Terri has been sick this week. She was well Saturday night– we ate soup and bread, went to bed as usual, ready to go to Easter service in the morning. About 2 or 3am Terri woke up feeling bad, and with a fever. In a short time she began throwing up, the fever got worse, and she continued to ‘try’ to throw-up, although by that time, there was not much left in her stomach.
We watched her all day Sunday, and then Monday. She was able to drink, but was not able to eat anything– the nausea would have just brought it all up again. The fever was strange–it went up and down. At one point it would be going down, about 99, and a few hours later be back up around 104, then down again. And she was in a LOT of pain in the stomach area.
Her first thought, of course, was Malaria or Dengue fever. Most of what she was experiencing fit, and we were in the Congo…
Finally, on Tues morning, with no change in her condition, we took her to a local clinic. By that time she was so weak, she could hardly walk. Shortly after arriving, they got her to a bed, gave her some pain meds. Then they began taking blood, urine, etc., for tests to see what she had. They took ultrasounds, and Xrays, and used all of the limited resources they had at their disposal.
They found two things: a high white blood cell count– which meant she had some kind of infection; and some blood in her urine (which didn’t mean much at the time, as Terri almost always has some blood in her urine).
They ruled out Malaria, and Dengue, and all the other ‘local’ problems we all assumed she would have… and the first diagnosis was pancreatitis. Both Terri and Dr Hoffman (the Area Mission Doctor that we had been in contact with), seemed to agree with this. But they ran the specific tests for this twice, and both times it came up negative.
In the meantime, since they knew she had an infection of some kind, they had been giving her antibiotics, fluids, and pain meds. And the antibiotics had begun to work, and she was getting a little better.
When it was clear that Terri would be staying in the clinic overnight, and after all the tests had been taken, they moved her to a private room that had an attached bathroom and shower area. The were treating us very kindly, and we were very impressed by their professionalism, and the care they were giving, not just to us, but to everyone there.
She stayed in the clinic overnight, so they could watch her and continue to give her medication, and she stayed most of the next day (Weds). But by evening, we decided to take her home. They had ruled out everything else, and although the doctor talked to us about what he thought she had, we didn’t quite understand him. What we knew was that they were not going to be doing anything more than giving her meds and watching her, which we could do at home, where she would be much more comfortable.
So we went home, and put her to bed. She continued to take meds and drink water (she was just starting to eat a little– a banana and some home-made apple sauce Sister McMullen had made for her.
We watched her all Thursday, and she continued to get better. About noon we returned to the clinic so Terri could get another shot of some kind. At that time we went over the diagnosis and treatment again with the doctor (he spoke French and a little English, so sometimes it was hard to understand). The conclusion he had come to was that it was a kidney infection (very unusual)– but once that was said, and his reasoning, it made sense; and both Terri and Dr Hoffman agreed. The treatment? Antibiotics and pain meds. So she was simply to keep doing what she had been doing, and it would eventually go away.
As Terri was getting better, on Friday I went with Eric, the construction overseer from Kinshasa that had come to Lubumbashi and wanted to talk with me. He had been in town since Tues, but, of course, the timing was not good. I spent most of Friday with him.
Terri is getting better very slowly. She is eating more, up and out of bed more, etc. And will soon be back to normal.
Just a last note: we were very impressed with the clinic, the doctor, and the way we were treated. Terri was very familiar with their circumstances– in fact, they had even less equipment and staff while she worked on Tinian for two years! So she fully understood their limitations, and they did very well, under the circumstances. They made it clear to us that if they thought she had something they could NOT take care of, they would send us out-of-country. For example, had it been pancreatitis, we would have been on a plane to South Africa (we already were discussing plans for that with Pres. McMullen). So they knew their limits.
Anyway, it was a great introduction for Terri into the medical world that is the Congo… eh?
Will give you an update later on.