What happens when you live in the tropics, on a normally arid and windy island, and you have an exceptional amount of rain and little wind? Mosquitos happen, that’s what. And with mosquitos comes all manner of tropical diseases. The most popular here at the moment? Zika, Dengue and Chikungunya.
And, although I know the tourists won’t believe this, if you live here long enough, you sort of become immune to noticing mosquito bites. They still bite you, but you don’t really react. No swollen, itchy bumps pop up. Maybe you notice a small red mark, but that’s about it. No relentless scratching resulting in scabby sores. Not even a real inconvenience. You just accept that they will bite you and you move on. And that, my friends, causes you to be lazy about mosquito protection.
So you end up playing a sort of Russian Roulette with these flying pains in the asses. You know you’ll get bit, but you play the odds that it won’t be from an infected mofo. And it’s all good. Until it’s not. Because eventually everyone’s luck runs out. It is the Law of Gambling.
For the past several days, I’ve felt really run down. I attributed it to post-election grief at first. After all, the shit going down in my home country at the moment is surreal to say the least. But as an expat I am thankfully a bit more removed than my friends and family back home. So, I stayed in and rested (and put up my Christmas tree…don’t judge…it brings me joy), contemplating what the future will hold for us all…
But then I woke up today with a head-to-toe rash. Like, head to freakin’ toe. It is insane. A total first for me, too. And, with a bit of dismay, I immediately realized that I had just lost my gamble. Damn it, I hate losing. I had finally contracted one of the tropical, mosquito-born maladies running rampant on the island. Ugh.
It doesn’t really matter which one (they’ll do a blood test in four days just to determine which thing I had – mostly for database purposes, I guess). The treatment is all the same – rest, drink lots of fluids and take paracetamol for the aches and fever. Oh, and get some Menthol powder to calm the rash. And that last one is what makes island illnesses so interesting. The nurse told me that it was pretty much sold out everywhere, since so many people are battling the rash-inducing illnesses at the moment.
But still…being the eternal optimist, I took my blotchy red self and went off in my unreliable jeep (still waiting for that part from Europe) to pharmacy hop in search of the last box of miracle powder. And I found it…literally the last box on the island according to the pharmacist. Sorry to anyone who develops a rash before the next shipment arrives. 🙁
And now I’m home, resting in the newly-installed airco in our bedroom. (Thankful for perfect timing!) Two drugged puppies at my side. Oh, did I mention that this morning, of all days, was the day they both got sterilized? Yeah, add to/from the vet carrying 30 pound puppies to my list of “things to do” while sick. The three of us are all in this together at the moment, it seems. I just wish Sol would stop puking. Well, misery does love company.
One thing is for sure…mosquito repellent is no joke, people. If you’re on the island, keep on spraying. It sure beats the alternative.
I’m a writer living on the Dutch Caribbean island of Bonaire. Originally from the U.S., I followed my heart to the tropics in 2011 at the wizened age of 43. Since then, I’ve been blogging to inspire and entertain. I love kitesurfing, a good gin & tonic, and corgis.
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