Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Pests and Pestilences

Poor little Joseph is sick again. About two weeks ago he contracted a cough. He also began getting fevers. We treated him for malaria--the smart thing to do when a small child has a fever--but he didn't improve. I hesitated to give him any antibiotics because after his hospitalization (and the huge amount of medication that was dumped into his system) his body has been all out of whack. He had a terrible fungal diaper rash and thrush as well.
The medical officer that came out to make a house call agreed. He wanted us to be cautious about giving more medicines.

I used natural remedies: garlic milk and Vicks (baby version for the chest and back and the real version on the bottom of his feet), and once even a dribble of whisky. He looked healthy enough but he couldn't kick the fever and his cough sounded ugly. Finally we took him to the clinic where they prescribed 5 days of penicillin injections. This means taking him to the clinic three times a day. 

Every morning at 6 AM, every afternoon at 2 PM, and every evening at 8 PM, Tom and I climb into the car and drive the 1 Km. (half mile) down to the clinic. The clinic person is rarely there on time so I will call them up or go to their house to remind them that it is time for injections. I'm not the only one there. To keep things simple, the clinic schedules all injections to take place at the same time. This is good for them, perhaps somewhat good for us since we know the nurse is supposed to be there at a certain time, but also not so good because it means a bunch of sick people loaded with germs and little regard for personal space have all gathered in one small area.

Usually I try to wait outside so there is some fresh air helping to blow away icky bacteria. Standing outside is better for Joseph in another way too. He recognizes the treatment room now. As soon as we enter the room, his little face scrunches up and he begins to fuss. He knows what's coming next.

So, the other evening, I arrived at the clinic and there was already some delay because the clinic had run out of syringes and the medical officer was hustling from room to room trying to locate some. It was dark and drizzly. I stood under the eaves of the clinic so as to avoid the worst of the rain, with a blanket thrown over Joseph's head to keep him dry. The treatment room was filled with people and even more were crowded around the doorway along with me.

I had been standing there about five or ten minutes when something landed on my neck. Something soft and rubbery. I pushed it off immediately and willed my heart to keep beating. My first thought was that it might have been a gecko. Every once in a while a gecko will fall from the ceiling when either through love or war, they get too frisky and lose their footing. 

Gecko picture taken by Tom.
You can see more of his African Creature photos by clicking here and looking at the photo gallery

I fumbled with my BlackBerry to find the flashlight app to see what it was that had hit me, and more importantly where it had gone next.

Then I spotted it. Crawling up the wall in its unique hoppity, creepy way. A bat!

This is not the same bat. This is one that was photographed about a year ago on our front porch. I was so shaken this past evening after my close call that I couldn't get my camera working in time.

All the ladies standing in and around the clinic found my adventure quite entertaining. At least I did some good that night.

It has now been 24 hours so I'm reasonably certain I'm not going to grow fangs. My good friend in Belgium asked that if I do begin to sparkle to please eat the goats and not the children. With the adorable specimens we have around that may be a challenge.

Almost Exactly One Year Ago: Life, or Something Like It


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