A very strange event last night. (27/10). I had come home with a bit of a headache, , which is fairly unusual given the amount of analgesics and anti-inflammatories I take and that my BP is a very commendable 125/70!
I was chatting with my darling daughters who are currently in Oz, visiting their granddad in Ballina. I should have been over there too except this job change disrupted plans. But I digress. In the middle of the conversation I began to suffer from chills, shivers and shakes. I had to climb into bed and wrap the duvet around me. We continued to chat for quite a while until at last they needed to sleep, having had a long day starting in Wellington at 5am and ending up in Ballina with its time difference so much later. I was feeling very poorly by then, and hunkered down for a bad night. Almost immediately I started hallucinating, or dreaming. But is it a dream when it is an exact repeat of a real experience from long ago?
In 1985 I traveled to Taro island in the launch MV Teriari. It was a rough passage, and to escape the diesel fumes and the churning of my stomach I sat out on the small foredeck, which was barely two meters long with a hatch cover to the anchor warp well. I sat on the hatch as we chugged along at four knots with spray drenching me now and then. In the end I wrapped a waterproof parka around me and slept curled up around the hatch cover. Of course I got very wet, and cold, despite being in the tropics. The wind chill got me.
I had suffered a bout of malaria some time before, and this lowering of my defences was enough to allow it to take hold again. I was in the grip of a raging fever by the time we arrived at Choiseul Bay. The lads took me to the police post, being the most weatherproof structure on the island, set up my camp stretcher, wrapped me in a blanket and left me with water and food.
I believe I shivered and shook for two days.
I have not thought about this event for decades. I relived the whole thing last night. I lay in my cocoon and listened to strangers talking about me in Pijin.
“What is wrong with the tiavaka?”
“Malaria, the strong one.”
“Roni died of that. Is he going to die?”
“Bae mi no dae” I said. I am not going to die.
Tonight it happened again. Except much later in the evening. In the shower this morning, I think I found the reason. Clearly a non-painful but hallucinogenic insect bite?
With cyclic effect?