o m m a g e :
Veveysanne de 32 ans a succombé le 20 février 2005 à un accès de
paludisme cérébral foudroyant lors d’un voyage avec son mari au Malawi.
Afin que sa disparition ne reste pas vaine, sa famille endeuillée
choisit de s’engager dans la lutte contre ce fléau qui décime 3000
enfants par jour en Afrique.
Carine Koehler Quant, quelques semaines
avant de succomber des suites du paludisme
http://www.associationcarine.org (association à
Témoignage boulversant de son mari, Murray :
I wrote this story to try and help me and the others close to Carine deal with her death....
Carine's Last Story
Sunday the 20th Feb 2005 at 7.30 pm, in a filthy, overcrowded,
understaffed hospital, with supplies of medical drugs and equipment
exhausted, besieged by a local epidemic of Malaria, Carine Koehler
Quant, my Princess, an extremely loved daughter, sister & friend to
many, lost her life to one of Africa's biggest killers…Cerebral Malaria.
On that day 3000 other Africans joined her… Mostly children .
every day since then in Africa & around the world people die from
this disease (and many others), and will continue to do so without our
is the one problem the international aid agencies, scientists and
medical experts who helped to establish the U.N and W.H.O goals to be
met by 2010 believe that with the correct attack this big problem can
be controlled to a manageable level allowing community health levels to
rise and to then reap the benefits of this… of which they are almost
immeasurable to Africa.
With HIV AIDS, wiping out the middle ages of the community, leaving behind the elderly and the young…
It’s here that a great problem lies.
the children that face the toughest fight to survive as they have no
immunity to the disease as their young bodies have not had the time to
build up the strength needed to fight thru Malaria. As they get older
and have survived a few times Malaria (luckily), the locals build a
mild resistance to Malaria. This by no way means they are safe, not for
a single minute.
It’s the children that are the future of Africa & the rest of the world.
being a westerner and never before having exposure to this disease,
reacted like a 5 year old African child does to Malaria, I , her
devoted husband, partner for life & great friend witnessed her life
being taken so easily.
It was an incredibly horrifying situation.
was in the prime of her life doing the thing she loved most, to travel
and meet with new people and cultures and doing this with the man she
adored. To say the least we were in paradise…
Carine was 32 years old.
lover of life and all its possibilities. A compassionate lady showing
the true spirit of human kindness and love for all who grace this
planet. She cried for the injustices happening around us all and wished
only good things to those in need of help… Especially the children and
animals who have no say in what happens to them. Carine's love of
Africa was growing and we were looking to involve ourselves in its
was our 2nd time in Africa. Carine spent 12 months travelling & I
12 months working in 2000. It was in Africa on an island paradise on
the upper Zambezi river near Livingstone Zambia - near Victoria Falls,
that we met and fell in love. Embarking on a journey thru life together
that would come full circle, leading us back to Africa.
that we departed Switzerland on our eagerly awaited trip, excited as to
what we would find together… 6 months discovering Africa and its people.
landed in Johannesburg South Africa Nov 11 and spent the next few days
sorting out our medical supplies, buying a few extra things, enjoying
restaurants and generally start making a plan, as we had not yet
decided where we were going exactly, we knew the countries that
interested us but were leaving things to unfold in front of us, as
Africa has a tendency to change at any minute.
headed south to Lesotho for 7 days or so, a mountain kingdom in Central
South Africa with friendly people and awesome scenic beauty. We enjoyed
walks and waterfalls and settling into our home for the next 6 months,
our tent. We had a few great mountain storms to test its water
proofness and wind, well that got tested in the Swiss Alps before we
left and passed with flying colors. It’s worth spending money on
quality equipment. We left Lesotho in search of a dentist back in S.A
as I had a tooth ache which needed attention; I got some temporary work
done hoping to get thru the next 5 1/2 months. Then to "Rustlers
Valley" back in S.A for 5 days, this place is well known for the great
music festivals they hold. Now they are moving into helping the locals
and others by providing knowledge about Medicinal Herbs and
Permaculture, cool people and spot.
with summer coming and the heat rising, the craving for the coast
,seafood, salt water & sand overwhelmed us and we headed to the
coast. Durban. We stayed out at the Bluff to enjoy the surf beaches and
to have close access to the city to try some of Durban's famous Indian
food. We moved north up the coast stopping off at different places
enjoying the beaches and St Lucia Wetlands World Heritage area. This
area is protected and is just a wonder of natural beauty and wildlife,
it must go high on anyone's list of places to see in S.A. Had a close
call with 3 leopards while lost in a private game reserve in St Lucia…
Never get out of the car in a game park, not even for a quick piss and
stretch, it could be your last. If Carine had of gone behind the first
bush she chose behind the car and not the one in front where she came
scrambling from when I yelled to her to get back to the car after
spotting them, she would have been right in their path, she would have
stood no chance to out run those cats. With us now safe inside the car
the show began. We watched as they lay down on the dirt road in the
late afternoon sun and enjoy a rest, right in front of us. Luck shined
on us that day.
with Christmas coming on we moved into Swaziland to get out of the way
of the mad rush to the coast by the S.A holiday makers.
change of atmosphere going from South Africa into Swaziland is just
incredible. From high tension between white and black and Indian to one
completely opposite. So opposite that it's truly unbelievable, that
Swaziland, which is completely surrounded by S.A didn't suffer the same
problems of racial hatred and discrimination.
One other thing that had also now changed. We were now in the 'Malaria Zone'.
Except for St Lucia and some parts of the upper north east coast and northern regions, S.A is malaria free.
the wet season approaching the danger increases of malaria and it now
became very important to cover up and sleep under nets or make sure
that the tent is clear of mosquitoes before sleeping. I now became the
hunter and would not rest until the tent was clear, Carine would not
take it as seriously as me sometimes calling me paranoid, leaving me to
finish the hunt. With only torch light to go by it could take 20
minutes or more to kill them all.
loved Swaziland so much, we hung out for 30 days (average tourist stays
1.5 days, they have no idea what they are missing), stayed in villages
made of grass, swam in rivers and under waterfalls, ate wonderful food
with friendly people, went to the kings Inkwala ceremony which is the
biggest traditional ceremony still preformed in Africa today.
Celebrated our 1 yr of being married with a night out to the best
restaurant in Mbabane the capital of Swaziland. With a French cook
providing magnificent food and when the management found out that we
were celebrating well the champagne flowed freely, finally we paid
nothing as they offered the night to us. We meet up with Tembo, a river
guide I worked with in 2000 and friend from Zambia for Christmas
dinner, yes he managed to eat more than his fair share of the Christmas
dinner and beers leaving some of us hungry, I should have remembered,
when Tembo cooks not as much makes the table as we started cooking with
and his plate is always the fullest. :-) We had a nice time and it's
great to see hard working Africans reaping the rewards for their
efforts. We had one of our best New Years ever at the 'House Of Fire'
an awesome entertainment venue with multiple stage and dance floors and
chill out areas on platforms set up in the trees and smoked the best in
Africa . We fell in love with the grass weaving of the region and spent
many days looking thru markets at the different styles and colors and
prices. We started looking at exporting it to Europe… Yeh we loved
Swaziland, its culture and people are truly beautiful, along with the
landscape. :-) !!!!!
On the 3rd Jan we went to Mozambique… spent 30 days there too…
boarders is always a strange experience, new people, language, culture,
money and rules lie on the other side. Now we faced Portuguese, a
language we were not conversant in, but had learned a few phrases,
especially Carine who was great at learning a new language and with her
spirit of adventure she was not afraid to try. Most of the time in
Mozambique when we had to deal with a camping ground or backpacker to
pitch our tent English was spoken, but in the markets and on the street
local language and Portuguese ruled.
is where the travelling started to get slow and difficult at times. Our
whole trip from the start was by public transport, except a few short
trips with other tourists in their hired cars, we took the cheapest
option most times which meant travelling in overcrowded mini vans or
buses for long periods in the intense heat and humidity. It's in these
situations that you meet the people of a country, not on a tourist bus
or organized tour, using what the locals use. They respect that and
treat you as an equal, not as a rich whitey tourist. Try to speak their
language and you will soon be making friends. The condition of the
roads in Mozambique was not good with many potholes and erosion and
damage from cyclones from past years still not repaired, it all added
to the adventure. As we travelled thru some areas the buildings still
show the scares of war with bullet holes in the walls and shells of
vehicles burnt out or blown up. Maputo thru to Zia Zia ,Toufu,
Bazzaruto Islands, wow what a coast line, white endless beaches. There
almost no tourists, it was very, very hot. Almost no rain and it was
meant to be the wet season, the whole region was slipping into drought
and although the food situation was ok they where in big trouble for
winter as many of the crops had failed from lack of rain. We would buy
cheap but great seafood from the local fisherman which we would BBQ on
an open fire with rice and onions and tomatoes. With the food problems
starting to show in the markets, onions and tomatoes were the only
fresh vegetables available but Mozambique is full of spices so with a
little imagination and trial and error we ate well, basic but well. We
swam with whale-sharks & dolphins and had the best snorkeling of
our life at Baz Islands which we sailed to in a local boat called a
'Dhow'. Again we loved the country but the people were harder and less
friendly although we still made friends it was harder. You have got to
expect that after what they have been thru over the last 50 years, wars
and suppression. Still we only got to see a portion of the country
mainly the lower south east coast as its so big and we are so slow…
hey, with hammocks on the beach and beaches to ourselves, seafood laid
on… who the hell needs speed :-)
With our visas about to expire we had to tear ourselves away from the coast and the prawns and head for Malawi.
very long days of travel later, 600 km approx, we arrived at the Moz /
Malawi boarder, tired, hungry and dirty. This was it. This was the
moment we had both been waiting for, for a very long time. Malawi. The
warm heart of Africa. The place we both didn't get to visit last time
round but had heard so much about and longed to experience its beauty.
