Fratguy has experienced malaria-like fevers for the past 36 hours or so, which is a little too much Stanislavski-like method medicine and/or method colonial American history for me, but there you go. He says it’s just a virus, which I think is a ruse designed to get me off his back rather than take him to see a physician. Back in 1991 when he was in medical school and broke, Fratguy enrolled in a medical experiment for a malaria vaccine funded by the U.S. Army. It was just like that old OFF commercial: after getting the vaccine, he had to stick his arm into a tank full of falciparum-infected mosquitoes and get bitten by them! Well, guess what? The vaccine didn’t work, so he got malaria. (And when you’ve had malaria, that’s a lifetime get-out-of-jail-free card for blood donation!) But, he also got a ski trip to Whistler out of the deal, and I get a great little anecdote to trot out whenever I’m lecturing on the horrors of Jamestown or on the early English settlements in the Chesapeake and Caribbean in general. Score!
For those of you who didn’t study infectious disease before 1940 and/or colonial American history, malaria is caused by a plasmodium parasite (either the falciparum, which is deadlier, or the vivax parasite) carried by Anopheles mosquitoes. The parasite gets into your blood and then settles into your liver and induces a series of very high fevers in the patient, which gradually subside (if they don’t kill you.) Pregnant women and children are particularly susceptible, but it’s a survivable disease. Fratguy tells stories about the disease in which he’d have a horrible fever and chills all day long, and then feel well enough to go out at night and attend a party, thinking that he was over it, and then the fever would return again overnight or the next morning.
From what I’ve read on the non-peer reviewed internets, a relapse is not at all likely after 19 years. But, is it at all possible that he’s been harboring something in his liver all these years, like something out of Alien? Do let me know if you’ve got any intel on this! I’ll need to get myself and the kids (if I have any) out of the house.