Doctrine and Covenants 24: 8
“Be patient in afflictions, for thou shalt have many; but endure them, for, lo, I am with thee, even unto the end of thy days.”
Friends and Family,
I got Malaria this week. Malaria is the number one killer in Ghana and I believe all of Africa. I went to bed Mondayevening after riding in the rain to a Family Home Evening lesson we had had that night. I woke up a few hours later shaking with chills and chattering teeth. I wrapped my blanket around me, but I was still freezing. I got up and put on a long sleeve t-shirt, two pairs of socks on my feet and one on my hands, and crawled back under the blanket. After another 10 minutes of shaking I went and threw on a pair of trousers and tied a shirt over my head as a hat. I was still freezing but fell asleep within the hour.
My companion woke me up the next day wondering what happened. I told him that I thought I was sick. I was soaked in sweat and we took my temperature, 103.4 F. I texted our Mission Nurse and she told me to find the nearest hospital and get a Malaria Test. Before we left I had the Elders give me a priesthood blessing. Then with the blessings from God we went to the Clinic to see what was happening. In the hospital before you get your blood drawn you have to get a chemical into your body that is inserted through your rectum. They told me this and I was like, "Excuse me?" and the nurse was like, "It's no big deal. Can't your companion do it for you?" We about died and are still laughing about that. The blood told them that it was Malaria and they gave me the correct medicine. I walked back and I was telling everyone I would be good to go tomorrow. I cooked some food for myself and then I took my first pill, Coartem. There are 6 pills that are taken every 12 hours to kill the Malaria parasites. I took my first and lay down to take a short nap.
For the next 5 days I hardly left my bed. On Wednesday I slept for 22 hours of that day. Because of the medicine I lost my appetite for the local food but my hunger had never been worse. While I was sleeping I was mostly dreaming of food form home, mashed potatoes, steamed vegetables, cereal, rolls, turkey, cinnamon rolls, pear sauce, jello, I was just dreaming of these things and waking up to nothing, that was painful. I drank fruit juice and ate a few crackers every day and stayed alive that way. I was lying in my bed Thursday night just looking at my mosquito net with tears slowly coming from my eyes. I couldn't help it because I was in pain. I felt stupid. I prayed often because that was all I had the energy for. Malaria was humbling. I realized how much I had taken for granted my good health, my ability to move, my ability to do. In my mind I was suffering among with some of the best lives I know, that of my two grandparents, Grandma Salisbury and Grandma Bergeson. The first is bed ridden and the second is as weak at times as I was during that sickness. I was also with my Savior. I imagined how He felt when He took our sins upon Him in the Garden of Gethsemane. How weak He must of felt and again how tired He must have been as He carried His cross. Through the sickness I kept asking "Why?" Why did this have to happen? The answer that I have felt is that I needed to understand. Understand myself and the others that I will meet in my life. I am so grateful to have made it through this sickness, but let us pray that it does not come again very soon.
Finally, I wanted to express my love for my father, Brett Elmo. You're the man. You are my hero, my example, my friend, my work out buddy, my singing partner, my favorite cook, and my eating buddy. I remember as a young man you were trying to get me excited about lifting so that I could get stronger and have a better chance of playing in football. So you took me running down to the shop where we lifted inside an old storage unit. You put every weight that we had on the bar and I remember thinking, "My dad is superman. I knew it. I knew it!" Then on the run home you were panting like Sabra does when we take her on a run and I had my doubts... I'm still working it out. When I was very little I was asked to sing at a family friend’s missionary farewell. I accepted and prepared to sing. Then about 20 minutes before the meeting started I couldn't stop crying and said I wouldn't sing unless Dad sang with me. You were forced to but you did not knowing the song. Mom wrote the words all through the sacrament and then we sang together, sort of. I sang and I don't remember hearing anything come from you but you were a reassuring strength next to me. You are a faithful, talented, and Christ like man and I love you father.
I love all of you and ask for your prayers of strength as I begin work again.