No 1. Corrupt Boarder guards. On advice from the Malawi Embassy in
Maputo Moz. We went to the boarder without visas to enter. Me being
Australian had no problems to enter for free, Carine on the other hand
being Swiss would have to pay 20US$ for a 30 day visa. No problems.
Wrong, today the rules have changed and the boarder guard proceeded to
tell us that unless we, or Carine only, would have to travel back
almost 2,000km to Maputo to get a visa. No way that was happening, it
would take more than a week to do, and with a cyclone building off the
coast of Mozambique, no way were we going to get caught on the low
lands near the coast, on the only road to link North and South of the
country, we could get stuck there for months. After some arguing and
yelling he calmly stood there and rubbed his stomach telling us that it
would be good his family eat nice food tonight. Ahh. Now we understood
the problem. We were going nowhere fast unless we 'paid the piper'.
With no turning back possible as the Moz boarder 5km back up the road
was now shut for the day and our visas expired anyway, what do you
? He then asks us how much money we are carrying. We said we have no
money only credit card. He then said we will search you to see if you
tell the truth. Shit, if he does that then they will find the US$ we
had stashed away and that could be expensive, even trip ending. Carine
thinking quickly said but I do have 40 Swiss francs just here in my
travel wallet, well his greedy big eyes just glowed didn't they as he
saw Carine pull out 2 nice clean 20SF notes. Nice move Princess. With
our visas now stamped into our passports we picked up our packs and
walked outside exhausted, we looked at each other and laughed…. In
front of us was big sign saying 'Welcome to Malawi, The Warm Heart of
the 2nd of Feb, late, we entered Malawi… excited to say the least… we
went to Blantyre the capital 80kms away to plan our next 30 days or
more. It was now past midnight when we arrived in the city, not a good
time to be out in an African city you don't know. With 1 more little
drama for the day to deal with we were at our limit, we were now faced
with a taxi driver who told us he knew the place we wanted to go, but
was now doing circles and trying to rack up the meter. Well we noticed
that we went by the same place twice and when he finally turned down
the road to where we wanted to go it was just past where he picked us
up from. So we said nothing as we knew that it was the correct road now
from the address we had written down. He stopped and we got out with
our bags quickly with him telling us the price. I smiled and told him
calmly that I have been here many times and the boss of the place he
has dropped us at is a personal friend and when he finds out the way
you treated us you will have a problem. 'Oh its ok you just pay the
normal price' he said. We paid him a 10th of the first price he told
us. Now inside and wrecked we faced a tiny problem of no beds left so
we would have to pitch the tent, so in the dark we fumbled around until
we found a level spot, put the tent up, had a shower and slept for a
didn't know it when we arrived at the backpacker that the owner was an
old friend from Victoria Falls, he left there when the problems got too
big with the Government in Zimbabwe and started business in Malawi. He
told us he would be going to Lake Malawi where he runs a Dive School in
6 days. Perfect. That gave us time to go to Mt Mulanje, a 3,000m peak
that we had wanted to summit. We arrived at the town at the base of Mt
Mulanje and gathered together our food for the 4 days up the mountain
and found out that the locals provide a guide and porter service for
the walks. We had wanted to go just by ourselves, but with the tourist
numbers very low, many of the guides and porters hadn't worked for a
long time, and when they showed us in the walker register just how
little they had worked this year we were shocked. So we supported their
efforts to provide a service. We hired a guide (6 months no work) and a
porter (12 months no work). How do they survive ? The scenery was
spectacular, the walking now easy as we just carried some water, camera
and jacket in a small pack. The lads did the rest. The humidity of the
lower slopes faded away to fresh mountain air, cool streams and giant
cedar trees. We stayed in huts that the forestry dept look after and it
cost 1sf for the night. We didn't get to summit Mt Mulanje as we found
out before we left the village that the meaning of Mulanje (Sapitwa is
the local name) was ' do not come here' and the locals believe the
spirits live there. Mountain myths are strange but we believe you
should not go to sacred places just so you can say 'I’ve been there'.
We have been to where the guide said it was ok and enjoyed her beauty,
respectfully not going any further than that. We had the hut to
ourselves for 2 days and enjoyed the cool temperature, it was a big
shock to the system as we had just been in 35-40° C with high humidity,
now it was 20° C thru the day and 3-5° at night. Perfect. Carine
enjoyed swimming in cool mountain river holes, too cold for an Aussie,
but she loved it.
In the cool of the Mountains, unknowingly, we made love for the last time ........
last afternoon on Mt Mulanje we walked to the Northern edge of the
escarpment to look at the view north to Lake Malawi our next
destination and the biggest reason we came to Malawi. As we approached
the edge the weather changed dramatically and a big storm started to
build up. We waited a short time to see if the clouds would part. They
did for 5 minutes and with the sun behind the clouds it gave an eerie
feeling with the wind and rain. We left the edge and started back, it
took 1hr to get to the hut in the storm with small creeks now waist
high torrents it got very serious quickly. The next day we walked down,
said goodbye to our new friends who had been terrific and made our way
back to Blantyre to meet Glen & Nyhoko and catch a ride to Lake
the 9th Feb we left Blantyre riding in the back of the open back 4
wheel drive with 2 other travellers from Israel. Comfortable and wind
blowing in our faces this would be an easy 250km trip,3hrs we will be
at the lake. Yehaa. About 2/3s of the way there we passed a car going
the other way and the brakes went on hard, so did the other cars. Both
cars now in reverse. Stop. 'Hi mate how are you' bla bla, it was Glen’s
business partner he had not seen for 3 months due to different
projects, both have lived and worked for 20 odd years in Africa. We
spun around and headed straight to the nearest pub for a high powered
business meeting. 5hrs and a 100 beers and many awesome stories later
we were back on the road, Nyhoko now at the wheel as she doesn't drink.
lake here we come, we laid in the back watching the stars and wondering
where we are going as the road was getting worse and twisting and
winding thru the bush, we were now in Lake Malawi National Park almost
at Cape Maclear an incredibly beautiful spot we had heard so much about.
It was 10 or so when we arrived and the Lake didn’t disappoint us one little bit. A magical sight lay before our eyes.
clear star lit night with a new moon, a perfectly smooth water, white
sandy beaches and fishing boats with small lanterns floating on the
This paradise would be our home for the next 10 days.
Carine was at this stage infected or about to be infected with Malaria.
next days we swam, snorkeled, walked around the village and surrounds
meeting people, we had some young boys cooking breakfast on the beach
and an older guy who brought fresh fish from the lake and cooked it on
a small fire with rice and you guessed it, tomatoes and onions. We
slept in beds for the first time in months as everything in Malawi was
so cheap that our budget now allowed us to treat ourselves to a bed and
a room to spread out in. That was great as staying in the tent becomes
had found a young man who carved timber rings using Black Ebony. We had
found our wedding rings. When we married just over a year earlier we
didn’t have rings as we wanted something different, not just a gold
ring. This was one of our little missions we had for the trip… find our
wedding rings !! Over the following days we had the rings made and then
adjusted, this process would go on for the next 7 days with one of us
having a ring , the other not, then the reverse. We had dinner at
Glen’s house and went on the most wonderful dive with him. Lake Malawi
is one of the lakes that provide the world with Aquarium fish, yes the
little fish in your home fish tank. Now this lake is just like being in
a fish aquarium… Just so beautiful and with the clearest water.
Tuesday night the 15th Feb Carine said she felt a bit sick. I asked her
how she felt, we thought it was food related sick. The next day we had
planed a kayak trip to the islands for the day to go snorkeling and
watch the local sea eagles feed. She said she would see how she felt in
next morning she said she still felt a bit funny but would be ok to
paddle to the island and go snorkeling. I didn’t question her judgment
of how she felt, I didn’t ask anymore questions, wish I had. We had a
superb day together. Carine spent so much time in the water I thought
she would turn into a fish.
