Surgical wound has swelled to the size of a lemon. Why… I don’t care, suddenly too tired to care. Dog box tired, fever tired, school camp tired…

We are not fans of school camps – those playing fields have no shade, no food and always hundreds of curious, excited, loud kids. No one else is here yet, only the dog box and me, Tallis. I search out a little spot for my tent behind the only bush, a hint of shade and privacy. But I’m too tired and the tents aren’t here yet.

I wander over to the school and introduce myself to the school principal, feverishly explaining my need for a ride into Lusaka. I’m just so tired you see…

I’m not going to be able to ride tomorrow, or tomorrow after that. Harriet and Jacqueline arrive and find me half awake and feverish in the dog box. Harriet insists I hitch a ride with Jac into Lusaka, to be near a hospital. I’m already on antibiotics so what could she do, here in a rural school field, if my fever continues to rise…

The principal has found a willing driver, and Jac has a reservation at the Intercontinental so I… float on a fever dream into the car for the long drive into Lusaka.

Dinner at Rosso’s, the hotel’s Italian Restaurant, perks me up. Wires me up.

Harriet has given me different, stronger antibiotics which, by morning, seem to have brought the fever down… still, the plan is to get to Lusaka Hospital ER for some tests.

Meanwhile recuperate around the pool for a day, lounge, sleep, float… It’s a holiday, Easter, but the hotel is almost empty. Deserted. Odd.

The next day the tour lands in Lusaka, but not Lusaka. They’re in camp outside the city, which is still a fair cab ride into town. Some make their way to the Intercontinental and they’re not happy. It rained all night, the camp is awash, the road to camp is blocked by a downed tree, which means cabs can’t get to them, and wifi has been cut. Holed up at the Intercontinental feels pretty good now…

April Fool’s Surprise… I’m wakened by Harriet and my medical insurer each trying to hustle me out of town. They’ve agreed I should go to hospital in Johannesburg for tests, instead of Lusaka, ‘for a higher level of care’. I need to pack, check out, get to the airport, catch a plane, find a cab, find the hospital, a hospital I have to choose first of all, explain my whole story to the doctors there… it all sounds profoundly exhausting.

By the time any headway is made it’s too late for today, so the first flight out tomorrow morning is booked. I think I’ll be gone a couple of days for tests and rejoin the tour before they leave Lusaka, or at worst I’ll fly to the next rest day stop – Maun, Botswana? and rejoin there. Which is to say I leave almost everything with the group. It will be four years before I rejoin the tour. First comes three weeks in hospital in Johannesburg. And the next eight months recovering. But I don’t know any of that yet.

Dinner around the pool with Agnes, Frank and Neil, and I go to bed thinking magically I will be back on the bike healthy and happy in a few days. It’s the fever.

One thought on “Fever

  1. I’m fascinated by your posts and enjoy your writing. Thank you for taking the time to share your experiences. I’m intrigued by learning what unfolded in Johannesburg, and since I know you survived, I’m looking forward to hearing about Livingstone to Port Elizabeth. Good Luck, Craig Saunders

    Liked by 1 person

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