A sparrow when I'm broken, and eagle when I fly.....

Welcome to my world. I am an ordinary wife and mom who has been extraordinarily blessed by an amazing husband and house full of beautiful children. My prayer is that you will be somehow blessed by our family's story. It is a tale of God's grace and forgiveness...His loving kindness and patience with us His children as we strive & struggle everyday to bless His name with our lives

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Blue Jeans & Malaria Med Nightmare

Mike and I are planning a very special trip* and started Malaria meds three weeks ago. The medicine is called Mefloquine and you are suppose to take one tablet once a week before leaving and once weekly thereafter until four weeks after you are leaving area of exposure (malaria danger zone). We haven’t ever had to take it for a trip before but this trip we felt it wise to do the meds. Our doctor and pharmacists explained all the side effects possible…but it just sounded like “blah, blah, blah” to me. I figured we’d for sure get a little tummy upset but couldn’t imagine anything worse happening. You know those warning labels? They just have to say all the worst things that could happen…not the average side effects (I thought). I spent the first few days after taking the first pill with my head in a toilet getting sick. I had horrible migraines too and just thought it was bad migraine sick…not the malaria pill. Then the second week still crazy sick with migraine, dizzy, feeling awful. I even took a pregnancy test as I was very “late” and so nauseated. Nope, not pregnant. Then one morning I had a hot flash. Heard all about those hot flashes, but never had one before. I cried. I was “late” and having hot flashes. I really cried hard. “Great!” I thought. It’s menopause. Ugh. I am “only” 49 years old. But I don’t want to be in menopause yet! The thing about the hot flashes I was having is they came every five or ten minutes for hours on end and were AWFUL. I couldn’t figure out how women survived them?! Then I started hearing things…like voices or weird sounds. I even saw things that weren’t there. Fun. I was more mental (crazy uptight and sensitive) with poor Mike and the kids. My anxiety level shot through the roof. I really thought I was going crazy. It was only when I got a rash, some hives, and itching all over my skin; did I consider digging out the paper from the pharmacy listing the Malaria drug side effects. There it all was listed: Nausea, dizziness, headache, numb hands and feet, night sweats, hallucinations, aggression, anxiety. You may be wondering why it took me so long to realize what was happening to me. I was just so ill and fuzzy in my thinking that I wasn’t connecting the dots. And I also wasn’t being totally honest with Mike about all my side effects. When I heard the voices that didn’t belong to anyone calling me from the other room, or saw the kangaroo wearing a very snappy jacket sitting at the kitchen table…I just thought it was a very extreme atypical migraine brain trip.
Okay, so I can’t take the anti-malaria meds. Thankfully Mike is doing okay on the Mefloquine. My side effect symptoms are fading a little every day and the drug should be mostly out of my system in about ten days. Since I still plan to have the adventure of a lifetime and do not want Malaria I am taking other precautions. I am treating all my trip clothes with Permethrin to reply mosquitoes. I also added long sleeved shirts and long pants to luggage and pulled the skirts and T shirts. We packed some nice strong DEET too!
Yesterday I bought a pair of jeans. I needed them for the trip. I only had one other pair of long pants, the khakis I take camping. The last time I bought a pair of jeans for myself was 11 years ago. Yes, really. I’ve worn just dresses and skirts for years. Since Jonathan died I have changed. I don’t wear only skirts or dresses anymore. Finding a pair of jeans was mind blowing. So, I went to JC Pennys. I steered clear of the Junior section and went to “women’s casual wear”. There was 100s of different kinds of blue jeans. Oh my. I grabbed up twelve different pairs of size 12 jeans to try on in the dressing room. In a few minutes I put those all back and grabbed 4 more pairs in size 10 this time. (that was at least cool to discover!) A few minutes later I paid $40 for a soft as butter pair of Levis and walked out the door. The whole shopping trip was 30 minutes. I had forgotten how comfortable a good ole pair of Levis are.

Psst: don’t tell my kids jeans costing over $20 are allowed.

* post about our “trip” and adoption news next!



5KidMom said...

WOW!!!!!!! I thought my side effects with the daily malaria meds were bad. I had a VERY weird aftertaste with all foods and drinks, and major heartburn (enough to make me stop taking the pills mid-trip). I would take those things in a minute after reading your account. That must have been positively AWFUL!!

I look forward to reading more about your trip and adoption news!!! 8^)

johnyzgurl said...

You poor dear! I'm glad you're off the meds and you'll be in my prayers that the malaria, and mosquitos, stay far, far away. Enjoy those Levi's and have a great trip!

Julie said...

Hi Julie - my name is Julie also and I love reading about your family - you so inspire me. We have four bios and are adopting 2 bio sibs from Ethiopia. We just went to the traveler's clinic at the local University Hospital. The doctor mentioned your med but because of the side effects gave us another that does not have the serious neurologic symptoms you described. I haven't taken it yet as you start taking it two days before the trip and throughout the trip and a week after getting back. It is called Melarone - you might want to check with your doctor about it! Good luck! Julie in VA