I remember her saying she felt better when she was in the water.
Of course she did, she was in the early stages of malaria and the cool water was keeping her fever down.
We finished the day with a beautiful sunset, cool cokes and one of Boris's great pizzas.
It’s from here on that things start turning bad for both of us.
17th Feb. I woke up to find that Carine didn’t have a good night. She
was now sweating and starting to feel weak. She had vomited 1 time thru
the night, and had mild Diarrhea. Carine after a swim to cool down
found the strength and we walked almost 1 km to the local hospital
where she saw a doctor. I could hear her in the room laughing with the
doctors and thought to myself things must be ok. My greatest fear was
realized when she came out and said the doctors think I have Malaria.
They diagnosed Malaria by symptoms as they had no blood tests left.
They prescribed her Quinine at 600mg per day for 5-7 days, Paracetamol
to control the fever. And Brufen for me if the pain in my tooth gets
We walked back and sat on the bed together and discussed what we should do.
were carrying in our medical kit the best drug on the planet for
Malaria. Coartem. When we landed in Johannesburg S.A it was at the top
of our list of things to buy before we left. I eventually found a
Doctor that would prescribe the drug without actually having the
disease. And 2 blood tests which would only tell you that you are
pos/neg but not what strain of the virus that’s infected you, good for
when you’re not close to a hospital.
talked about the situation and decided not to take the Coartem as we
were satisfied with the diagnosis of Malaria and the prescription of
Quinine as satisfactory for the treatment. We decided to keep the
Coartem for when we where not able to get medical help quickly as we
planned to go further away from the cities and big towns in the south
to the more remote north of the country.
crucial thing happened that day at the hospital, something that we were
unaware of its importance. Not to have a blood test that tells you what
strain you are infected with. Knowing what I know now, and I’ve learnt
a lot, we would have got to a place for that test, even if it meant
sitting on a overcrowded bus for ten hours. Whatever it took. Hell my
princess was sick, I would have done anything for her.
had a time bomb inside her just waiting to go off. She was infected
with the worst strain. Cerebral Malaria. This strain grows in the
kidney then moves to the spinal column and then goes up to the brain
finally cooking it. Quinine being ineffective for the treatment.
Friday morning we discussed whether or not to travel to the next big
city for 2 reasons. 1) my tooth was hurting a lot now and needed
treatment, 2) for Carine to be close to hospital. As Carine’s strength
was dropping we decided not to go now but we would wait for her to
recover then we would get my tooth fixed. I understood she was weak and
didn’t feel like sitting in a hot bus. It was better to stay close to
the lake for the cool water.
showed amazing strength over the next days. She was sleeping and
sweating a lot, was not vomiting, still had a mild diarrhea but not as
bad as other people I had seen with Malaria. She was getting up and
going to the toilet and showers which where 50 meters away across a hot
court yard or for a swim 40 meters away, unassisted. I was really only
helping to keep her towels wet and to walk to the well to get her more
water to drink and to make sure the pills were taken, but she was on
the job for the pills.
I was not looking at a typical Malaria patient, far from it.
Saturday afternoon our ring carver showed up with the final finished
ring of Carine, he had done a good job, I paid him the last amount and
raced back to Carine who was asleep. I lay down next to her and she
woke up. She asked why I was so happy and without answering her she
gave a little happy shriek knowing that I had her ring. I put the ring
on her finger and we then renewed our vows to each other. Carine and I
were so happy to finally have these rings, we cuddled and kissed and
looked at the rings on our fingers thinking it had been worth the wait
to find them and that now we felt married.
I could not have imagined, not even in my worst nightmare, that in 24 hrs I would be taking that ring from her finger.
Sunday 20th Feb
The worst day of my life
were awake around 8 am and went for a swim together. Carine was looking
ok considering she was now 5 days into the sickness and entering the
4th day of treatment. At 9am she asked for some food. Great news when a
sick person asks for food it usually means that they are feeling better
and on the recovery. I asked Boris what we could feed her and he said
porridge and he made her a bowl. She ate it no problems. She then said
she felt weak and would have a sleep. I had put a mattress on an
outside bed under the shade of a grass roof and with a nice breeze
blowing to cool us she lay down to sleep. I sat beside her reading a
book and chewing cloves to numb the pain of my tooth.
It was now 10am.
3 hrs I sat there reading with a feeling that my princess was going to
be alright and soon we will be able to move to deal with this tooth of
1 pm or so Carine's eyes opened, her head was tilted back and jaw
clenched tight and was sucking air hard thru her teeth. The rest of her
body was in seizure and in a contorted state. Her head was on fire, it
was so hot to touch. The bomb had exploded inside her head and was now
working to shut down her vital organs.
Carine was in a coma.
jumped up in shock of what I saw before me and asked Carine what was
wrong, no reply, quickly I understood we had a very serious problem. I
screamed for Boris and he came running. He took one look at Carine and
we quickly sorted out what needed to be done he said for me to go find
a car as his was out of fuel. The only other car I could think of was
Glen’s, 1.5 km up the beach. Boris called Glen. I started to run
towards the beach to get there, as I got to the beach Boris's brother
arrived in a speed boat. He took me to Glen’s place and as I arrived to
the beach Glen and Nyhoko met me with the car and some drugs to inject
Carine with and a mobile phone. A medical student doing a dive with
Glen that day offered to come with me and take a look at Carine. The
student and I jumped into the car and took off. She injected Carine and
confirmed that we have a serious problem. Glen told us that if the
drugs are going to work you will see a difference in 10 minutes. I
looked at my watch. 1.50pm. I asked Boris if the small hospital we went
to earlier in the week was open, he said no its Sunday it’s best we go
to Monkey Bay. I felt the situation to be too bad to wait any longer
and together we all lifted her on the mattress she lay on into the back
of the open back 4 wheel drive. Boris offered to ride in the back and
protect her from rolling around and keep her towel wet, as I wanted to
drive to make sure we got there as quick as possible. We had about 30
km to do. 20 of it rough dirt road. 10 rough tar. On the way out of
town we dropped off the medical student and met Glen. Glen has had
Malaria 15 times and Nyhoko 13, the last time she too was in Carine's
condition and spent 4 days in a coma in intensive care in S.A after
being airlifted out of Blantyre 250 km south of where we were right
now. A medical air evacuation plane will not take off from S.A until
30,000 US$ is deposited into their bank account. It would take us about
3 hrs to drive to Blantyre to meet it and being Sunday God knows how
long to organize the money. He took one look at Carine and from the
look in his eyes and the tone of his voice I knew that we were in a
very grave situation now. I drove like a man possessed. We stopped once
to wet the towels from a creek and for me to check Carine’s condition.
arrived at Monkey Bay Hospital at about 2.30pm and had to wait 15
minutes for the doctor to get there. He checked Carine and told me that
he did not have the drugs she needed nor an oxygen machine and that we
should move to Mangoche Hospital 90 km to the south. He also told me
the general area was experiencing an outbreak of Malaria. Fuck , I knew
Africa and knew that this is common for the hospitals to run out of
drugs. We put Carine in the hospital’s ambulance. The ambulance was the
same type of 4 wheel drive Toyota Landcruiser that we drove in to
Monkey Bay except the back was now covered. Inside was empty except for
two long bench seats, one down each side and an extra spare wheel lying
on the floor. I tied the bench seats up flat against the sides and
moved the spare tire a bit. We lay Carine on the mattress we took from
Boris's place and put her inside and we got in with her. The hospital
driver took over driving.
was now just on 3pm and although the road got a bit better the
afternoon crowds of people walking home along the road slowed us
considerably and on one big bump the strap holding one of the seats
broke so I had to hold it up with my knee while I looked after Carine.
On the way Carine stopped breathing twice for about 10 seconds or so,
each time I yelled to her to keep fighting and keep breathing and as I
was about to start mouth to mouth resuscitation, she half closed her
eyes and drew breath again. Boris spent the trip trying to call a
helicopter pilot he knew that might be able to fly her to Blantyre and
Glen to find out how he was going at what he was trying to achieve,
that was to contact Airmedivac and have them on standby, the travel
insurance company Emergency Assistance and Carine's parents.
For Africa things were happening fast, for Carine, not fast enough.
The driver did a good job of getting there without causing any more problems, this one was enough.
was now 4.30 pm and we were in the emergency room in Mangoche Hospital.
The doctor had her on a saline drip with intravenous malaria drugs
quickly but then he said to me we have no fever breaking drugs left or
oxygen or any of the support that she desperately needed. The new
ambulance that had been donated to the hospital had been emptied of
most of its equipment by thieves so there was no way now to move her
and give the support needed but we continued to come up with a plan.
