“What?Where Am I?”
My voice was weak, my throat felt bone dry and my head was spinning. I heard a voice, a stranger say “He’s coming around!” I felt terrible. Confused as if I was waking from a long nightmare. Opening my eyes was painful, the bright lights in the room hit my brain like bee stings. Everything was blurred at first, then I began to focus. There was my mom and dad leaning over me. They were crying..! I looked down to see my brother and sister, each holding one of my hands. I looked down to see my brother and sister, each holding one of my hands. I was in bed. Not at home, though, I was in a hospital. The stranger- the person that had spoken- was a doctor “What am I doing here?” I croaked out slowly to my mom. “Don’t you remember?” She replied softly, her voice choking up. Then the memory started to return.. It all began on a family holiday we had taken back to our home country, Sri Lanka. I remembered meeting my relatives and having a wonderful time. We visited so many amazing places in that wonderful country, Amongst our many trips was a visit to a forest, in the depths of which was a beautiful waterfall. The colors were amazing. The deep blue of the water in the pool below the waterfall, Contrasting against the lush greens of the forest. It was so tranquil. The only sounds being the tankling of the water as it gently cascaded over the fall. Into the pool below with the distant strange calls of the many exotic wild birds, coming from deep in the forest around us. I remembered we’d had a fantastic time splashing around the edges of the pool. The water was crystal clear, and so cool and refreshing in the day’s heat. But there was one thing that was peculiar .The air around the edge of the pool was thick with tiny mosquitoes. They were not like the usual type common in Sri Lanka. They were smaller and more aggressive, constantly landing on our exposed skin trying to bite us. We had to work hard to keep them from settling on us the mosquitoes were so persistent that at one point I remember thinking: “Go on! Bite me! See if I care!” I wanted to enjoy myself and not spend my brief time at the waterfall fighting off mosquitos, But, I was curious to find out what a bite from these little critters felt like. So I let them get on with it, while I enjoyed splashing around in the water. I remember that when they did start to bite me it felt no different than when a normal mosquito bites, so I thought no more about it and really enjoyed the rest of the day at the waterfall. By the time we left the waterfall in the forest. I was exhausted, but happy The next day when I awoke I felt awful. I knew as soon as my eyes opened, I was going to be sick. I ran to the toilet and only just made it. My head was spinning and ate like heck and my whole body was shaking. My temperature was through the roof with a fever and was desperate to lie down, but my stomach was churning so badly. I didn’t dare leave the bathroom, so I lay on the floor feeling so ill I thought I was going to die right there and then. When my mom and dad found me lying on the bathroom floor, they knew I was ill. They were very worried. I’d been ill before, but never like this! They knew something was seriously wrong, So they bundled me up, took me down to the car and headed straight for the hospital. “Hold on honey, we’ll soon be there.” I recall my mom saying as she stroked my hair and hugged me tight It was the last thing I heard before I passed out.. When we arrived at the hospital I was rushed straight into an emergency room. I was so ill they took me to intensive care and put me on life-support equipment. It was touch and go whether I would live, or die. But now I was awake! I felt awful and I only managed to stay conscious for a few minutes before I lapsed into sleep again. But I was still alive! It was enough time for me to tell mom and dad how much I loved them and to promise my baby brother and sister, I would take them to the movies just as soon as I was well again! The last thing I recall before I passed out again in the hospital bed, was my mom kissing me on the forehead and telling me how much she loved me. “What,where am I?” this time when I woke up, my head wasn’t throbbing, and the bright light in the room didn’t sting my eyes I felt good! Glad to be awake and ready to take on the world. As soon as I opened my eyes, I knew I was well again, I wasn’t in the hospital. I was in my own bedroom back at home. I looked around my room Everything I loved was there. Especially my mom, dad and my baby sister and brother! I gave them all a great big smile and said “What’s for breakfast mom? I’m starving!” I saw my mom and dad were crying, but this time they were tears of joy. I had survived. Everything would be as it was before! A happy healthy family. When I was fully fit again, I asked my mom and dad what had been wrong with me. And finally, they told me. “We didn’t want to tell you this when you were sick because we thought you would get scared.. But you had malaria.” Malaria! That’s one of the world’s biggest killer diseases! No wonder I’d felt like I was at death’s door. I was shocked but at the same time proud of myself, I was only 10 years old, but I had triumphed over this deadly illness thanks to the skills of the doctors and the love of my family. I knew I’d been very lucky I could have easily died. When I think back to the day at the waterfall I asked myself if I would do anything different. The answer is a resounding yes. I would do whatever I could to avoid being bitten by those pesky mosquitoes. I was dumb. I was curious to see what it felt like to be bitten by those little critters. Mosquitoes carry diseases, and I knew that! So I should have put my health ahead of my curiosity. Those little critters and their bites nearly cost me my life! They set me on a rollercoaster ride of emotions from shocked and terrified, Through to the happiness and joy of being healthy and back amongst my loving family again. The world is a wonderful place, full of adventure, and I can’t wait to see as much of it as I can. But one thing’s for sure. In the future, wherever I go, I’ll always be careful and be aware of the risks. Especially in all those new amazing and exotic places out there. Just waiting for me to visit.