5 November 2012

Tropical Medicine

I've been thinking a lot about the Oregon Trail lately. And imagining our names popping up in pixelated tombstones. Here lies Sarah....
Make your own tombstone here.

There's something about being sick in Congo that makes you feel incredibly vulnerable. There's no good reason for this. We have a perfectly fine doctor and easy access to medication. Most of the time it's easier than going to the doctor in Virginia and using the Target pharmacy. But still every time I've been sick I'm pretty sure it's the end. Congo viruses feel stronger and more resolute to bring you to your knees. I imagine it's just what they felt on the Oregon Trail. Or at least the computer game version. 

My last battle with a Congo funk surrendered only after two types of antibiotics and several weeks of feeling sorry for myself. I finally dragged my throat to our beloved doctor who took one look and told me I had an infection of my pharynx, which I was embarrassed to add to the list of words I've learned in French before English.

Then he said the words every expat living in the tropics dreads: "You have to sleep without air-conditioning." Nooo! Are you actually trying to kill me? Just remove my throat now. It's worth it.

The next day Adam took himself to the doctor for a minor hand injury that was so silly I refused to accompany him to translate. The doctor then sent him to get an x-ray. I'm really kicking myself because it sounds like his adventure would have been great Mama Congo material.

The recommended "radiologist's" office was down a bumpy road in the middle of no where. Adam found himself in a familiar situation of explaining something in French and a gaggle of women laughing uncontrollably at his frustration. This really is the story of his life. (Why, oh why did I refuse to attend this spectacle?!)

$30 and couple of popped veins later, Adam returned to the doctor with his x-ray. He has a tiny* place on his hand that would have probably required a minor splint in the States, but in Congo he got a full-fledged, rock hard plaster cast almost to his elbow. Being the ever-supportive wife, my first response was, "Why did you let him put that on you!? How are you planning on taking care of babies now?"

"How am I supposed to take care of babies now?!"

To his credit, he has continued to wash out diapers, knead bread, swim and carry 2 babies at once. The only thing thus far he's asked to get out of is sliding down the slide into the pool with Charlotte. Okay, fine. I'll give him that.

Of course, both of our children are sick now. I knew this would happen, but I have doctor's office fatigue. So during my visit I preemptively asked how long I could wait before bringing them in. He said, "Eh, let them go for a few days with a fever, then call me." I trust him because at Charlotte's last visit she projectile vomited in his face and he didn't even flinch. That's the sign of a good doctor. Tropical medicine isn't so bad.

** After a re-reading of this post I realize I've disqualified myself from both wife-of-the-year and mother-of-the-year awards. I blame it on my throat. And self-pity.

1 comment:

  1. Oh No! I wish I could drop what I'm doing and come now!


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