Glen was now organizing breathing oxygen from his dive shop and Boris
was on his way back to get the car and meet him. With that we may be
able to move her. The helicopter pilot could not be reached and the
Medivac process was stalled while Glen tried to find our details of
insurance and Carine's parents number.
only thing I could do was stay there and try my best to keep her
temperature down and work with the doctors, all the time I was asking
questions trying everything to help her.
Carine's condition was worsening, her temp was now almost 43°c and she was really struggling to breathe.
5.30 pm she seamed to be responding to the drugs and her body released
from the seizure and she started to breathe a little easier. A suction
tube was now down her throat to help clear the lungs of mucus that she
was expelling. I continued to wipe her down and keep her head covered
with cool towels.
next hour and a half Carine's condition remained the same the only
thing that changed was her temperature was now just over 43.5°c.
spoke with Glen and he told me they have a problem with the car but
will have it fixed and will be on the road soon. He told me that he has
contacted Bruno, Carine's dad and that things were now moving on that
Bruno called me and I explained the urgency of the situation we now faced.
approximately 7.15 pm Carine's breathing slowed dramatically and the
tube in her throat was filling with dark colored fluid. I called for
the doctors, while they where coming I started to clear her mouth of
the mucus which was now flowing out. The doctors arrived 5 minutes
later. Carine’s color of her skin was darkening and her breathing now
Then Carine stopped breathing.
With the amount of mucus and dark fluid it meant the doctors would not do mouth to mouth resuscitation.
immediately started mouth to mouth resuscitation. For several minutes I
worked, the doctors found a face mask with a hand pump and after I
vomited from the taste of the mucus they were using that when I got
back to her.
Then Carine's heart stopped beating.
The doctors started cardiac massage while I took over mouth to mouth.
doctor injected adrenaline and after a minute the heart started again
but no breathing. I continued for another couple of minutes with mouth
to mouth and the face mask.
Then Carine's heart stopped again.
worked for another 3-4 minutes until when one of the doctors said to me
its no good, we have lost her, I urged him to continue but the look on
his face told me what I didn’t want to accept, the end.
At approx 7.30 pm Carine's time had come, she had lost the fight, she was now an angel.
doctors left the room and I was now alone with Carine. I was in a state
of anguish, shock, confusion. Carine's brother called and I told him
the sad news. I called Glen. Next I wiped her down and cleaned her up
and sat on the bed holding my princess talking to her, crying
uncontrollably. Carine was in her swimmers and a sarong.
I walked out of the room into the corridor to refocus.
sight that lay before me was unforgettable. In the ward were a 1000
eyes staring back at me in the dim light with the same desperation as I
felt right then, in them. Maybe they were next, the white man and all
his money and power had just lost his wife to Malaria, they knew it,
word travels fast, they were scared too, each one fighting a battle
against the odds and almost powerless to do anything about it. I turned
and started to move when again I stopped and down each side of the
corridor were people, it looked like a war hospital, sick children
everywhere, but almost no noise or crying, just silent suffering.
Overwhelmed I went back to the room with Carine, as I entered the room
two big rats ran across the floor. I sat on the bed holding her hand
and stared in disbelief at Carine, I lay down next to her and cried. I
started to remove her jewellery as I knew that if it stayed on her it
would disappear. The last piece I took from her finger, her wedding
ring and placed it on my small finger on my left hand.
I went numb.
about 8.45pm Glen arrived. He came into the room, I got up and he held
me. He then saw that although I was extremely upset, I was somehow
still in control, 'brother' he said 'the problems won’t stop here, you
got to stay strong and focus now on getting Carine home.' He looked at
Carine and said 'you’ve done a good job cleaning her up now step
outside and get some air I'll talk to the doctors'.
I made sure she was covered with her sarong, I kissed her one last time and left the room.
the hall stood Carl, a French Canadian, he and his brother Norbert had
been diving with Glen that day and they heard about what was happening,
French being their mother tongue they thought I would need help for
translations of what was happening to Carine's family back home and the
insurance company. They were right. That day they willingly stepped
into a living hell, with their hearts wide open, showing the true
spirit of human kindness. They stopped their travel for 5 days to help
Carine and I get home. Glen, Nyhoko and Boris also willingly, with open
hearts helped in every way possible. These beautiful humans (and many
more) gave me the strength for what lay ahead.
With Carine now in the morgue, we faced a long, silent most times, drive back to Cape Maclear.
We started to talk about what needed to happen now.
bang, bang. The car shook violently and Glen stopped as quick as
possible. Earlier Glen and Boris had the same problem. The disk brake
calliper had vibrated loose, with 1 bolt left to hold it, we tightened
it back up and continued on our way.
night we talked and talked asking questions, and figuring what to do
next. After taking some sedatives I slept for about an hour then got up
and started to repair the 4 wheel drive. Glen took bolts from a spare
car and I got under the 4wd to get it fixed as we now had to drive back
to Mangoche hospital to get Carine's body and move her to Blantyre.
Thru the night Mangoche lost electric power supply causing the morgue to warm up and Carine's body needed to be stored properly.
arrived at around 9 am and the sight of the Hospital in the daylight
was yet another sight I will never forget. The building is almost the
size of a football field sitting on grounds about 4 soccer fields in
size. There must have been around 3000 people around the grounds with
God knows how many inside. Families camped all over. Under the trees
were more sick people who could not fit inside. Glen went inside to
find the doctor and get the paper work happening. As I moved around the
grounds people where coming to me and offering their condolences, many
not saying anything but holding their hands on their hearts. I replied
the same, wishing them all the best. I instinctively started moving
towards a building that no one was standing near, as I got near I
realized why, it’s the morgue. I went to the door and it was open a bit
so I could see inside, Carine lay there wrapped in a blanket, I didn’t
go in but noticed ants running all over the blanket. I turned and
quickly went to find Glen, he was with the doctor and I told him what I
just saw. We organized the ambulance not waiting for the paper work and
permission to move her to come thru. I went into the morgue with 3
other people and we lifted Carine out of there and into the back of the
ambulance, I jumped into the back with Carine and we left for Blantyre,
it was 10 am. Glen and Carl stayed at the hospital to get the papers
and then would follow me.
trip was hot and slow, over 3hours to do 190 km. On the way I just sat
there on the spare wheel with Carine and cleaned off the ants. Many
times breaking down and crying.
arrived at the University hospital which had the best morgue in the
city and the only one that could embalm her and cold store her
properly. We moved her inside. Glen and Carl arrived soon after and we
went to Glen’s Backpacker Lodge he owned to stay the night. Early the
next morning we made our way back to Cape Maclear.
rest of Tuesday Carl and Glen dealt with the insurance company and the
morgue and French speaking family and friends that were now calling as
the news spread, I dealt with the English family and friends. On
Tuesday evening I felt strange, my temperature was 38.5, without
hesitation I commenced a course of Coartem, at the same time I was now
on antibiotics and pain killers for my tooth.
Wednesday morning I found the courage to go back to the clinic at Cape
Maclear and talk with the doctors who diagnosed her, as I had some
questions. They spoke openly about the consultation with Carine
agreeing that her condition didn’t seem that bad, mainly because of her
strength and the fact she was laughing and joking with them. We
discussed what should be done in the future with white travellers when
diagnosed with Malaria, especially without a blood test. They must be
advised to get out to a major city quickly while they have the strength
to move and get a blood test.
as I moved around the village people were coming to me to offer their
words of love, strength and condolences. It was truly overwhelming at
times to see their sadness for me and Carine's family.
evening as the sun was getting low I made my way to the Lake for a swim
and found myself to be alone for the first time. Except Glen, Nyhoko,
Carl and Norbert sitting quietly having a drink at a bar just down the
beach there was no one around this part of the beach, no beach boys
trying to sell me something or offering to cook dinner. For some reason
I don’t know, they gave me some space. Thank you. The water was glass
smooth and I dived in and swam out 80m to the last moored fishing boat
and hung onto the anchor rope at the front and just floated there
crying and watching a beautiful African sunset on Lake Malawi.
A most surreal moment.
morning I said goodbye to Boris, you will never be forgotten for your
help that day my friend and the staff of Fat Monkey's Backpacker. We
made our way back to Blantyre as preparations for Carine's and my
departure were still being hammered out. Carl, a film director, showed
all the diplomatic phone skills and was dealing with a very frustrating
situation that kept going around in circles between the morgue, plane
companies and the insurance company in Germany. Glen was using his 20
years of experience dealing with the African System to make things
happen. Together they were awesome.
