Wed, Aug 14, 2013
I’d like to apologize for the long gab between posts. This past month has been very full of medical surprises and has required much of my time.
A few days after my return from the trip with the older girls Nancy started to run a 100.3 fever. This was nothing to abnormal so as usual we monitored the fever and gave Nancy paracetamol to help bring it down which never really last more than a few hours. Two days later her fever came back, it was around 101. I had been running errands that’s day aware that the fever had returned so I had instructed the nannies to call if her condition got worse. By 3:30 pm I was back at Kay Angel. I went to check on Nancy who had gotten worse since lurch time. She had labored breathing and the nannies told me that despite the fact that they gave her Paracetamol around an hour before her fever was getting worse. She was at 104.2. This was how it started In January when she was admitted in to the hospital for pneumonia. Her fever needed to come down ASAP.
I sent Youseline out to get more minutes on my phone so i could call the doctor. In the mean time Estania and Melinda helped me draw water from the basin and prepare a bath for Nancy. We dipped Nancy in the water in hopes of cooling her boiling body. As soon as Yousline returned i was on the phone with her doctor. He asked if I had started to take steps to bring down the fever which I had. Since her breathing was labored he recommended that we get an Xray done ASAP in the morning since the hospital was closed at this point, it was 4pm. I wanted to avoid hospitalizing Nancy if possible so I felt it was important to look at her lungs sooner than later. I told Doctor Ernest that i would call him back in a bit because I had friends at the Cuban hospital who may be able to do the Xray now verses later.
I jumped on the phone with another doctor friend of mine to see if he could drive us to the Cuban hospital which was 20 mins away (our car has been broken for 2 months and is unsafe to drive). He agreed and came for us not long after. With in an hour of arriving at the hospital we had Nancy’s X-ray done and a diagnosis. Her lungs were not well but she did not have pneumonia yet. They prescribed her a super antibiotic as well as some steroids in hopes of stopping the infection before it had a chance to develop further.
On July 22nd Nancy’s condition had not improved. As soon as the hospital opened Nancy and I were first in line to see the doctor. After examining and a few blood test later Nancy was admitted to St Michel hospital. Her CD4 count had dropped below 400 which meant her ARV meds had stopped working (ARV’s are the meds that our kids take for HIV) Nancy was venerable to any and all infections. With in hours of arriving at the hospital she also started to develop a yeast infection in her mouth.
I met with her doctor at the HIV clinic and he walked through the next steps in her treatment. We needed to change her ARV meds, start her on an IV, give her super strong antibiotics, put her on oxygen, and start her on a 2 week oral gel treatment for her yeast infection, and get tested for TB. She would need to stay in the hospital for the next week to monitor her condition and to make sure the switch in medications were working.
Despite all this heavy news and not so desirable situation Nancy was in great spirits. She cried a bit during all the blood tests but she was smiling the rest of the time. I brought my laptop everyday and we sat together watching movies. When she regained enough energy to sit up on her own and was off the oxygen we would sit and draw flowers together. By the end of the week she was drawing flowers for all the nurses and eating them with some sock puppets that some friends had left her. Over the weekend I snuck the older 3 girls in to the pediatric ward and they played dominoes with Nancy for a few hours. The day she was released I walked in around 8 am. Nancy was sitting on the edge of the bed. Her bags were packed and she was smiling the biggest smile I have ever seen her bust out. She gave me a morning hug and announced that she would not be sleeping nor sitting in this bed one more minute. I laughed and was forced to agree. It was a few hours before i could get the doctor to sign her out but the second he did we made a run for it! there was some paper work i needed to finish at the hospital but fortunately it was lunch break so i had an hour before anyone would return.
When Nancy walked in to the orphanage to rejoin her siblings she was greeted by a charging herd. All the kids came running out and surrounded her with hugs and welcoming words. The kids all spoke at the same time but the message was the same across the board. Nancy was missed and we were all glad she was finally home.
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