This is the response of the Ghanaian health system. I have been in hospital in Accra the last two days, when recovery from the malaria didn’t go quite as planned, and have discovered that the only thing worse than being in a dodgy hospital in Ghana is being in a good one. The good one smells almost as bad, but one expects more so the frustration is correspondingly greater. I was tempted to ask some friends to kill some kind of sacrificial beast to figure out what was wrong with me, because the Ghanaian medical system certainly couldn’t.
Over the last forty-eight hours I have been told that:
I have malaria;
I don’t have malaria any more but am still suffering the symptoms;
I have an unspecified infection that requires the same antibiotics they give you when you have anthrax;
I have absolutely nothing wrong with me;
I have had hepatatis A, but don’t any more;
they cannot tell.
The only thing they have treated me for is pain, with an (ironically) very painful injection in my bottom, despite my protestations that I wasn’t in pain any more. ‘You are too brave,’ they said. ‘Don’t hide the pain’. I was tempted not to, but it would have involved burning the hospital to the ground so I withheld. Finally, they proudly came up with my blood test from Wednesday on Saturday morning, and gave me the results as if they were new. At which point I disconnected from all the devices and found a ride home. The insurance company doctors say I’m probably ok, which is good enough for me.
I am having a temporary lapse of my sense of adventure, and plan to stay in bed in Accra, which now feels like London or New York, until I am myself again. I may rouse myself to read some Dagbani proverbs, in which case I will once again share the joy.
The ‘accident free days’ chart now has Hannah on 12, and me on 38, crossed out, followed by a row of zeroes. We decided that I am in minus territory, and have to start earning my way back to zero. Here goes…