, Dengue can cause hemorrhages, bleeding from the eyes, and other macabre symptoms. Even the mild cases can cause fever, muscle and joint pain, and a pain behind the eyes, all lasting for a week or two. As someone who almost never skips the morning coffee, i'd thought that pain behind the eyes was a lingering caffeine withdrawal -- but nope. Dengue.

Even the name evokes images of voodoo and violent deaths inside grass huts. If i said it didn't freak me out a little to be going through this alone, with very few friends left in town (they've all gone for summer) and even my daughter gone, i'd be stretching the truth.

The other thing about Dengue is that it makes you tired, far longer than the fever and the body aches last. Like imagine taking out the trash and then needing to go in and rest. As you can imagine, this is not how i imagined spending my last days in Nicaragua -- getting so up close and personal to my bed that i began to damn the firm mattress and the low thread count sheets in this rental house for not being there for me. Washing laundry and packing my bags became something i'd do mañana, mañana...

On the bright side, i have my class reunion coming up and i could have stood to drop a few pounds. Living here, where there just aren't the number of social activities that we're used to back home in Portland, drinking a few cold Toñas (beer) on a patio somewhere becomes the nightly entertainment. Mariachis will come and sing you a tune for some cash, street boys will bring you flowers they created from palm fronds (for money), and a street dancing troupe will pass the hat to show you their acrobatic dance -- but still, drinking -- and dancing -- takes top bill. I knew i needed to slow that down... so in the spirit of drilling down the drinking, looking forward to yet another new life, and slimming down before i slipped into a sleeveless white pantsuit for the reunion, i had to welcome the Dengue diet, just a little. We have to look on the bright side, right?

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2 comments:

Jack said...

Hang on, Nico. You have more friends than you think. You just can't see us all!

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