Saturday, July 24, 2010

Back to the States

Gosh, I don't even know where to start....but I guess saying that I am unexpectedly back in the states. My return is over a month premature and it has been bittersweet. It is so good to be back in my own home in the care of my parents and it is comforting to be in close reach of adequate health care. But I miss Kenya already.

I started feeling ill about 2 weeks ago and the nurse at camp thought it would be best if me and another counselor went to the clinic. We went to the clinic and had some blood test done and it was decided that Jonathan had malaria and I had tonsillitis (even though I don't have tonsils) and the flu. We were both given medicine to treat our symptoms and sent on our way. Jonathan, thanks goodness, was already feeling better the next day and was all better soon after that while I continued to get sicker. At this point we were pretty sure that they had switched the blood tests and I was actually the one with malaria and that was confirmed when I went back to the clinic a few days later.

I was optimistic that we finally knew what was wrong and I had already been sick a week with out being able to eat and was ready to get better. The medicine was supposed to take a few days to start working and get rid of the malaria completely, so when it got to day 2 of the dosage and I was still getting worse, we decided that I needed to go to the emergency room and were expecting that I would be admitted to the hospital then since I had not held anything down in a week. More blood tests were run and the doctor said I simply had a minor UTI. At this point, I was angry and upset because I knew something was wrong and that it was a lot worse than just a UTI.

A day or 2 passed after the ER visit and I was still getting worse, so again we decided to visit a doctor of internal medicine. The first first look he got at me, he knew there was something seriously wrong and it was comforting to know that there was actually a doctor in Africa that not only cared, but wanted to figure out what was wrong. I was immediately admitted to the hospital and again, lots of tests were getting run. Before the tests came back, the doctor did a sonogram and a few other basic tests and had guessed that salmonella and e-coli were the root of all of my problems so he began treated me with a strong antibiotic. Within hours of being treated I was feeling better and the next day I was able to eat and keep it down in over a week.

The tests came back and it was concluded that I did have salmonella a long with another parasite as well as my malaria from the week before that. I was so glad to finally know what was wrong but I also understood that it was going to take a while for me to get back to normal. The doctor wanted to keep me in the hospital for a few more days but since I was feeling better and I knew my parents were very worried, I was released so that I could get back to the states. It was a hard decision to make because I love Kenya and I love the BlueSky staff, but after everything that had happened over the summer on top of the illness, my parents and I thought it was best I came home.

I was booked on the next flight back to the states the next morning at 8am and though I didn't think things could get worse, they began to when we showed up at the airport. When we got there (I was traveling with Purser) we were notified that our plane was delayed over an hour and then it was going to have to travel to Mombasa (an hour out of the way) to fuel up. We would reach Amsterdam 4 hours late and therefor miss our connecting flight to the states. We were optimistic that we would be able to get another flight out that night because of my condition, but when we arrived in Amsterdam, they told us there were no more flight out and we would have to stay the night in Amsterdam. As angry as we were, I was feeling much better and we were going to make the best of it. We ended up at an amazing hotel and had a good time while we were there. We woke up early the next morning to make our flight, and again I expected all the bad stuff was passed, but again, I was wrong.

Our flight was delayed 3 hours. We passed the time by doing some looking around and by the second hour, I started going downhill again. We finally boarded the plane and by the time we took off, I knew it was going to be a rough flight. My malaria was back (once you contract malaria, you have it for life). I was up ever 15 minutes throwing up for the entire 9 hour flight and dealing with the other malaria symptoms (excruciating body aches, fevers, chills). By the end of the flight I was incoherent and had to be wheeled through the hospital.

So now I am home and glad to be under the care of my parents. I am on the way up again but also recognize this isn't something that will go away in a few days. Right now, it is really hard to see what the Lord was thinking and what His plan is with all of this, but I have to trust Him and have faith that everything is for His glory. And if that means spending a week in an African hospital and leaving the place I love the most, I will do it.