Thursday, March 01, 2012

a trip to the doctor

 TIA story today brought to you by Josh!

Many times throughout even one day we think to ourselves “well,TIA, this is Africa” and laugh about the randomness of life here. Sometimes, though, it is hard to laugh and things are really difficult. This week we had one of those days. 

fast asleep on Monday morning, holding his tummy :(

We have been blessed since arriving here with good health. We praise God for that, as it seemed before arriving here we were always battling some type of sickness. When we do get sick here there is always a heightened sense of concern because well, “this is Africa”.  On Sunday of this week Seth fell asleep around 6:30pm and slept for 12 ½ hours. He seemed fine all day Sunday and so we were not concerned when he fell asleep so early and figured it was simply exhaustion. Monday morning he woke up very early complaining of a stomach ache. No other symptoms and he was able to go back to sleep. When we woke for the day his stomach was still bothering him and at some points he would cry about the pain. We kept him home from school and he ended up falling asleep on the couch for over an hour and developed a fever that reached 102F. Our usual high energy child was not himself and we knew something was wrong.

I, Josh, decided to take him to the hospital knowing that if they needed to test his blood he would be a bit to strong for Kelly to hold down so the doctor could do it. We spent a total of about 4 hours at the hospital and the 4 hours progressively got worse and worse. After they took his weight and temperature it was time for medicine to drop the temperature. Let’s just say that for some reason their procedure is to NOT give medicine through the mouth. Painful event #1. 

We waited a little longer and then got to see the doctor. She was very nice and as expected wanted to do a blood test and unexpectedly wanted a urine sample. We went to the lab and had the blood drawn. Painful event #2. 

Then I had to try and get Seth to pee in a tube. Let’s just say Seth does not pee very often and definitely not on command. The bathroom there was less than ideal and we tried 3 different times to fill the tube. Each time I had to “clean” the toilet seat so Seth could sit on it. GROSS! No luck. His blood test was finished and it revealed a bacterial infection. Urine test unnecessary as we found the problem in the blood. Instead of being frustrated that I wasted so much time in that bathroom I decided to be excited that I could stop going into that bathroom. Back to see the doctor.

Here is where the cultural collisions showed up. The doctor strongly recommended 2 doses of IV antibiotics for Seth followed by 5 days of oral antibiotics. I asked if the IV was necessary as I knew this would not be a pretty scene. She said it was a pretty bad infection and this was the best course of action. Cannot argue with that! Time for painful event #3. 

We went and sat down for the nurses to set the IV. I explained to Seth what was going to happen because I did not want him to be surprised. He was not excited! The nurse came, tied the “rubber band” (read: latex glove) around his arm and began looking for a vein. #1 Seth hated that “rubber band” around his arm. #2 Seth is still chubby and finding a vein was not easy. She checked both arms (meant moving the “rubber band” numerous times) and decided to go after one of the veins. She failed. MISERABLY! So here I am struggling to hold this child who is screaming and doing everything he can to get this nurse away. The nurse is “searching” for the vein and finally I tell her “that’s enough, you can’t find it.” She ignores me. Then I say “NYABO! (which means “Madame.” In Luganda) WE ARE FINISHED! TAKE THE NEEDLE OUT!” My anger attracted 2 more nurses and I explained to them all that I was not going to sit there and let them dig through my sons arm looking for a vein. They looked at me like I was the weakest Father on the planet and that I was crazy. They kept telling Seth “Oh baby, stop crying. Stop crying.” You don’t show emotion here. I am assuming a “good father” would have joined in with the nurses telling my son to “stop crying” and let them continue searching for the vein. They promised to stop sticking him with the needle until they could find a good vein. They looked on his feet (I still don’t understand that one) and arms (meant more “rubber band”). Finally one of the nurses said “why don’t we try the “main vein?” A BRILLIANT idea that ought to have been mentioned from the beginning. Right below his elbow was a vein clearly visible and they got the IV in right away. It meant more crying by Seth but it was very quick. We all breathed a sigh of relief. 

silly face, and huge bandage keeping the IV line in place

Seth is healing and is already back to his normal self. This was one of those “TIA” moments that I still cannot laugh about and probably never will. I am not angry with the nurses. They were doing their job and my son’s chubby arms did not help. I think this scene may have been a bit easier in the states, but probably just as many tears from Seth would have flowed. The one moment I can laugh about is when the doctor looked in Seth’s mouth and told me “Yes, his tonsils are not enlarged so that is good.” I bit my tongue and smiled, nodding and thinking, “that’s great because they were removed a year ago!” TIA!

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