Just over a week ago I came in contact with a debilitating virus. For me it was not the first time I was hearing about chikungunya. News of the virus has been in the Jamaican media for the past three weeks or so. I personally didn’t think much of it except taking the usual precautions; meaning try not to get bitten by a mosquito carrying the virus.
I jogged at the Mona Bowl UWI’s Student Sporting Centre I would say a few times between September 18th and 24th. I felt energetic from my trips and was accomplishing the intent. Now a few days into my jogging and pushup sessions I started feeling some joint and muscle discomfort. I thought to myself ahhh progress, well done Giovannie, sorry to say it was not the kind of progress I was looking for or that I would want.
By mid-last week September 23 to 24th, my muscle aches started to get a bit strong and persistent. I kept saying to friends this is odd but I seem to be making good progress jogging. No thought of “Chick V” had crossed my mind at the time, it could be because I knew no one on a personal level with the virus. Nevertheless Thursday morning of last week was the major turning point in changing my view-point. I woke up with every muscle ache possible in my upper arms and legs. I fought with my mind what is this? What have I contracted? Is this the dreaded Chick V virus and to top it off I have a seminar today. For those who might have remembered, Country office of Jamaica had its Organisational Climate Change Seminar over two days and being apart of the Resource Planning Section major involvement by us would be needed. I fought with myself that morning to get out of bed, my wife asked can you manage, I replied “yes I will have to it’s the first day of the Seminar”. My muscles ached so much I literally gasped each time I had to raise my arms to put my shirt on. I really wanted to move much faster but I was now beginning to realize I have no control of my motor skills, I am going to have to be patient with this. Before going off to work I ravaged through my medication stash and found some Panadol and drove out feeling half dead but I decided I had to do a job and yes my coworkers need not know of this as I could manage. For the next two days my total involvement in the Organisational Climate Change Seminar was minimal. By midday of the first and second days I had to leave the venue roasting with fever; a new symptom. By the end of the second day I started feeling dizzy and skin rashes appeared, there was swelling in my joints, legs and other areas. I was now fully infected and was bedridden with no appetite. This recovery would take the better part of the next four to five days with constant taking of Panadol to ease the pain and fever, keeping myself hydrated which meant orange juice, water and vitamin C intakes.
I still feel slight joint discomfort, but I am now more able to function. Since my episode I am realizing that the number of Chick V cases and its impact across families in the greater Kingston Metropolitan Area (KMA) is under-reported. Each household has at least one affected member and some 30 % of office staff are at home from my inner circle of friends surveyed. This has become an epidemic. I honestly can say educate yourselves about the virus and even then this might simply not be enough. It feels more like a waiting game. How much worse will this get before a full media and clean-up campaign is launched I am not sure…
Chikungunya is a serious health risk, let’s give it the attention it warrants !!!