52-year-old Australian, Stephenie Rodriguez, recounted her bitter experience with mosquitoes in Nigeria.
The single mom and digital entrepreneur shared how she had both feet amputated and endured an 18-month-old nightmare when she contracted cerebral malaria from a mosquito bite while visiting Lagos.
In a report from the Sydney Morning Herald, she said she traveled to Lagos in 2019 to speak at a business meeting for travel officials. She said during the rally, she and guests were called to gather outside for a photoshoot next to a pool of standing water. She said it was while she was there that she was bitten three times by a mosquito on her left ankle.
Armed with enough bug spray, Rodriguez said she dutifully doused herself with bug spray but did not take any anti-malaria medication due to the bad reaction she experienced when she resumed it. a.
“The organizers asked me to go out for a photoshoot with the delegates. They had drones and vox pops. It was filmed next to a pool of standing water. It was sunset. It was then that I believe I was bitten three times by a mosquito on my left ankle, ”she said.
Days later, after flying to India, Rodriguez said she was starting to feel tired and uncomfortable, but dismissed the feeling, describing it as “out of character” and “in addition to the time difference”. It was while arriving in Boston that she had to be rushed to hospital after falling ill at the airport and having difficulty eating and drinking.
She was rushed to Massachusetts General Hospital where an infectious disease specialist had confirmed Rodriguez had cerebral malaria. By then she had fallen into a coma. According to doctors, Rodriguez had only a 2% chance of survival after Artesunate — a drug used to treat severe malaria — sent her into septic shock and organ failure.
In a last ditch effort to save his life, doctors used vasopressor drugs to redirect blood flow from his limbs to his vital organs.
“It was the last trick of the bag, and they warned my family that if I survived there would be collateral damage. The vasopressors took away my feet and hands, the most distant parts of my heart, and like frostbite, the areas without blood and oxygen began to die. she said.
The drugs made her feet and hands black from the necrosis and at one point she saw her own toe fall into her hand.
“It was awful, absolutely awful. Completely unimaginable, ”she said.
After being flown back to Australia, the doctor advised Rodriguez to undergo an above-knee amputation with multiple fingers. Horrified by the thought, Rodriguez said she put the procedure on hold and instead opted to undergo multiple skin grafts and surgeries to see if her condition improved.
Eventually she had to have her remaining toes amputated and slowly realized that she couldn’t push it back.