Becoming Human Again

I’ve wanted to write this post for a while but had my doubts (or maybe I was just going in circles about it in my head). I wanted to write it once I had something positive to say instead of just whining further than I’ve done on FB and Twitter.

Then my husband woke up saying “I hate waking up and feeling like I’m a 100 years old.”

Have you heard of Chikungunya? If not, here’s some info.

We’ve been dealing with it for a month now and it’s been a relentless attack on our bodies. While everyone’s freaking out about ebola, in the Caribbean we’ve been taken down by the thousands by this mosquito transmitted virus with symptoms that include fever, rash (and subsequent itch), and most of all: arthralgia (horrible horrible joint pain and swelling).

Rash from hell. #chikungunya

A post shared by Artistikem (@artistikem) on

My rash got pretty nasty at one point; hubby’s not so much.

I’ve dealt with arthritis my whole life, Carpal Tunnel for most of it, but this shit feels like someone’s breaking your bones. For real. The first night my husband and I spent with fever and chills and pain (we got it both at the same time, isn’t that splendid) he says I kept screaming in my sleep. He might have been confusing my extreme whining with screams thanks to his fever-induced hallucinations (he spoke incoherently for a while) but all I was asking for in my head was for whomever was trying to break my legs to go ahead and do it already so we could be done with it.

That went on for two nights but the pain in the joints, mostly hands and feet, has stayed with us. And the best part? Scientific papers I’ve read around say this thing can last for 2-3 years with coming and going symptoms. I’ve spoken to people that have been suffering from sporadic bouts of the rash (which I still get whenever I stress my body being either getting super angry or exercising) and the swelling and pain for six months.

Of around 17 people we know personally around our neighborhood, 10 have gotten it. The rest are waiting patiently to get bitten since an epidemiologist said we’ll all get it sooner or later. Everywhere you go there are people talking about it or physically unable to do stuff because of it.

I still can’t close my hands in a fist, my fingers feel numb all the time, and even when I’ve gone back to doing mild crossfit, fatigue sets in pretty quickly and I have to take longer rests than before. To think the whole island population will be going through this at some point (since there’s no vaccine or treatment other than pain killers and lots of vitamin C) and that it can last for so long scares me to no end.

Local singer Glenn Monroig said on TV: this is a crash course on getting old. I’ll add it’s a crash course on feeling fucked up and unable to continue with even the most basic daily stuff.

As a writer I’ve always been afraid of losing the ability to use my hands. It reminds me of that scene in the movie Modigliani after he’s beaten up and keeps asking about his hands and I must say that after a long writing session it feels like someone’s stepped on them several times but I’m pushing through and almost done with that sci-fi fantasy manuscript I was supposed to send to my editor that same week this shit started. šŸ˜›

So that’s it for me. If you live in the island please try not to get bitten by this evil mosquito. If you don’t live in the island then now you know there are thousands of Caribbeans suffering from this chickenshit that you’ve probably haven’t even heard about.

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