Not Our First Case of Malaria

Malaria[Stephanie]: We inaugurated our time there [Ben Lippen High School] by getting malaria the first week of school.

[Marcia]: Mhmm.

[Voices]: Awwww!

[Kimberly]: That was the other thing we had gotten there. But then I didn’t have any US diseases or colds or anything until the chicken pox came around. So, yeah, we did better between malaria and chicken pox.



[Marcia]: I know. I think the school was in an uproar because they had this one, you know, Stephanie came down with malaria and they, the pharmacist filled the prescriptions incorrectly, so they gave her too much of one kind of medicine for her body weight. She had a reaction to it. She was a mess. But I had talked to the doctor on the phone and said, “You know”—they wanted to give them quinine—I said, “We never give them quinine.”

She said, “I have to give them quinine according to the CDC protocol.

[Kimberly]: Was Dad [Steve] . . . ?

[Stephanie]: Dad was still in Brazil.

[Marcia]: Dad had not come back yet. He took. .  . .

[Stephanie]: He had gone to Brazil for a conference.

[Marcia]: OK. So you [Steve] were going to come and meet up with us, but you weren’t back yet. I came down and put the kids, put them into school and went over and was at Elizabeth’s house while that, during that initial time. Anyway. . . .

[Stephanie]: We were also not supposed to be leaving school during the first month. That was part of the complication. My mom wasn’t there initially because we weren’t supposed to leave school or see our parents for the first month, oh and leave campus.

[Marcia]: Anyway, I talked to the doctor on the phone, but she told me she had to give them quinine. I just felt that that would be problematic. But anyway, the medicine also was, because it was switched around, it was the wrong amount. So she ended up in the hospital.

I told them, “You know, we’re not used into going in the hospital for malaria. It would really be better if she could just stay at the school and not be in the hospital, but she ended up in the hospital. So then I ended up going over there and staying with her in the hospital.

And then Kimberly got up one morning and had a headache. She went to the nurse and she said, . . .

[Kimberly]: “I’ve got malaria.”

[Marcia]: “I’ve got malaria.”

So the nurse said, “A-ha! We’re not taking you in to that hospital!”

The hospital in Columbia was a teaching hospital, so Stephanie had had every intern in the place come down to see this rare case of malaria.

So the nurse, who had lived overseas and knew a little bit about malaria, said, “OK. We’re going to take your blood first. We’re going to get it tested.” Sure enough, she had it, but by then they’d figured out how to give the dosage right. And didn’t you stay in the dorm and get better?

[Kimberly]: I stayed in the dorm.

[Marcia]: Took your medication and got better.

[Kimberly]: I got better. I still had the ear ringing and [can’t hear].

[Marcia]: Anyway.

[Kimberly]: Anyway, I was over it in, like, a week or less. Steph was sick for about two weeks and had a worse case than I had.

[Marcia]: So it was not our first case of malaria. We had had malaria a lot in Angola.

[Heidi]: That’s the shortest malaria.

[Kimberly]: Well, no, I mean I got really good at it in Jamba. I could diagnose it quick, right. This was the whole thing. I could have diagnosed Stephanie and treated her myself and she would have been fine.

[Heidi]: Better off.



[Kimberly]: We didn’t have any Fansidar around. We didn’t have Dad around, so that didn’t work out.

[Marcia]: Well, and I remember that your house-parents had said to me something about you having. . . .

[Stephanie]: They were trying to dose me with blueberries [? word unclear].

[Marcia]: And I said to her, I said to the house-parents, I said, “If she’s not better by Monday”—or whatever—“you have to start thinking malaria.” Because we knew the symptoms.

[Kimberly]: Because [can’t hear] we got home, right? Wasn’t it right after we got home?

[Dawn]: It was hardly two weeks.

[Mary Lynn]: Were you a few hours away that you couldn’t go to them?

[Marcia]: I don’t remember why I didn’t drive over there and take things into hand. I don’t know.

[Stephanie]: Well, I think initially it was kind of like a question of whatever. I mean maybe the house-parents were questioning what I was sick with. And there was this whole rule about not seeing your parents for the first month. I think they were just trying to help students, like, get through that rough patch.

[Marcia]: Because it was a . . . yeah.

[Stephanie]: School hadn’t really officially started yet. Kim and I were there because they were having an MK program for MKs. School hadn’t started. It was a dorm for us and the house-parents. There was a lot of back-and-forth. Part of it was [unclear].

story told by Marcia (Steve’s wife), Kimberly, and Stephanie (Steve’s daughters) to the family reunion gathering on January 10, 2014 with interjections from Dawn and Heidi (Steve’s daughters) and Mary Lynn (Lee’s daughter-in-law); transcribed by Dawn Duncan Harrell (Steve’s daughter)

Can you add to the story? Please do. Write in the box below. (You may need to click “Leave a Reply” above to make the box, name, and address fields appear.)

  • What were those house-parents’ names?
  • Where was the malaria-knowledgeable nurse when Stephanie got it? Why didn’t she intervene then?
  • What was the conference in Brazil about?
  • What weird diseases have you had in your travels? Where and why were you traveling? What happened?
  • Anybody remember the childhood diseases stories for the eight? Dad? Lee? Betty?

1 thought on “Not Our First Case of Malaria

  1. Bertrand S.(Steve) Duncan

    In the only time I was in Brazil it was to speak with Dr. David Braga and his family about the possibility of coming to Angola to help in the establishing of the Jamba Hospital; Eve]]]ntuallly he did come with the whole family and served for three or four years and filled in for us when we had to go on furlough. We were blessed to have them but they had to evacuate due to the war by flying to Luanda, did emergency war doctoring in the back yard of the house where they stayed, later got evacuated from Luanda to Namibia and then by Brazilian Air Force back to Brazil. He eventually had a lymphoma and shortly thereafter died of the disease. So that’s why Brazil entered our experience.
    Mom, Marcia, after the falciparum malaria of Stephanie and Kim came down with vivax malaria in Texas that same time when we were in South Carolina for the initiation of Stephahie and Kimberly’s malaria sagas. It didn’t react to the medication that we had been using but at the laboratory and a Wycliffe lab technician discovered the real identification of the disease…and then got treatment appropriate for that type.
    But malaria was a frequent problem in Angola for us, hepatitis hit most of us during our initial time in Menongue. God had his reasons for us to get these but it did teach us some things, among them is that the “doctor” of the family was a limited critter in his medical skills. Praise God for his mercies. Steve

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