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Saturday, May 28, 2011

I apologize that I haven't written for a couple days. It's been crazy 'round these parts. I've been wrapping up a construction project that we received a grant to be able to do. It's wonderful to make improvements to the orphanage. 

On top of that, I've been doing my regular work--trying to keep up with all the paperwork that a charity generates.

But, most seriously of all, I've been caring for our babies. Nicholas (6 months old) has been sick for nearly a week. It started with some tummy issues. I kept an eye on him and waited to see what would develop--to see if it was a 24 hour bug. The following day he had symptoms that were classic malaria so we treated him with the malaria medicine most recommended for tiny babies and pregnant mothers. I also switched him off milk for a day to give his stomach a rest and only gave him oral re-hydration (ORS) fluid. He didn't really improve. The next day we added some watery, salty baby cereal and while his diarrhea seemed to be curbed, his vomiting continued. 
His eyes have been sunken and he is quite listless. Thankfully, his skin has retained its elasticity so he wasn't badly dehydrated. The fluids were doing their job. 

When the vomiting didn't stop, I took him down to the clinic to see about putting in an IV so he could get fluids intravenously and give his stomach a break. I also wanted to get an injection for him to stop the vomiting.
I could write an entire post about the clinic experience, but let's leave it at the fact that they could not get an IV started, there was no 'doctor' on duty, and the clinic had no IV drugs to stop the vomiting. Eventually the nurse said she had medicine at home. She walked home, came back with the vial and gave Nicholas his shot.
We also decided to do another round of a different malaria medicine.

The medicine seemed to work. In the morning, Nicholas looked a bit better. We reintroduced milk slowly and kept giving him extra fluids. By the afternoon though, Nicholas had faded again. He was vomiting again, but funnily enough it was only when he had ORS fluids, not milk. I gave him some syrup to stop the vomiting and by the morning he was a bit better.

The thing with malaria is that you can feel so much better in the morning but the symptoms come crashing back at night. Friday afternoon Nicholas was 16 hours away from being done with malaria treatment but looked worse than ever. He was limp and listless.

All this time I had been looking after Grace and supervising Nicholas' treatments along with taking him to the clinic. I needed to be able to sleep (somewhat) at night and feeding a baby 2-3 times at night is easier than sitting up with a sick baby all night. We employ a night nanny so I was relying on her to look after Nicholas per my instructions and I would check on him many times during the day and night.
But now, with Nicholas looking so terrible I switched out babies. Since the clinic could not get an IV started, I decided to insert the IV fluids in via the rectum. I wanted to give Nicholas a break from having to work so hard on sucking his bottle. The fluids were in overnight but didn't really make much of a difference.

As of now, we are still unsure what is wrong. He should be over the malaria. He is eating well (although we're still giving him frequent, small amounts) but tires so easily. He also seems to be in pain. His breathing is elevated when awake as if something hurts terribly. He has received a powerful antibiotic injection and we're waiting to see if it makes a difference. His vomiting and diarrhea have stopped for which we are very grateful but we don't know what the underlying illness or infection is. 

Please pray for Nicholas' full recovery and that the antibiotics will work fast and furiously. I am incredibly grateful that Nicholas is not one of our HIV babies. At least he is fighting with everything in him. Thank you for praying!

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