I at this stage was ready to explode at the situation, the next call from the insurance company, I took.
at no stage of the process did the Swiss Embassy call us to find out if
they could help with any aspect of the situation, although they had
full knowledge of Carine's death. Your silence was heard very loudly
indeed. If it was me dead and Carine alive, I know that the Australian
Embassy would have stepped up to the plate and helped her in any way
possible to get me home to OZ, to my family and friends where I could
be laid to rest. We did the job for you, I'm not going to pat myself on
the back, but I am going to call you PATHETIC AND USELESS and not worth
the money your citizens PAY for you. You need to look at yourselves
real close and ask some questions as to how you seem to repeat these
unacceptable mistakes. This is not the first time I’ve heard this story
about you, WAKE UP. I know I acted correctly that’s why I sleep at
night. How do you sleep ?
around 11am Glen dropped me at the morgue to deal with the dressing and
preparation of Carine for the trip home. Carine's father Bruno had
requested to see his daughter one last time, so that meant an open
coffin. The morgue did only basic services as most Africans are buried
quickly and without much preparation, only the rich can afford that. I
entered the morgue and Maggie, Dept Head and another staff member
brought Carine to the preparation area. I was about to do the hardest
thing I’ve ever done, dress Carine's frozen body. They left me saying
they are just outside waiting to help me to put on her dress, I had
chosen the one she had brought in Rustlers Valley S.A, the one she
looked absolutely beautiful in while we were travelling, the one she
wore for our Anniversary in Swaziland and romantic dinners on the beach
at Lake Malawi.
I stood contemplating what I was about to do.
somehow moved over to her and commenced to brush her hair and found
myself talking to her, natural I suppose, her body was so cold, the
situation overwhelmed me again and I walked out. I spoke with Maggie
and she said she would do her best. I went outside to breathe and
regain my composure. I was sitting crying when a big African lady sat
down beside me and placed her arm around my shoulder and asked me
what's wrong. I told her. She then spoke back with such strength and
wisdom and she gave me the energy to continue, at the end she said
'your wife needs you to be strong, her family need you to be strong,
you are strong you are a man its your duty'. As she left me I felt a
power rise inside of me. Was she an angel. I don’t believe in God so to
speak but have always believed that there is a greater power or
something out there. I walked, no, floated it felt, back inside to find
that Maggie, bless her heart, had put lipstick on Carine's lips and put
the dress on backwards. I said to Maggie very calmly' its wrong Maggie,
Carine does not wear makeup and the dress is on backwards, we must
change this as it doesn't look right' she apologized so much, I told
her 'its alright we can fix it'. I got up on the table standing above
Carine, lifting and rolling her and together we turned the dress
around. Maggie apologized again and again I told her not to worry. She
found some tissues and removed the lipstick. I then said to them that I
will be alright to do the rest. They left. This time I was able to do
what I had to do. With her hair brushed and some of her jewellery back
on, Carine was now ready to be placed into the coffin. I went to find
Maggie and as I walked out, there stood Carl with his eyes wide open
looking at me, I didn’t quite notice him, but he said later that for
someone doing what he thought I was doing, I looked incredibly serene
and together, I felt it. With Maggie and the staff member we placed
Carine into the coffin, I did the final touches and we put the lid on.
Maggie and the other staff member started to seal the coffin
hermetically, I went outside and smoked a cigarette with Carl. He asked
if I'm ok.
Amazing the answer was 'yes, she's ready to go home'.
rest of the day we spent still organizing the final details, I had to
pay for my plane ticket and pay a bill to the morgue and several
others. For a cheap country things just got really expensive.
night I ate with Glen, Nyhoko, Carl and Norbert, we had some drinks at
the bar, a gentleman approached me and introduced himself. I can’t
remember his name but he told me that if I have any problems tomorrow
to call him on his private line and he will sort it out. He said 'I
understand you have problems with the airline, this area my family is
very powerful in' he offered his condolences, urged me to call if
things were not right' and left. My friends were tired and went to bed
and so was I but I was to anxious to sleep and stayed talking to Mike
and Tara, Carine and I met them in the first week in Johannesburg
staying at the same backpacker, we had discussed travelling together or
meeting up later, we missed them once by a day and now here I was
delivering the sad news, they were truly shocked. We spoke for hours, I
told them the names of the drugs they needed to get their hot little
hands on before they leave Blantyre. We finally got tired, had smoked
all the cigarettes, we said Goodbye.
I didn’t sleep, just rested on the bed.
were booked to fly out at 11.45am, by 9am we were at the morgue to
escort Carine's coffin to the airport. There was a problem, we still
had no confirmation on the next leg, at the moment we could fly to
Jo’burg S.A but no connection from there confirmed. By 10am I made the
decision to leave the morgue and go to the airport. On the way we got
confirmation on the leg to London. We arrived around 10.45 am and
booked Carine into the Cargo Dept. I waited nervously with Carine while
the others took care of our baggage and booked me in.
11.35 am I was asked by the cargo Head what I wanted to do. With no
confirmation yet of the final leg I said to load Carine and I will deal
with it as I go. It must have been 45° - 50° Celsius in that Cargo shed
I didn’t want her to stay there any longer, at least London would be
colder with the facilities to store Carine properly.
said a tear full Goodbye to Glen & Nyhoko, Carl and Norbert and
Dougel the dog. Thanking them from the bottom of my heart for what they
plane that was now waiting for me and Carine was now being loaded I
could see. Once on board I saw a hostess and asked to make a call. She
organised it and soon I was talking to the man I met the night before,
he told me he has been watching the games being played on the computer
in regards to the confirming of my flights and had already made a call
and for me to relax, you’re on the way they wont stop you now, you will
pass straight thru customs in S.A to a first class lounge, if you have
any problems call this number, I wrote it down, thanked him, he said it
was no problem and was glad to help. My mind relaxed a bit on that
flight. We were going home.
leg from S.A to London was a blur, I didn’t sleep. I sat next to a
lovely lady about Carine's age who was the perfect travelling partner,
I told her my situation, she understood and we got on well, she helped
me when I arrived at Heathrow, I was running out of steam.
In London I checked with the airline that Carine was taken care of but would not be going onto
until Monday as there is a hold up with customs in London, they assured
me that she was being taken care of properly. With that I could do no
more than continue on to Geneva. My mother and brother were landing in
Heathrow from Australia, I got my flight changed to be on the same
flight as them to Geneva.
We met in the lounge and it was a tearful, sad reunion.
We landed in Switzerland and were met by family and friends.
Later that night we gathered together and I told them what happened as they were still in the dark about many things.
Carine arrived on Monday and lay in state for 2 days at St Martins church, Vevey.
Wednesday 3rd of March Carine's funeral was attended by approx 300
family and friends, she was truly loved and will be dearly missed.
May you rest in peace my Princess and thank you for the best years of my life, I love you & will miss you immensely.
Merci Murray pour ton témoignage
Constantin, Directeur Artistique, est mort du paludisme
|Thanks to Lucy
Elkins for her article
commentaires en ligne des nombreux cas de neuropaludisme partis sans
prophylaxie malheureusement trop souvent décédés.
Read the 97 online
comments of numerous cases of neuropaludism left without prophylaxis
unfortunately too often died.
ALWAYS TAKE YOUR ANTI-MALARIAL PILLS. A good African friend of mine was
lecturing at an American university for 2 years before relocating back
to East Africa recently. He took anti-malarial pills and yet he still
got sick from the illness; luckily he was treated in time. Now, if an
indigenous individual from those tropical parts of the world can catch
malaria despite taking pills to circumvent it, what makes a Westerner
think they can go there unprotected? A sad story nonetheless. I hope a
lot of people learn diligently from this unfortunate death...
- elley, colchester, uk, 1/6/2010 23:13
Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/health/article-1282967/Malaria-Mattie-Cooper-died-taking-anti-malaria-drugs.html#ixzz1kaR4QbDQ
ou ça Any loss of life that could be prevented is sad, made more so
when it is a young life full of dreams. As a parent of a soon to be 17
year old who will be travelling to Malawi in July & Kenya in
October. I have filled out a travel risk assessment form from our local
medical unit & will be taking professional advice on all vaccines
& medication recommended. Sometimes you have to have experienced
such a loss to take action! My Father travelled to Africa,middle east
for over 10 years. He suffered malaria several times and thought he was
immune. Then worked in Ghana for several years retired December 1999.
Returned home after a few days felt unwell flu like symptoms, his wife
decided to leave him to get better did not seek medical assistance. My
Father was taken by my brother into walk in centre on Christmas night,
he was taken to high dependancy ward later intensive care. Falciparum
malaria unfortunately he was taken in too late! He died a very painful
death 4th Jan 2000. Miss him loads.
