I am leaving for Tanzania tomorrow. I am very excited for the 10-day tour and the glimpse it will provide into the culture of this unique place.
In preparation for my trip, I was prescribed a malaria prophylaxis to be taken two weeks prior to departure, throughout our travels and for a few weeks after.
While this particular drug, mefloquine, has numerous common — and generally harmless — side effects, the most interesting one for me so far has been the vivid dreaming.
Since taking mefloquine, my dreams have been varied and very entertaining. Fortunately, none have been nightmares, but they have involved intense emotions of anger at Dream Richard for not letting me keep a puppy; running with Dream Richard away from government goons who were after us for discovering secrets buried deep within the administration; missing movies with my best friend because we decided to meet at a theater hours from where either of us lives; etc.
Okay. They’re not all exciting.
However, each night I look forward to sleep in a way I never have before.
I love sleep. And bed. I love the ease that comes with being done with my day and the comfort of drifting off to a place where I have no commitments or responsibilities.
I imagine my brain while sleeping is like a trained wild animal. During the day, I give it commands; it follows my orders; it has a routine; it must stay focused and behave with purpose.
But at night my brain is that same wild animal, released. It can wander unsupervised; stop to lay in the sun; chase after prey; stop to nibble strawberries.
And my wild animal brain on mefloquine has seemed to give everything more drama. The colors are brighter, the picture clearer, and Stephanie’s brain on mefloquine has a lot more energy to pursue complex plots with zero concern for continuity or narrative.
I wake up impressed, but also a little scared about what weird neuron sequences were firing overnight.