Monday, March 10, 2014


I’d write Lucy’s Buzz when my day’s work is done, but the mosquitos drive me out of my office. They drive me mad! They attack my feet. I’ve used Mortine spray (like Raid spray) under the desk where they gather but that can’t be good for my lungs. I’ve tried Citornella Oil spray, but that’s like sitting in traffic next to a city bus exhaust pipe; it made me cough for 15 minutes. Can’t use the smoke coils as they’re worse then China’s air pollution. So I end the day and go to my room with the door closed and use the Mortine plug-in bug deterrent. The plug-in is not perfect for one’s health but that and being sequestered is better than getting Dengue Fever.

I know because I got Dengue. Sounds like a T-shirt saying; ‘Dengue Survivor!’ I had a photography exhibition going on at the time; Sri Lanka – A Woman’s View. It took place at the spacious Lionel Wendt Art Centre in the upstairs gallery. The days before the exhibition were taken up with choosing the correct photos, making sure the Chief Guest, Nihal Fernando, was up to attending, making sure the catered food arrived on time, getting the photographs framed and ready for hanging. Lots of work. Both Lipton and I were exhausted, but one has to show their game face at exhibition time.

I knew I was tired from all the preparations, but I couldn’t figure out why my bones were in such bone-breaking pain. During the first morning of the exhibit, I’d greet visitors and then sit and complain, complain, complain. The then American Ambassador, Jeffrey Lundstead and his wife entered and I painfully stood up and took them on the Sri Lanka – A Woman’s View tour. Once they left, I sat back down and rubbed my elbows and knees, confused as to why I was in such agony. This went on for the next day and a half. It was Monday, the day after the exhibition, when I got the fever and ended up in the hospital from the ensuing migraine.

Of course my doctor had seen my symptoms before and tested me for Dengue. I had no clue what Dengue was. I’d read about it in the newspapers, of course, but it seemed foreign and off my grid. Who knew I’d get it? After all, I wore nun-like clothes up to my neck and long sleeves. I wore mosquito lotion daily. I used a mosquito net when I slept. I did everything but hire a bodyguard to keep the bastards away from me!

The test came back positive four days later. I was still out of my mind with pain. I would have opted for a bullet to the head at that point. Dengue lasts forever. It robs the body of its strength and recuperation is slow. Once out of the hospital it  was hard just to walk across the living room.

The week after I left the hospital, Lipton got Dengue! He had it worse than I did. What a mess. I could barely walk and yet I drove to the hospital daily to help him. Thank goodness one of his friends stayed overnight with him.

Dengue sucks. It kills people. It kills children.

That’s why I hide out in my room during evening mosquito hours and write Lucy’s Buzz in the morning before they awake!

Mosquito bat that you can buy off of vendors on the road.
It electrocutes the little nasties. My friend Ruby and I used to have 2 bats
and conduct the 'Killing Mosquito Olympics' during the evening at my old house.
It was great fun! Not very Buddhist, but entertainment none-the-less.

The trusty standby, fly swatter!

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