- Tibs, Leicestershire, 1/6/2010 19:58
Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/health/article-1282967/Malaria-Mattie-Cooper-died-taking-anti-malaria-drugs.html#ixzz1kaRQQ3n9
My heart goes out to this family as it is such a pointless and
preventable death. My dad died in 1996 also from malaria. He hadn't
taken the malaria pills as he thought from all the time he served in
the navy and the countries he travelled in, he was safe as he had never
caught anything before. Within 2 weeks of returning from Kenya he was
gone. It is so sad to think that people are still dying in this day and
age due to ignorance or that they won't pay out abit extra money for
the pills. This isn't a nice thing to die from and 14 yrs later I still
have the image of my big strong, stubborn, 'he who knows best' dad
lying in the hospital in an induced coma with wires and tubes coming
out of everywhere and never waking up and never being able to say
goodbye to him.
- Ange, England, 1/6/2010 19:27
Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/health/article-1282967/Malaria-Mattie-Cooper-died-taking-anti-malaria-drugs.html#ixzz1kaRXuXfv
A friend I went to school with dies in similar circumstances a few
years back, collapsing at home after returning from travelling. He had
been in the Far East, in an area where malaria was not prevalent &
then took a trip to an different area and was bitten, unknowingly
catching malaria. He was so young, it is a tragedy and almost
completely avoidable. What this woman is doing in raising awareness is
- Clare, UK, 1/6/2010 18:54
Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/health/article-1282967/Malaria-Mattie-Cooper-died-taking-anti-malaria-drugs.html#ixzz1kaRk4qN6
The same thing happened to a former classmate of mine - except I
believe she did start taking the treatment but stopped because it made
her ill - and unfortunately she also died of malaria, in her early 20s.
People should realise that this treatment is not optional...
- Ms MG, Paris, France, 1/6/2010 18:29
Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/health/article-1282967/Malaria-Mattie-Cooper-died-taking-anti-malaria-drugs.html#ixzz1kaRrnh6f
T é m o i g n a g e s :
Je vous remercie de bien vouloir m'écouter. Voilà cela
c'est passé au mois de janvier mon mari s'appelle Marc .Il
travaillé à l'étranger en plate forme
pétrolière ou à terre .Depuis le mois de
Décembre il se trouvé au congo à terre Vers
le 19 janvier il est rentré à la maison et une semaine
après il a commencé à etre fatigué de la
fièvre le surlendemain il aété chez le
medecin il est revenu à la maison en me disant que cela
été la grippe c'était le mardi le jeudi il
retourne le revoir il était encore mal le docteur lui donne
encore un traitement en lui disant que cela été encore la
grippe nous n'avons jamais pensé que cela pouvez etre le palu
pourtant on en parlé à la maison.Le jeudi après
midi je rentre du travail et je vois que marc est de plus en plus mal
enflé les yeux jaunes du mal à respirer.J'appelle les
pompiers en leurs disant que je trouvé mon mari pas trop bien et
que j'aurais bien aimé qu'il aille à l'hopital ils n'ont
pas voulu venir et me demande de l'emmener chez notre médecin
nous sommes allés. le médecin a fait une lettre mais ne
voyait pas qu'il était mal.Nous voilà parti je
n'étais pas tranquillle en voiture .Arrivé aux urgences
nous avons a peu près attendu un quart d'heure .un moment
àprès il vient me chercher et me dit qu'il a le
paludisme.Il l'on mis sous quinine hoxygène et ils cherchaient
un hopital pour le transferer en réanimation en soins intensif
nous avons attendu 3 heures avant que le samu vienne et finalment il a
été transfere sur l'hopital d'avignon.Le lendemain a midi
j'ai eu le droit d'aller le voir il était faible je lui ai
donné à manger un moment àpres nous sommes partis
avec mes deux enfants nous sommes revenus à 18 heures aux heures
de visite et là le cauchemar a commencé marc avait eu des
convulsions je me demande pourquoi on nous a laissé rentrer dans
sa chambre vu dans l'état qu'il était en ayant eu peur
ils nous on fait sortir et voilà un moment après
intubation il l'on plongé dans le comamais après il est
tombé dans le coma et voilà une parasitémie
à 25%.comme vous le savez ça attaqué le foie les
reins oedeme au cerveau dans le corps .il s'est retrouvé
dialisé .transfusé.la totale 46 jours de
réa.Maintenant au niveau santé tout va bien .Mais voila
il y a qu'une jambe qui bouge le haut du corps les bras très peu
il est prisonnié de son corps la déglutition c'est
difficile il a les muscles contractés .maintenant moins. la
machoire est contractée on arrive meme pas à passer une
cuillere.Il est toujours en unitée d'éveil mais il va
falloir qu'il aille ailleurs .Il me proposait un centre de vie
familiales retour à la maison mais je ne suis pas d'accord il
faut qu'il aille dans un centre de réducation neurologique on va
se battre il a 51 ans quand on lui parle on arrive à le faire
pleuré il a des émotions quand on blague il rigole on
pense qu'il comprend beaucoup de chose mais il n'arrive pas ni par des
gestes ou clignement des yeux Marc est bien éveillé par
moments il est lointain mais il sait bien écouter il faut faire
attention il regarde bien de partout .Nous habitons la drome nous
sommes à peu près a 50 km d'avignon.qu'est ce que vous en
pensez de tous cela faut il allé dans un grand centre mais ou je
me sens perdu.
En attente d'une réponse à bientot nathalie .
(31 octoblre 2011)
Je trouve ton message après une journée de travail, je suis occupé au
montage d'un film que j'ai tourné en juin, dans la Chartreuse, et qui
s'est on ne peut mieux passé. Depuis "la maladie", déclarée chez moi
début février 2009 après un séjour au Cameroun pour le tournage d'un
autre film (puisque tu as vu mon blog, tu sais sans doute quelles sont
mes activités). Je m'étais fait piquer plein de fois, le tournage
s'étant déroulé dans les bas-fonds, très humides et infestés et je
n'avais pas apporté la garde-robe adéquate : j'avais des shorts, des
J'étais à ce moment-là fragile, parce que fatigué après une année 2008
très chargée, et j'étais rentré deux jours avant le départ pour Yaoundé
d'un autre tournage au Liban, sur le camp de Palestiniens réfugiés,
Chatila de sinistre mémoire après les massacres très connus de 1982.
Après mon retour en France, et après
avoir continué à prendre durant une semaine (mais j'ai appris bien plus
tard que j'aurais dû en prendre pendant au moins trois semaines après
le retour) le médicament préventif que je suis habitué à prendre à
chacun de mes séjours en Afrique Subsaharienne, la Doxycycline, j'ai eu
des coups de fatigue imprévisibles, puis des pertes d'attention.
J'étais rentré chez moi à Marseille où j'habitais alors, m'étais livré
à mes activités habituelles sans plus de difficultés que celles que
j'attribuais à ma fatigue accumulée, avant de me rendre à Cannes pour
entreprendre avec mon ami G, monteur, le commencement du montage de ce
film camerounais (sur la souveraineté alimentaire). Et c'est là que la
fatigue s'est transformée, absences plus fréquentes, baisse de mon
acuité intellectuelle, grande faiblesse généralisée... Mon ami chez qui
je résidais et travaillais m'a alors conseillé d'aller consulter son
médecin de famille, pas loin de chez lui. J'ai pris rendez-vous et m'y
suis rendu le lendemain. J'ai raconté ma petite histoire, ma grande
fatigue, ai mentionné que j'étais rentré récemment d'un séjour en
Afrique... et cette praticienne a diagnostiqué, après m'avoir ausculté,
puis pris ma tension, ...une grippe ! Je la cite de mémoire : "Oui,
c'est une grippe, tout le monde a la grippe en ce moment" et elle m'a
prescrit de l'aspirine et de la vitamine C.
Quelques jours après, je suis rentré à Marseille où d'autres activités
m'attendaient, notamment participer à une réunion d'information sur le
voyage que j'avais fait au Cameroun en compagnie d'un couple de paysans
français. Je devais filmer avec G cette réunion à laquelle j'avais
invité une amie, spécialiste notamment des questions d'alimentation
dans le monde, S G. J'avais décliné la veille au dernier moment
l'invitation d'un amie très proche qui fêtait ses 50 ans, j'avais même
oublié où cette fête devait se passer (dans une salle louée, loin de
chez elle, et sur le tard je suis allé sonner à sa porte, à très peu de
distance de chez moi, où j'ai donc évidemment trouvé porte close.
Durant la réunion, j'avais demandé à G de prendre la caméra, car je ne
m'en sentais pas capable. Pourtant, au cours de la réunion, je me suis
levé et ai pris la parole, peu de temps mais énergiquement malgré tout.
Le lendemain, après avoir partagé un petit déjeuner avec mon amie S à
l'hôtel que j'avais réservé pour elle, je l'ai raccompagnée à
l'aéroport en voiture, elle rentrait chez elle à Paris. J'avais encore
des passages à vide, pas tout le temps, mais je les attribuais toujours
à la fatigue, en pestant de ne pas parvenir à m'en remettre.
