Sunday, February 14, 2010

Even Hypochondriacs Get Sick

Continued from yesterday's post:
Tom’s night was less than restful. Part of it was being wound up over his exciting evening but it was something more. He felt completely unwell and had a dry cough that concerned me. We checked out of the hotel and headed to breakfast at our favorite place where we can enjoy yummy American style breakfast and do our internet at the same time.
  We had hardly placed our order though when Tom felt so terribly that we jumped in a taxi and headed to the clinic.

  I knew Tom was sick but you have to understand that Tom is very much a hypochondriac so I also had a hard time taking his complaints seriously.

  What took place at the clinic was enough to give me a reason to chuckle:
Doctor: What symptoms do you have?
Tom: Everything! Everything is wrong! First I had a bad cold....I still have a cough...see, phlegm.

Tom: My urine is brown!! (sorry for TMI—it’s important to the story)
Doc: Well, does it hurt when you urinate?
Tom: (disappointed look crosses his face) ….no

When the doctor left the room Tom looked at me and said, "Just tell them to give me a nice big dose of morphine."
He then asked me to tell him where his kidneys were so he could point out that they hurt because they had completely failed!

The doctor decided to draw some blood and tied off Tom’s bicep with a tourniquet.
Tom: OW! I would never want to be a drug addict if I had to do that every day!

The doctor looked at me and said, “He’s feeling quite sorry for himself isn’t he?"

It turned out that Tom’s liver wasn’t functioning well—most likely due to the malaria. Malaria parasites attack the liver so it is really hard on it. The medicine to fight malaria is just as damaging. He needed to spend the night in the clinic and get a large amount of medicine in an IV. One of the medicines made his muscles all twitchy. He kept trying to get up and get off the bed. I’d put him back down and then a couple minutes later he was bouncing up again. It also made it hard for him to speak so he would move his mouth but nothing intelligible came out.

  I was so thankful we found this clinic. It was nice to be in a place where I could trust that the doctor knew what she was doing and they had access to lab work and good quality medicines. Of course I still hardly left Tom’s side because while I love this clinic, on my first ever visit there with my son the clinic officer (equivalent to a physician’s assistant, perhaps?) was surprised that he was only 15 years old. “But you’re taller than me!” he exclaimed. Not the kind of thing that inspires confidence in someone’s medical training.

  Another thing I was thankful for was that we had ‘just happened’ to be in the capital city when Tom got so sick and not in the bush. We had gone back and forth over whether we should both have gone down and especially after the immigration debacle we thought we had made a mistake traveling down together. Once Tom got sick we were so grateful that things had worked out that way. The thought of Tom being alone either in the bush or in the capital city when so sick was not worth thinking about. The fact that we were right next to the help we needed was wonderful. Isn’t it great how God works things out?

  When the effects of that one weird medicine had worn off and Tom was resting peacefully, I dashed out for some dinner and to let people know via email what was happening with Tom. I     took the opportunity to get my favorite food—Indian! I also bought juice for Tom to help his liver heal. When I got back to the clinic I found that the two IV bags had done him a world of good because he proceeded to eat half my food. Then he told me I had to order a pizza too.

  After a night of rest Tom was feeling much better. He still needs to take medicine for a while to restore his liver and watch his diet and we’ll have to repeat the test later. At the time of writing this he is stronger and nearly restored to full health.

Tomorrow: last episode of our Lusaka saga.


  1. And what color is his pee now?

    You started it.

  2. Musing Mom: Clear, clear, clear! Hallelujah!


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