Today was a bit of a scary day. Medical care and I are not great friends. I hate to seek it. I will tough it out through most things and rarely opt to visit a Dr.s office. Today, I had no option. So, I sought medical treatment in Ethiopia and that wasn’t even the scary part!
A few weeks ago, Chris and I visited several Ethiopian clinics in order to get a health check for our work permits. Visiting them left me in tears and quite certain I did NOT want to have to ever need their services. There are other options for ferenge (foreigners) here, but it’s still medical care in a developing country. I had a kidney stone attack (fairly certain) a couple of months ago. I opted to tough that one out and came through okay. Other than that, I’ve been pretty healthy while here until recently. For the past week, I have had horrible diarrhea (sorry, TMI). Stupid me, I should have started over the counter meds for this about 5 days ago–would have cost $2. Instead, I kept waiting it out. Today, I woke up with horrible pain that was new, but I had plans with a friend, so I just decided not to eat anything (don’t eat, nothing can come out) and try to enjoy my day. We stopped at one shop and I lasted about 15 minutes before I started to feel shaky, pukey and sweaty. I sat in her car. Went to the second shop and I felt better. Lasted about 5 minutes in there and decided I’d better go home. Boo.
Once home, I threw up pretty quickly, but there wasn’t anything in my stomach, so it was just saliva. The pain got more intense after that and all on my right side. Of course, my brain immediately went to my appendix. Chris checked me out and didn’t think that was it, but we weren’t certain. He asked if I wanted to go to a clinic and I shocked him with a, “Yes!”. This is a holiday weekend and I knew there would be very limited options until Monday if I didn’t go in and an appendix is not something you wait around and see on. Kidney stones are painful, but don’t typically explode and kill you. So, we drove to the Swedish Clinic. To my surprise, it was a lovely facility. The grounds were nice and the inside was immaculate. It was still in a developing country and there were many things that would not fly in the US, but overall, it was a good experience.
I couldn’t provide a stool sample (because I hadn’t eaten anything in nearly 24 hours), so the doctor is not 100%, but his best guess is an amoeba, though he checked for all the outward signs of appendicitis, as well. Since he knew I couldn’t really get treatment for the next three days, he opted to just start me on amoeba fighting meds right there. I got an IV of liquids–he figured I was likely dehydrated on top of everything else–and the first round of meds to treat an amoeba. About half way through both, the pain started to move from the right side to the middle of my stomach. Thank GOD for that. It was reassurance that it was not my appendix.
I came home and took a two hour nap and have since been able to keep down liquids and some ramen noodles (yep, we have those here!). I’m feeling about 80% better, but still need to kick this amoeba to the curb. It has been an interesting day and I have learned a few things:
1. Diarrhea for 2-3 days = okay. Diarrhea for 8 days = not okay. Next time, I’ll start over the counter meds day 4.
2. Clinic visit = $350. Over the counter meds = $2. Ouch.
3. Medical care here leaves a bit to be desired even at the ferenge facility (think blood all over from inserting IV and no gloves on staff–yikes!)
3. Chris and I seem to get really, painfully ill right around big events in our life here.
Now, I’m not an overly spiritual person at all. Meaning, I don’t often blame things on the devil, I think that gives him too much power in our lives, but after 4 months here, I am starting to notice a pattern and I’m feeling like I need to give credit where credit is due. Each time we make a great stride, or are about to, in our journey here, one of us–or both of us–falls very, extremely ill. Today, I felt horrible. The pain was unbearable. I asked for prayer on our way to the clinic and SO many people immediately lifted me up in prayer. The doctor would not treat my pain, in case it ended up being something more serious, and he told me the pain would last a while. I do not think the pain subsided so quickly (mid-treatment) because of the meds or the IV. I believe prayers were heard and answered, sincerely. I am so appreciative of the support base we have. We could not continue on this path if we didn’t have so many friends and family members dropping to their knees and praying for us–both when we request it and when we don’t. I give credit, praise and glory to God for carrying us this far and I know that He has great plans for us here and for the people of Ethiopia. We are on the verge of having our paperwork all sorted out and in place so that we can get to work–the work that God has brought us here to do. Of course this does not please satan. He will NOT win. He has NO power over our lives. Illness will not discourage us from this fight. It is NOT his to win. To God be the glory!
Please continue to keep our family and our health in your prayers, this definitely seems to be an area where the enemy continues to attack. Oh, and pray for our paperwork, too. Monday should bring some answers, at long last.