Bandar Alban Mar 4/19
Your most welcome letter of Dec 13th arrived a week ago when I was in bed with malaria. The attack in January left me somewhat weak, and so it came on a month later in earnest again, after a dozen very slight temperatures. After a week-end trip I have had a little fever yesterday and to-day, but not enough to interfere in the least with work.
The doctor decided that I had taken enough quinine and as he admits malaria cannot be cured outright, he says the next best thing is to raise one’s resistance and therefore, by not becoming run down, avoid a recurrence of the fever the germs which are always in the blood. Now I am taking a mixture consisting of arsenic, strychnine and a very little quinine. Quinine destroys the white corpuscles and thus leaves the system run down and thus is worse than the malaria itself. It also brings in slow fever which is like malaria except that there is no temperature; the other symptoms are present – high pulse and aches of all kinds. Even if one is getting well, after slow fever and everything disappeared one often has a very slow, and always an irregular pulse and most people experience mental depression and nervousness. Such are the symptoms which most of us here experience for a great deal of the time. One of the officers who came with me has had fever a dozen times and is still carrying on. It is useless to go on leave, for proper S.F.R. officers have to return to Yabbas again. Fortunately we all hope to get away soon, otherwise we should die by inches. My O.C. has been invalided after only six months – a total wreck, with fever and several minor complaints. They say the only way to get right of malaria is to spend seven years in a suitable climate without having an outbreak by which time the germs die out.
I hope you do not mind this lecture, but I must tell somebody. I never write home about it and would not want them to know that my malaria has become chronic, for anything. In Canada I shall be all right, or in England.
The other officer belonging to the office has returned from the road, but expects to go out again for a fortnight or so, but after he comes back there will be practically nothing to do, then I hope to get my discharge, that is another thing mother worries about.
On Saturday night another officer fresh from India and myself rode out to a village fifteen miles away, among the foot hills, arriving at 3 a.m. We breakfasted at ten and then went for a walk among the gardens and palm groves where the vegetation was most luxuriant. Best of all were the lemon groves in blossom and the ripe oranges and limes while for fragrance nothing except Persian roses could equal the jessamines. It made me forget all about the desert and the bare mountains beyond and the friend was thoroughly delighted with his imitation into the wonderland of Persian gardens. We had Persian diet as well cooked by my black ex-slave. I will tell you about that some other time. Now I must close to do some Arabic. I stayed away from mess to work at tit.
Please reply 90 Messre. Cox & Co. Bombay, until I arrive in England after spending the Palestine way.