Les Roberts – Freetown, Sierra Leone – October 30th, 2014
Day 26: Paranoia may destroy ya!
Yesterday, as I rolled into the hotel parking lot, the guard at the gate took my temperature for perhaps the eight time that day. It was 37.6C… more than two thirds of the way from normal to the dreaded “enter quarantine and get tested” level of 38.0C. The sun was shining on my face so I logically knew I wasn’t sick. I felt fine. But, somehow I simply had to zip straight to my room and open my suitcase, get the digital thermometer, and stick it in my mouth to wait for the beep. 34.9C. I was so sure that I was fine but somehow I would have not been able to think of anything else until I had this external validation of how I felt.
All of my Sierra Leonean counterparts, the expatriates, the drivers, are hyper-aware of their health. To get a case of hiccups raises people’s diastolic blood-pressure by 30 points!
So about 10 days ago it was a little startling when a doctor colleague said, “What happened to your eye?” I went to my room and looked, and sure enough, there was a considerable subconjunctival hemorrhage (this picture was a couple days later when it had subsided). I have never heard of anyone who had hemorrhagic symptoms before fever with ebola but you just can’t help but have your mind wander where it is not supposed to go. I don’t ever remember this happening before without trauma, and other than a tiny fly going in the other eye the day before, I can’t imagine what happened. In the days that followed, I had three doctors look at it and all three were certain of their respective diagnoses: conjunctivitis, blunt trauma, and hypertension . The bloodshot eye is mostly better. The paranoia is unfaltering.