Sunday, January 17 - The Sickness Diaries

It feels like it has been forever since I’ve done a blog feels like forever since I’ve done a lot of things actually. So...I’ll be making up for it in length. Anyone that has a short attention span – the summary in point form is:

  • I was sick.
  • It sucked
  • I’m getting better now but still not quite healthy
  • I'm really ready to start enjoying this rotation

For those that have a little more time on their hands, here goes:

This week has been a rough one. I’m writing this as I lie in bed. (And for some reason – maybe it’s that I usually blog in the early mornings instead of the evenings before I go to bed – but as I begin to type the past week's events, I’m hearing the song from the closing credits of Doogie Howser M.D.. Also, the doctor theme works with this post...)

Okay – back to my week. It’s been rough. I wasn’t feeling up to par Monday – blamed it on the moon; Tuesday again – not great, but hey – its week 2 of MG...and I never feel 100% on a Tuesday...
I go to bed and am awoken by a double storm.
Outside storm - I’m a pretty deep (and drooling) sleeper....and pre-cyclone season the rains have been loud enough to wake me up. Now that we’re in cyclone season – it seems to have amplified them. A lot.
But...I manage to drift off to sleep for a bit...and I’m awoken by my inside storm. I’m getting sick. From...both ends.

(I have to sidetrack again because I’m reminded of something that my dad used to tell me. Apparently, when I was little – I loved to talk about each and every time that I threw up. I could describe – in detail – the color, texture, time of day, location of the incident, what I was wearing at the time, the current prime minister (well...maybe not quite. I can barely keep track of it in my...(gulp) late twenties)...etc.
I could go on and on and on and on.
It seems that because of my MG stomach (which does not represent the opinions of the rest of MG-me) - I talk A LOT about puking on this blog. So – I hereby make a promise to keep the details to a minimum...and use the “P” word a maximum of ten times. That may seem like a lot...but...not when you’ve had the week I’ve had.)

Wednesday morning...I figure I’m well enough to go to work. I’m a bit hesitant to eat anything, so I sip on tonic water and by lunchtime...I’m feeling pretty good...I think. Almost hungry. I go out for lunch. Mistake. I last about thirty minutes at work – and I get a driver and get myself home – where I get sick. I’m sick the rest of the day/night (sick does not equal the “P” word, by the way) and can’t keep in fluids.

Thursday morning comes and I figure that it’s probably passed. And...It’s a seriously busy week for me...I don’t have a lot of time to be wasting with this sick business. I go to work just to test the waters – and I have a meeting that I HAVE to attend. Like HAVE TO.

Well – my body was in complete non-compliance with my mind...and five minutes into the meeting, I couldn’t fight it. I went and puked; and then stumbled downstairs to another expat; fell into his chair and told him I needed help. He arranged for a driver, helped me to the car, and sent me to the Expat ER (called the ISOS Clinic). I am in the backseat, in a lot of pain....the driver is driving like a madman to try and get me there as fast as he can, with his hazard lights on the entire time, honking a lot more than normal

(Side track again....honking is normal here, it could mean “Could you move over a touch so I can pass you?” or, “I’m passing on your left”, or “Can you get your goat from the middle of the road?”).

When he got to the first security checkpoint, he just honks and rolls down the window and says, “A sick, A sick!!” in Malagasy (and yes – even as I was sick, I was excited that I knew what he was saying. I had learned that word in Malagasy class when someone came to class hung-over).
The same treatment past security gates #2 and finally we are at the clinic. The driver helps me collapse to into the clinic where the doctor sees me instantly.

After poking, prodding, sampling – it comes up with – I have yet again – picked up some kind of bacteria that I can’t fight off. Baby expat with the never-been-out-of-North-American-body is a wuss.

I’m put in IV antibiotics and anti-puke; anti-stomach spasm; anti-diarreah; anti-acid....basically anything and everything that is causing my stomach pain and upset (all of the above) and I’m really dehydrated (from suffering from all of the above).

So, I spend all day doped up and drugged up and stuck to an IV – when around 16h00, the doctor comes in and tells me that I will need to spend the night.
I am not thrilled.

So I’m feeling horribly, I’m a bit scared, I am not convinced they actually know what’s wrong with me...but...since again, I am one of the luckiest people I know... I am comforted by visits from some wonderful expats who stayed with me, let me cry, or just let me not talk while they asked me questions and I answered them in one word answers (talking induces puking). And they still stayed...when they had to look at this:

I woke up in the morning...feeling...well... just as crappy as the morning before, but my pain was better managed. I continued to be hooked up all day to the IV – and then finally – near suppertime – I was freed! I could go home!

But – I had to continue taking all this medication...

And still felt like crap...

I was warned - if anything changed, I had to come back – ASAP. Urgh.
I went home, laid in bed, concentrated on sleeping, feeling better, and trying to not worry about work. And I started to feel worse. So, in the morning, I called the doctor – he came over to my house; and then had to get a driver to go and pick up some MORE medication ... and I spent the rest of the day, in my room....trying not to hate Madagascar... wishing for health.

Sunday morning...I.... started to feel like a real girl again!!! I could walk...without pain or having to concentrate on not puking. I even ATE like...a tiny little bit of food – and kept in down no less!

Later on in the afternoon, I was even able to walk to the pool, float in the pool for at least...five minutes...and even be driven to another expats house where I stayed for... maybe two hours. It nearly killed me because they went and played in the water and I ....sat there like a sick person sipping my water (and sometimes a fanta) while they hooped it up on scotch, beer, and wine. But I was just happy to be outside of my house in the company of people that maybe made me laugh too much.

The sick time kind of scared me. It’s never fun to be sick - in Edmonton or Africa– but it’s even less fun when you’re in a country that you don’t know; with people that aren’t your family and thereby legally bound to take care of you or to not be disgusted when you get sick in front of them; but...I think I’ll survive. After all...this is still MG...a country that I’m madly in love with...I just kind of had a fight with this week. I still haven’t forgiven MG...but I’m getting over it.

And...even though the people I’m here with aren’t my biological family – they did an incredible job of making me feel like I had an amazing family worrying about me and taking care of me and making sure that I was okay and missing me when I wasn’t places where I normally would be.

If I ever get sick for an extended period of time (like...more than 2 days...or...ok – more than 1 day.. ) I find that emotionally, I can get quite upset. I’m sad to not be able to go and do things that make me happy, and I was a bit lonely. But, without the visits, calls, flowers, stays, texts, and magazines (see below for one of the magazines someone got me...this was a laugh...)

....I wouldn’t be as happy as I am today. I’m still a bit down because I’m sick... it’s frustrating that I’m not back to my real self... but I think it’s a lot easier to get back to my normal abnormal self with the people around here helping me so much.

I hope this concludes the last of the sick diaries...and that my stomach is braver and more accepting of the MG bugs/infections.

I would love to close out the same way that Doogie would have... but I just can’t remember it how he closed out on his off-line blog (before blogs were even invented). Dammit. Oh, well.

To end on a cheery note – plans for the rest of the month are a staff xmas party, a BBQ, learning how to use my SLR camera; and my favourite yet – a trip to Lac Manambato for a welcome back/double birthday celebration (just have to wait until the roads are open...found out that they are close “until further notice”... See? MG and I are still kind of in a fight with each other...but I think we’ll make up real soon).