Monday, September 29, 2008

Adventure: Ethiopia- Day Seven

The baby had a fitful night, or rather, fitful from about 2am on. When we got up, I could tell she wasn’t feeling well, and when I took her temperature, it was 104.3! I dosed her with Tylenol and Motrin, and left my mom with Pedialyte for her (she wasn’t interested in much else) and headed off to do some errands.

Lo and behold, the Internet was STILL not working, but I did get some money changed and picked up some bread at the Hilton. I also had a pastry from the café, but just so you know, don’t bother… wait and get something at Kaldi’s! It’s cheaper and yummier!

When I got home, Anna was still running a fever. The Tylenol and Motrin did not help a bit, she was lethargic, and she was breathing at a rate of 60-70 breaths per minute. I decided to take her to the clinic. I was nervous, partially because her fever was not coming down, partially because she was dehydrated/lethargic, and partially because she had pneumonia recently, and with the fever, nasty cold symptoms (since the time of placement!), and rapid respirations, I was afraid the pneumonia might be back. And 20 hours on a plane with a sick baby did not sound like fun!

Thankfully, the drivers were great. Tefessa was closest, so he picked us up and took us to the clinic. Anbes met us there. The guys took care of the papers, tracking down the baby’s records, and all the rest. I just tried to get her to take some liquids!

I will not elaborate on the clinic experience, but I will say it was very different than what you would experience in the US. I was frustrated because I know what the US standards for fever of unknown origin are, and I know exactly what would be done if I took Anna to a US clinic with a fever that was not broken by Tylenol and Motrin. Let it suffice to say that the US protocol is quite different than the Ethiopian protocol!

Finally, they gave Anna an injection that got her fever to come down from 104 to about 101.5, so that was a lot better. The doctor said some really distressing things (ie- that Anna’s liver and spleen were enlarged and that she thought Anna has TB!) and then told me that the reason Anna was sick was because she was hungry and had a sore throat. Um, what? Then she gave me amoxicillin (okay, that’s more like it…) and told me to take Anna to the US and have them explore it more.

Wow. That was different! I won’t get into my (very extensive and upsetting) thoughts and feelings about that, but I will say it was VERY different! Thankfully, they mysterious infection that was causing Anna’s fever seemed to respond to the amoxicillin, and her fever came steadily down until she was feeling much better and much perkier. I decided at that point to switch her to soy milk because she was also constipated (poor baby.)

The clinic visit took half of forever (okay, maybe about 3 hours?) We just chillaxed the rest of the evening… or rather, mom, Abigail, and Anna chilled out, and I called my fantastic friends/physicians and made sure that we agreed about the plan of care for Anna. I was really upset by the clinic experience, and really, that was the first (and one of the very few) things I saw in Ethiopia that would make me unwilling to live there full-time.

One thing I will say is that someone did a really good job of teaching Anna to take medicine! It is useless to try to giver her medicine when she is upset, but as long as she is pretty happy, she just swallows it down! Yea for whoever taught her that!

I don’t pretend that I will get any sleep tonight… I have Tylenol and Motrin and amoxicillin to give, and breathing to listen to, and temperatures to check… so for now, good night, and hopefully everyone will be better tomorrow!

1 comment:

Kimberly said...

Oh, if only I had read this earlier! I spent 3 days in 2 different Er's in Ethiopia, and know exactly what you were thinking. I am glad it all worked out. Continuing to pray for you all! -Kim Seitzinger