Deux jours plus tard, dont je n'ai pas gardé beaucoup de souvenirs
sinon celui que c'est à ce moment qu'est intervenue la douloureuse et
brutale conclusion d'une histoire amoureuse difficile, je suis parti à
Paris où je devais notamment rencontrer deux personnes d'une ONG qui
avait financé mon voyage au Cameroun. En arrivant dans leur bureau, je
les ai prévenues de ma fatigue... et ce qu'il me reste comme souvenir,
c'est que j'ai été incohérent, suscitant la surprise de mes
interlocutrices, puis que je me suis excusé et suis parti sans demander
mon reste. En sortant de l'immeuble, je ne savais plus où je devais
aller, où était le métro, plus rien. J'ai eu la chance de trouver un
taxi, j'ai pu indiquer au chauffeur l'adresse de l'hôtel ou j'avais
pris une chambre, près de la République, et là, je me suis couché, puis
endormi rapidement. Le lendemain, un samedi, j'avais rendez-vous avec
une amie, M, pour prendre un brunch. Suis-je allé chez elle ? Est-elle
venue me retrouver à l'hôtel ? Je n'ai eu la réponse à cette
interrogation que bien longtemps plus tard. Et le lendemain, le
dimanche, il était question que je dîne avec C, la maman de mon fils
dont je suis divorcé depuis 19xx mais avec qui j'ai conservé de très
bonnes relations. Elle devait aller au théâtre en début de soirée, et
au téléphone, nous étions convenus que sans doute, si elle n'avait pas
trop sommeil en sortant, elle viendrait me retrouver quelque part le
soir pour aller dîner. J'étais toujours dans cette chambre d'hôtel. A
un moment dans l'après-midi, alors que je sentais de plus en plus mal,
je lui ai laissé un message sur le répondeur de son portable, lui
disant que je me sentais très mal et je lui demandais sans doute de
façon pressante de venir me voir dès que possible à l'hôtel dont je lui
donnais le nom et l'adresse.
C'est alors que tout s'est accéléré : C est venue, elle m'a vu dans un
sale état, et sachant que j'étais rentré d'Afrique depuis peu, et
connaissant elle-même le paludisme pour en avoir attrapé une forme
relativement bénigne quelques années auparavant, elle a tout de suite
pensé que je pouvais avoir une crise. Elle a donc pris mes affaires,
appelé un taxi, je me souviens à peu près que j'ai demandé à la
réception de l'hôtel si je pouvais avoir un thé, et nous sommes partis
aux urgences de l'hôpital de la Pitié-Salpêtrière. La suite, je ne la
connais que parce que C me l'a racontée, j'ai été accueilli, on m'a
fait le test de goutte épaisse, puis d'autres examens. C qui patientait
dans la salle d'attente, croyait qu'on me donnerait un traitement, puis
qu'elle me raccompagnerait chez elle où je serais mieux qu'à l'hôtel
pour me rétablir, en un jour ou deux, comme elle-même s'était rétablie
lors de sa maladie. Et au bout d'une heure ou deux, finalement, on a
prévenu C que je rentrerais pas avec elle chez elle, mais que le
service des urgences avait appelé le Samu, après avoir constaté qu'il
n'y avait pas de place pour me garder, pour me conduire au service de
réanimation de Cochin. Il paraît que j'ai parlé avec l'infirmier du
Samu quand on m'a emmené, et même que j'ai répondu aux questions de
l'interne de garde de Cochin à mon arrivée. Je n'ai gardé aucun
souvenir de ces moments... et je ne me suis réveillé que 10 jours plus
tard du coma dans lequel je suis tombé cette nuit-là, dans la chambre 2
de la Réa de Cochin.
La suite serait très longue à décrire. L'essentiel pour moi est que je
suis guéri !
A mon réveil, le temps que je reprenne mes esprits (temps très long,
que j'évalue à deux semaines au moins après la sortie "médicale" du
coma), j'ai compris que j'allais guérir, que la maladie avait été
jugulée. Encore plus tard, j'ai appris que pendant cette longue
semaine, les médecins avaient dit à mes proches (C, notre fils J, mes
sœurs et quelques amis intimes) que "le pronostic vital avait été
engagé", ce qui veut dire que j'étais entre la vie et la mort. Et bien
plus tard, le parasitologue de Cochin que je suis retourné voir pour
des visites de "suivi", m'a dit que pendant trois jours, durant le
coma, l'ensemble du corps médical qui s'occupait de moi avait cru que
je ne m'en sortirais pas. Une des médecins, N D, qui me soignait à la
Réa de Cochin (où je suis resté deux mois) m'a expliqué un jour, alors
que j'avais retrouvé la majeure partie de ma lucidité, que le
"pronostic vital" est engagé lorsque le taux d'invasion du parasite
atteignait 5 %, et que dans mon cas il avait été mesuré à 20 %. Mais
lorsque ces informations m'ont été données, elle m'avait déjà annoncé
que j'étais tiré d'affaire, guéri du paludisme, mais que du fait cette
forme-là, le "neuropaludisme", j'allais mettre du temps à m'en
remettre. Je ne savais pas bien ce que ça voulait dire, mais je
constatais qu'allongé sur ce lit d'hôpital, je ne pouvais pas me lever,
ni bouger mes deux bras ou tellement peu, que ma voix s'était envolée,
à peine pouvais-je murmurer quelques mots à voix très basse. Après ces
deux mois (7 semaine et demi exactement), et après aussi des recherches
apparemment difficiles, j'ai été admis dans un hôpital spécialisé dans
la réadaptation, "l'Adapt" à Soisy-sur-Seine, près d’Évry, où je suis
resté 3 mois et demi avant d'y revenir admis en ambulatoire trois jours
par semaine pour encore un autre mois, puis y avoir refait un séjour un
mois après en être sorti.
Aujourd'hui, il y a presque un an que j'ai quitté l'univers
hospitalier. Je vais bien. Mais j'ai encore mis des mois avant de
pouvoir retrouver une activité "normale", et si j'ai refait depuis lors
deux nouveaux séjours en Afrique (l'un en décembre 2009, au
Burkina-Faso pour parachever le tournage d'un autre film, l'autre en
février de cette année, à l'invitation de mon amie S, pour visiter les
réserves animalières de Tanzanie), si je me convaincs chaque jour que
"c'est fini", que la maladie est désormais derrière moi, je sais bien
qu'il m'en reste des traces. Je continue à aller régulièrement chez un
kiné pour retrouver la totalité de la mobilité de mon bras gauche, et
surtout je ne peux pas me défaire de cette fatigue qui me prend chaque
jour, je n'arrive pas à rassembler mes capacités de concentration aussi
longtemps qu'auparavant, je me surprends à commettre des erreurs
d'inattention fréquemment (et des fautes de frappe sur le clavier de
l'ordinateur, ce qui m'oblige à me relire à chaque ligne), à ne pas
avoir toute la maîtrise de mes geste... Les médecins ont eu l'amabilité
de me rappeler que je n'ai plus 20 ans et qu'à mon âge (58 ans), je
dois me faire à l'idée que l'on ne se rétablit pas aussi vite que quand
on est jeune... Il me faudrait apprendre la patience, mais je n'y
parviens pas très bien. Mais je vis une vie quasi normale, je suis en
train de retrouver une activité qui me va, d'avancer dans mon travail,
de reconstruire mon économie personnelle qui en a pris un grand coup :
un an et plus sans travailler, compte tenu de mon statut d'intermittent
du spectacle ayant perdu le droit à l'indemnisation juste quelques mois
avant la maladie, c'est une pente difficile à remonter.
Je termine ce récit (mais il y aurait encore tant à dire !) en
insistant sur le fait que j'ai été magnifiquement soigné par tout le
corps médical et paramédical, d'un bout à l'autre de sa hiérarchie, des
grands patrons au personnel de service et de ménage sans distinction,
très humainement aussi, et que je crois devoir énormément à toutes les
personnes de ma famille et à tous/toutes mes ami(e)s qui m'ont apporté
tant d'amour et de soutien et qui continuent à le faire aujourd'hui. Je
n'aurai jamais assez de "merci" pour exprimer toute cette gratitude.
Merci aussi, Nathalie, de m'avoir offert cette opportunité
d'écrire ces lignes. Elles complètent le travail que j'ai fait, après
la sortie de l'hôpital, avec un psychothérapeute qui m'a aussi beaucoup
aidé à refaire surface.
Bien cordialement et avec toutes mes très sincères félicitations et mes
remerciements pour ce que tu fais avec ton site Internet...
