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Wednesday, June 28th, 2017

Most of my stories start in a someone's office, usually a doctor's office. This story is no exception.

Doctor Jiha D. Putah: "Your blood tests are back. You had Chikungunya."

Me: "Chicken what?"

Dr. Putah: "Chikungunya. It's a mosquito-born alpha virus, from the same mosquito that transmits Dengue Fever and the Zika virus."

Me: "Oh. And what is the treatment for it?"

Dr. Putah: "There is no treatment. There is nothing I can do for you."

Lovely. A disease with no treatment. Apparently it isn't possible to know when I contracted the virus, the tests just show that its signature is in my blood. All signs point to Ecuador, however. I got very sick in Cuenca and never really recovered from it. At the time I thought it was severe food poisoning, but after a while it became clear that it was more complicated than that. I saw many doctors for all manner of tests before I got to Dr. Putah; and she pretty much set me back to zero.

I spent a year and a half in a very peculiar type of hell of severe fatigue, joint pain, and general malaise. Not unlike Lyme's disease, from what I have heard. I was taking a bunch supplements and vitamins (including melatonin) just on the off chance that something might help. When I ran out of the melatonin I accidentally bought a bottle of 10mg instead of the 3mg I had been taking. Three days later I was much better. I went to a sleep doctor, spent a night in a clinic covered in wires from head to toe, and the test confirmed that I was unconscious but not really sleeping. Diagnosis: inflammation from the infection damaged the part of my brain that controls these things, preventing from me from ever getting to the restorative type of sleep. I can't recommend not sleeping for a couple of years. It really did a number on me, not just physically but also mentally.