As you guys know, we spent the first half of this year on the river, splitting our time between the 3+ villages. Between March-May, we mostly lived in a new village, putting down roots, studying language & culture, and building relationships with the people and building our first house! As we adjusted to the new village, the people and medical personnel in the village mentioned every once and a while of the fact that there has been more cases of Malaria in the village this year than ever before. Malaria & Dengue aren't new or super scary diseases for most people living in the jungle since they are always present. The people kind of look at it like people in the city see the common flu (i.e. ideal if you can avoid it, but realistically almost impossible to avoid since it gets passed around each year). You can't really be in the jungle, especially in our area, without eventually getting bit by the wrong mosquito; it's basically inevitable where we are living. (If you guys remember, Nemo actually got Dengue the very first week that he came up to visit me while living in a different village, and that was just from a week of being on the river!!)
After a couple of weeks in the new village, visiting and getting to know the people, we came to realize that our village is being plagued with an intense epidemic of malaria (more appropriately labeled as an "endemic"). This was not something that anyone had warned us about (i.e. no one is talking about it in the Napo or outside), and no one used the epidemic or endemic terms even while we were in the village. In the end, malaria is such a constant and normal thing all along the river that it seems like no one is spreading the word about the situation.
We decided to leave anyway as we had originally planned. Sunday afternoon Nemo packed everything up in the house, and we caught a boat going upriver. 6 hours later, we got to the border. By that point, Nemo was also sick with a high fever, so we really were the pair! But I married a super-guy, let me tell you!! He amazed me with his strength and care for me that whole week! He took amazing care of me all the while being sick himself! We got to the town at about 10pm, so Nemo went, found, and woke up the only medical personnel in the village. In the end, they had the necessary treatment for what I had, and I very ungracefully passed out at the door of the clinic, so I got to experience my first time sleeping in a medical facility hooked up to an IV, but most importantly got to start my treatment. :)
The next day the medical personnel sent us across the boarder to a hospital about 3 hours away. Nemo was feeling almost as bad as I was at that point. We got to the hospital, and they immediately did our blood work and came back saying that we both had Dengue!! Surprise, surprise! We definitely weren't expecting that. So my malaria was gone, thanks to the treatment, but it appears that I had had Dengue and Malaria at the same time all along. (It isn't possible to diagnose Dengue in any of the villages, but thankfully this was a legit hospital, so they had the equipment to diagnose even something as complicated as Dengue!) Nemo was just starting his Dengue, and I was on the tail end of mine. In the end, the doctor required us to be admitted. We didn't argue!
Since there's no treatment for Dengue (i.e. you just have to wait it out and control the fever as much as possible), Nemo's fever was terrible the first couple of days in the hospital, and much like mine, it refused to come down even for a little bit. It just stayed at a constant 40+ degrees celsius. On Wednesday, Nem's fever broke for just a bit, so we had hope that that was a sign that he was on the mends! But then, that same day, they did another blood test and come to find out, that while I was improving, Nem was just starting Malaria. That was a terrible moment, to be told, "you've just gotten past the worst of the Dengue, but now you are just starting Malaria." Well, long story short, we stayed in the hospital a full week until we were both over Dengue and Nemo had completed his Malaria meds. For Nem, since he had Dengue first & then Malaria, he had a super high constant fever for 7 days straight!! Ugh. It looks like I probably had Malaria and Dengue at the same time from the very beginning, so my fever was super intense, but only lasted 5ish days. In the end, on Sunday morning, we were finally given the green light to leave the hospital. So we traveled all day to get to our apartment in Quito to finish up our recuperation at home, and boy! were we happy to be able to go home!!
And that's the short version of the story! ;)