the down side....
Lots of days I write about how much we are learning, how amazing this place is, and how much I feel enriched and alive by living and working here. And mostly that is how I feel and want to share the abundance and gratitude we feel. But there is a down side. And right now it is kicking our collective butts.
I finally got online today after 3 days to lots of emails with amazing words of encouragement, prayers, concerns, and some FB junk (honestly stop inviting me to gigs in Chicago I LIVE IN AFRICA..ok, now that is off my chest). We are in Dar again. It was an emergency. Again. For Evy. I am honestly so tired physically and emotionally that I make no claims this post will make sense at all but I just wanted to express my gratitude for to everyone that has uttered a prayer from far away, called, sent a message, or thought of our family this week.
Short version....Evy, Anni, and I all were sick on Sunday with fevers so we rallied, drugged up, and had snuggle fests watching movies on the laptop and tired our best to hide from visitors who found out we were sick and had to stop over to visit. We thought things were getting better but Monday Evy's fever went very high and remained high. We found out about a Danish doctor on the island who came to look at all of us on Monday and recommended we watch her carefully and control the fever with the stash of children's ibuprofen and Tylenol we had sent out after the last sickness debacle. Then after many hours of fever the doctor recommended we take her to a local hospital to get blood tests but also said if she continued to be sick since there was nothing he could really do on the island for her if she got sicker. We sat forever at the hospital amidst tons of locals and finally squeezed our way into the lab and had her blood drawn. No malaria. No typhoid. Supposedly everything was fine. On Tuesday morning her fever spiked to over 105 and she was listless and obviously her little body was wrecked with sickness. We were panicked she would have another seizure and made a quick decision that I would take her to Dar on the plane to avoid being stuck on our island if something else happened. Anyone who has ever held their sick baby knows how much your heart aches, how desperate your prayers become, and I was there once again. This is really true no matter where you are but here we live where the weight of decisions like this are so difficult because if you fail to act you could be in a situation that would quickly become an emergency. And for us to be honest this sickness stuff is grating on us. We know it is meant to discourage us and steal our joy and are battling to not allow that but we just feel so wrecked when our kids are hurting and when we have few options to help them.
After getting to Dar, and waiting thru over an hour of traffic in the back of a sweaty cab I arrived at the clinic with her. My cab driver was a complete rockstar though as after he heard she had a high fever and was really sick he drove down the wrong side of the road and asked some military people for help escorting us through what could have been at least 2 hours of traffic. He also then waited for us at the clinic to hear how she was. Awesome. Evy feel asleep in my lap and finally rested in the cab. After arriving the doctor ran tests and we now know she has a bacterial infection that showed up in very high white blood cells but no malaria or typhoid. We also know we really cannot rely on any clinical diagnostic tests on the island since we have now experienced false negatives, wrong medicine prescriptions, and complete lack of care. This is yet another reason my heart breaks for people here. Yes, we had to use money we were saving for a vacation, we are totally freaked out, and inconvenienced for the entire week BUT we have options. And we can help our children if they are really sick.
So after the test results we started the antibiotic injections. After the first day and night (with me sleeping next to her on the floor most of the night since I had no pack-n-play and she needed meds every 3 hours) I took her back the next morning but her fever spiked again and she screamed straight for almost 2 hours before crying herself to sleep. Poor baby. At this point in my complete exhaustion I called Jason and begged him to come over since I was not handling everything and really had not put the baby down for 2 days. I was desperate for reinforcements; for someone to write down the doctor's advice, pay the cab driver, make food. We are a team and I needed him. He was in the midst of craziness with Anni's school bus breaking down but agreed to head out after packing some more clothes for me and Evy and grabbing everything he needed. He and Anni arrived yesterday and we all went back to the doctor today. After getting injections for 3 days Evy is doing better, she is eating and drinking again. We are staying here though until we are sure she is better. For me that means no fever and acting like her Mtundu self. No heading back island side just yet. Plus, we are even hoping to take Anni to a pool to somehow redeem an otherwise very stressful trip. We have stayed with friends near the clinic and now are at some friends of friends a little farther out but with more room. It is actually very quiet even which is amazing and everyone has been so generous in housing and feeding our freeloading selves. Emails from many of you and neighbors and friends calling everyday to check in and assure us they are "ombea dua" (saying special prayers) for us has made us remember we are part of a family, a community. Which makes us know we are loved from afar and from a couple hours across the ocean. And that is powerful.