Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Malaria for Leslie

Fever, body aches, loss of appetite, chills, confusion, head pressure. I lay in bed almost moaning because of the discomfort. Before Lauren would give me medicine from Dr. Ds stash (thank you in advance, Becky), she wanted me to be tested. She called Gabriel and assigned him the task of delivering me safely to a medical clinic. He arrived via boda and instructed the driver to take me to the Edwardo Medical Clinic where he would meet me. Surprisingly, he was there waiting when I arrived and had informed the team that I was coming. He ran the whole way using the back roads.

The nice doctor (who knows really what his credentials were) asked me a series of questions including my age and then commented that he would have never guessed I was that old, uhum…young. I love Ugandans, they all say that to me. My temperature was 37.7 C (99.8 F) while my body was loaded with ibuprofen. I felt like it was closer to 110. He instructed me to rest on the bed thingy while we waited for the needle guy to return so he could draw blood for testing. I lay there and cried. Somehow it felt better to just cry.

The needle guy arrived and looked at my arms for a vein, then asked me to move to another room where there was more light. He tapped the inside of my elbow, my wrist, the back of my hand…then he said, “Is it always this difficult to find a vein?” Yep, ‘fraid so. He pulled a needle out of a sealed pack like in the States, but I flashed to what Lauren said about how they reseal the water bottles. Oh boy, all I could do is hope and pray the needle had been sterilized. About now I was wishing I had heeded Pastor Bob’s advice to have a few needles of my own on hand.

Gloveless, the needle guy wended his way around my small wrist vein to get the blood he needed. Then he proceeded to massage the insertion point after removing the needle, which created a giant bruise. Oh well, nothing new there.

Back on the waiting bed thingy I cried for a blanket because I was freezing and roasting all at the same time. None came. The medical guy finally returned with the results. He said, “I tested you for typhoid and malaria.” Typhoid? Yikes, I hadn’t thought of that. Move over typhoid, I have malaria. “It’s already turned into a bacteria,” he said, “so you need a quinine drip.” Not sure what that meant but…ugh. I commented that I had Lonart at home and he said good but it may not be strong enough. We’ll see.

The bill came to 5,000 UGX ($2.50) for treatment – tell me where in America you could see the doctor, and have blood drawn and tested right in front of you, for $2.50. Of course I may have also purchased the right to HIV, but I’d like to think a medical clinic knows how to handle such things appropriately. I am so naive.

Gabriel put me on the boda with instructions to take me home. I felt no better, maybe even worse. When I arrived a meeting was under way but Henry welcomed me and congratulated me. He said that to become Ugandan you have to have malaria at least once. Gee thanks.

Lauren, who will be a great mother, dished out the medicine and told me when to take the next dose. She reminded me to eat a little, to hydrate a lot, and to keep a puke bucket nearby. Oh yea! I had a few sips of passion juice, and about six Cheerios – God bless Marty for those Cheerios. I lay in bed tossing and turning until morning with only a few hours of actual sleep. The 2:00 a.m. medicine was accompanied by more ibuprofen and I believe the worst may be over. I’m still achy and miserable, but the fever seems to have abated or at least come under control of the Ibuprofen.

Tuesday Update: Rested well, laid low, eating good. On the mend...praise God.