Décembre 2011 :
Longtemps plus tard, je reprends ce texte. Je l'ai relu, y ai apporté
Ce que je peux dire, pas loin de trois ans après le déclenchement de
cette maladie, et à la veille de retourner deux fois en Afrique (une
fois ce mois de décembre 2011 pour aller encore avec mon amie S et à
son invitation en Afrique du Sud, Botswana et Zimbabwe, une autre fois
en janvier pour un ultime tournage au Burkina Faso), c'est que je suis
dans la vie, dans ce que de l'extérieur on pourrait qualifier de vie
De fait, je me suis installé dans un autre lieu dans la petite ville de
Saintes, choisie parce que j'y ai des amis, que la vie y est calme,
qu'elle n'est pas éloignée de l'Océan, ni de chez ma Maman qui vieillit
à Bordeaux. Après plus d'un an passé en ermite dans une maison en
région parisienne, j'ai décidé ça, de me replonger dans la vie sociale,
active, politique, associative. Et ici, c'est facile, les gens sont
ouverts et accueillants avec moi, pas intrusifs. Toutes les personnes à
qui j'ai raconté ma vie de ces dernières années, la maladie, la
guérison, ont été attentives et attentionnées. C'est très agréable. Et
parfois j'ai de la visite : mon fils, sa maman, mes sœurs, des ami(e)s…
Je leur montre "ma" ville, qui est belle et qui me plaît comme me plaît
le petit appartement que j'ai trouvé, proche du centre, devant un
magnifique chêne que je regarde chaque jour et que j'aime.
J'ai eu à apprendre et accepter plusieurs transformations en moi,
suites de la maladie : la lenteur, car si mon esprit a bien retrouvé sa
vivacité, en revanche physiquement, j'ai toujours cette fatigue
permanente. Et aussi la difficulté à me concentrer : la lecture est
devenue impossible pour moi, je ne peux plus aborder les livres, juste
les journaux ont grâce à mes yeux. Il m'arrive fréquemment de
m'endormir au cours d'une réunion ou encore d'une séance de visionnage
de films quand je participe à la sélection de courts ménages africains
pour un festival où je me suis laissé embarquer. De la même façon,
l'écriture est difficile. J'ai dû m'y remettre, évidemment, car je n'ai
pas arrêté de travailler. C'est laborieux. J'écris souvent, à la fois
pour le travail, à la fois pour le quotidien, des courriers, des
réponses à des courriels, des écrits un peu politiques. Et toujours, je
dois m'y reprendre à plusieurs fois, relire avec une très grande
attention pour débusquer les fautes, les mots oubliés, les phrases sans
verbe, plein de petites fautes qui émaillent tous mes écrits. C'est
comme les actes de la vie quotidienne : parfois je suis incohérent, je
commence à faire quelque chose et je ne finis pas, je dois m'écrire des
listes pour ne pas omettre la moitié du programme que je me fixe, etc.
On me dit, mes amis me disent qu'eux aussi, il leur arrive les mêmes
mésaventures, que c'est du fait de l'âge qui avance. Je n'insiste pas
pour affirmer "ma différence".
Ce n'est pas le plus important.
Ce qui compte, c'est que je suis dans la vie, que je profite de ses
plaisirs, que j'apprécie tous les instants, toutes les belles choses,
sans hâte ni frénésie, que tout ce qu'il m'arrive de bien est un cadeau
que je reçois avec gratitude. Et que les "petits malheurs", les petits
handicaps sont finalement un peu insignifiants. Pas envie de me
plaindre, juste envie de continuer, tant que je pourrai, à faire ce que
j'ai à faire, continuer à vivre selon mes désirs et mes convictions,
continuer à chercher ma place, même si je pourrais dire que je l'ai
trouvée. Mais lorsque je crois être à ma place, il m'apparaît aussitôt
que je peux bouger encore, évoluer encore un peu… Cette maladie qui m'a
atteint ne me protège pas d'autres maladies, certaines qui me
poursuivent depuis "avant", d'autres qui apparaissent, la vie et le
vieillissement, comme tout le monde.
Oui, je suis comme tout le monde, avec juste ce pas de côté et ces
petites différences dues aux suites de la maladie.
La maladie, elle me poursuit un peu : cette histoire d'un couple de
Grenoble qui avait adopté un tout petit enfant au Bénin, et qui a
appris au moment d'aller là-bas le chercher qu'il avait attrapé un
neuropaludisme. Finalement ils sont rentrés sans l'enfant, trop faible
pour voyager. Ils m'ont téléphoné après m'avoir demandé par mail s'ils
pouvaient le faire; bien sûr, j'ai fait mon possible, avant leur voyage
pour leur parler un peu de l'Afrique qu'ils ne connaissaient pas du
tout et les prévenir que peut-être l'enfant qu'ils allaient enfin
rencontrer pourrait ne pas rentrer avec eux, et à leur retour pour les
aider, autant que je le pouvais, à renouer avec la vie et à regarder
devant eux. Pour eux, ça a été une très rude épreuve, pour moi moins
rude évidemment, mais une "remontée" de souvenirs, pas si simple, pas
anodin. Et puis plus récemment, cette femme dont le mari, pris pas
cette même maladie il y a un an, et une partie du cerveau gagné par le
parasite, ne peut pas bouger, pas parler, tout juste manifester par un
sourire ou un mouvement de sourcil un peu de plaisir ou d'assentiment,
un peu de ce qu'il lui reste de vie. Une bagarre pour récupérer les
images de l'IRM, aller consulter d'autres spécialistes que ceux qu'elle
a vus et qui ont baissé les bras, parler d'espoir, de courage, de lutte
contre l'indifférence extérieure et l'effondrement intérieur.
Je ne sais pas ce qui m'anime devant ces situations, j'ai juste le
sentiment que je dois répondre présent à ces sollicitations.
Heureusement que je peux échanger avec toi, Nathalie, toi qui es aussi,
et bien plus que moi, investie dans ces combats contre le silence,
l'ignorance. Toi qui es devenue une nouvelle sœur, toi avec qui s'est
installé un lien d'un genre unique, indéfectible. Une solidarité de la
maladie et de la rémission. Je te dédie ces lignes.
A bientôt, tant que le vie nous sourie… alors qu'elle aurait vraiment
pu s'arrêter sans crier gare…
Sent: Wednesday, March 11, 20xx
Subject: URGENT INFO +
Pouvez-vous m'aider, je viens d'apprendre que mon frère en voyage au
Cambodge vient d'être admis en urgence car il a contracté la Malaria la
Le type est : PL FALCI +++
Faut il que je me rende immédiatement au Cambodge car il ne peut
pas être rapatrié d'urgence ?
Il est hospitalisé à la CT CLINIC SIH ANOUKVILLE chez le DR Lxx Kxx
Hxxx mais je n'arrive pas à établir un contact téléphonique.
Si vous avez un réseau mondial, pouvez-vous svp me dire qui je px
contacter dans cette clinique qui parle soit français ou en
anglais et pourrait me renseigner
Merci de votre aide
At 10:21 AM 3/13/20xx +0700,
R B wrote:
Nous avons pu localiser le frère de Madame qui est ressortissant belge,
M.xxxxxx et qui va mieux.
Vous pouvez contacter le dr xxx de CT Clinic 00 xxx xx xxx xxx.
Je mets en copie de ce courriel le consul honoraire de Belgique dont le
courriel est : xxxxx
Consul de France
Ambassade de France au Cambodge
Tél: xxx xxx xxx
Télécopie : x
courriel : email@example.com
J'informe également l'Ambassade de Belgique a Bangkok.
Pour ma part, je serai à Sxx Rxx jusque dimanche matin.
Consul honoraire de Belgique
Subject: congolais devenu paludéen
Ayant vécu la même histoire, ton récit
m’a beaucoup bouleversé !!!
En plus, je suis né un x x 1967 à BRAZZAVILLE !?
Je réside à Mx.
Je te laisse mes coordonnées, au cas ou tu souhaiterais qu’on parle de
@ : xx
A bientôt et encore bon courage
Quant à tes exemples ,je peut te citer l'exemple également du
propriétaire de l'hibiscus à WARANG mort en 48H devant nous tous, ALAIN
un toubab de SOMONE mort en 48H, ou encore ATILIO GERANT du
bougainvillier à Nianing terrassé en 48H par un faciporium rapatrié en
allemagne,aujourdhui,cerveau atteint et paralysé sur un fauteuil
roulant.UN PALU mal traité,mal décelé et mal soigné,devient un NEURO
PALU,un Palu touchant le cerveau.En medecine on appelle cela des
faits,et jamais en medecine l'exeption ne fait regle.
Médecin pour l'ONG ENDA TIERS-MONDE
A c t u a l i t é s :
La prise en charge d'un paludisme grave
chez l'adulte et chez l'enfant est une urgence.
Tout paludisme grave doit être hospitalisé en réanimation.
Musique : The
White Massai de Niki REISER
: The Malaria / achetée sur VIRGINMEGA.FR