Chelsi stared at the little, blue handled needle she held in her right hand. Then glanced over to her red and swollen index finger on her left hand. After a few moments she was looking back at the lancet. Then finger, then lancet. Finger, lancet. Finger, lancet. Finger, and lancet. She squirmed a bit on the red cushioned, dinning chair. You probably don’t even have malaria anyway, her left index finger told her. But in all reality you could, the lancet wielding right hand argued.
But you feel so much better now, now you’re just coughing and wheezing, not feeling too feverish, the left hand retaliated.
Maybe so, but just twelve hours ago you were shaking and shivering in bed with the sweats. The right hand was reasoning well, the most notable symptom of malaria is the oscillating cycle of feeling sick then well.
Yeah, but the other most notable symptoms of malaria; vomiting. You might be nauseous, but you haven’t vomited.
And if you have malaria you could die. But you won’t know until you take the test.
“Maybe if I just shut my eyes,” Chelsi knew her right side was correct, but the left side just screamed so loud. “It’s just a couple drops,” she reasoned with it.
Chelsi brought her left index finger and the tip of the lancet together. Maybe if I just push slowly, but her actions were broken up by a fit of coughing. The pain in her chest was sharp, and the sudden rush of blood to her head made it pound. Quickly, before each of her sides could gather themselves, she stabbed her left index finger.
But nothing seemed to happen. She checked to see that yes indeed the point of the needle was buried under my skin, yet blood was not welling around the intrusion as she had expected. Maybe, she pushed the little needle a little farther in. But still nothing.
“All that grief, for nothing,” she said aloud pulling the lancet out of her finger. Then the blood started welling up. “Shit,” it came quickly at first. She fumbled with her free hand for the little plastic applicator cup to collect the blood. “It’s bigger than it looks,” she said of the collection cup, having to message more blood out of the tip of her finger.
After more moments that Chelsi would have liked, the applicator cup was full and she waded tissues around her bleeding finger. Carefully, she emptied the cup of blood in the receiving well of the plastic incased malaria test. “Five drops of buffer it says,” she applied them appropriately. “Now, if there’s anything worse than waiting!” She set a timer for fifteen minutes, for which she would spend the entire time starting at the maturing test.
The control strip was quick to light up, as soon as her blood was forced across the test by the buffer. The second strip never revealed itself.
Negative, her right side said contently.
Negative, her left side said contemptly.