Tuesday, January 31, 2012

My Official Welcome to Angola 28/1/12 I've started volunteering my time at the small school Sam's cousin, Helena, has started. It's so nice to feel useful again after many many months of low productivity. On Wednesday afternoon I went to the school at Mitcha. I helped Mattheus with the final editing of his history paper and he sent it off to the online teacher for grading. He seemed pleased with it, and I think it's a pretty decent paper, especially for his first attempt at writing an essay! Towards the end of the afternoon, I started to feel not particularly well. Not awful. But not right. I was feeling hot and having stomach cramps and just started to think I should probably start back home since getting back required a 10 min walk, a short taxi ride, and another 20 min walk, and if things got worse, that would be an infinitely less pleasant experience. I left around 4:15 and prayed that I'd stay well enough to get back. The first walk and taxi ride went ok, but by the time I got out of the taxi and started walking, I knew that I wasn't going to be able to complete the final 20 min walk back to the house. Thankfully I was able to catch a taxi from where I was, to a point very close to the house. I signaled quick greetings to Julina and made a beeline for the bathroom in time for some rather unpleasant South Korea. I'm sure those of you who aren't familiar with the lingo of the Fabiano household can use the powers of deductive reasoning and take a wild guess. I was suddenly feeling extremely feverish and had such chills that I was still cold, even under a duvet. And don't forget it is summer here. My temp was about 101.5F, (38.5C) I texted Sam. I slept a bit. By the time Sam came home I was feeling a little better, though still had the intestinal issues, but my temp had come down to just under 100F (37.5C). Things seemed to be improving. We had our regular dinner of tea and bread. The South Korea issues persisted, but I didn't feel too awful. We turned in for the night, then things went downhill. I started feeling feverish and having chills again. My temp was back up to 101.5 F. Suddenly I felt queasy and vomited twice. By this time Sam and I knew something was up and decided I should go the hospital the next morning for some tests. On a regular day that would be so easy, considering he works there. But this next morning, he happened to be flying to the bush hospital for the next 4 days for consultations. At around 6am Thursday morning, Sam was packing his bag and told me to call him when I was at CEML. We said goodbye and I dragged myself out of bed and tried to look presentable. I made an attempt at breakfast but the nausea was making it impossible to get anything past my lips. Eventually I found that I could drink tea and that seemed to help. Around 8:30 Eduardo took Julina to work and I rode along to get dropped off at the hospital. I began to feel a bit better. And I wondered if maybe it was just a 24 hour thing and if it was really unnecessary to be going to the hospital after all. However, we arrived at CEML and Eduardo helped with getting me registered since my Portuguese is still rather lacking, then told me to call when I was ready to be picked up. Thankfully there was at least one doctor at the hospital that day, an English-speaker, who could see me. Everyone knew I was Sam's wife and was so congenial and helpful to me. They got me in to see the doctor quickly and she ordered a range of tests. From there I went to the lab to have my blood drawn and then it was time for urine and stool samples. If you have ever tried to give a stool sample when everything you have eaten has been vomited up, I feel for you, because it's near impossible. (If you are easily offended or easily grossed out, feel free to skip to the next paragraph.) I have never, ever before seen stool that looked like snot. But I did that day. Clear, mucus-like snot. If I had been dubious about whether or not going to the hospital was the right decision, at that moment I knew I was in the right place. After some waiting for test results, I was back in the doctor's office for the verdict. As I sat in the chair across from her desk she looked up from my test results and said, “Well...you have a whole slew of things going on with you.” She proceeded to tell me that I have malaria, amoebas, and I tested positive for typhoid. (Welcome to Angola!) However, since the test for typhoid measures antibodies, and I have just recently had a vaccination against typhoid, it is likely a false positive, as it is very unlikely that I have contracted typhoid having had the vaccination, though not impossible. However, because of the presence of fever, she decided to treat for all three things. After receiving prescriptions for numerous medications and a quick trip to the pharmacy and the supermarket for bottled water, I was back at the house feeling hungry and tired. I ate some lunch, which went fairly well and laid down for a nap. Thursday afternoon was uneventful and I thought the worst of it was over, but later that night things took a turn for the worse and again it was the fever roller coaster, vomiting, etc. But as I sit here on Saturday morning, I think I can safely say that I am on the mend. The medications are working wonders, I ate solid food and kept it down, I had a full night's sleep last night and I feel human again. Praise the Lord Almighty, the Great Physician. Thank You, God, for doctors and all their hard work, for giving them the intelligence and the dedication to do what they do, and for the people who created Coartem, Metronidazole, and Cipro. And thank You so very much for the gift of health. =)

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