Thursday, January 16, 2014

Danica and Malaria

I haven't made the time to transfer pics from my phones and cameras yet so that's why I haven't blogged about Namibia and South Africa yet. But, I remembered I never told this story.

So, a couple months ago now, Danica started feeling ill. She said her stomach hurt and she had a really high fever and was just very lethargic. We have been warned continuously that any time anyone has a fever, they should be checked immediately for malaria. So, of course we headed to the clinic. There are only a couple clinics here where the company allows us to go for medical issues. At that time, there was only one in the city. So, I pack up the kids and we set off. I have Danica wrapped in her quillow because she was freezing cold. The driver sets off for the clinic.

Unfortunately, although this is the primary clinic for expats like us, that doesn't mean there is always an English speaking person available. I keep telling the people (in my limited portuguese) that my daughter is sick, has a fever, etc. Oh, and yeah, she had a couple mosquito bites. Eventually, an English speaking person comes around and tells me to wait.

These clinics are generally a first come, first serve type of facility and are always crowded. Not only is it a medical facility for expats but also local employees of the company and their families. There are no fees for visits, including medicine and special tests. So, Danica and I sat in a chair while Brayden and Danae complained about having no place to sit. Eventually, Dwayne came as well.

Yes, I called him frantic about my baby and complaining that he moved us over here.

After waiting about 45 minutes, we are seen by the triage nurse. Danica still has a fever, although not as high as earlier. We wait about 45 more minutes and are then called in to the doctor. He believes she has malaria but we have to get blood work done to prove it either way. I take Danica to the lab where she screams likes a crazy person while I hold her still so the nurse can take her blood.

I was so nervous letting those people poke my baby.

We wait about 30 more minutes and the doctor calls us back in. He said he is very surprised to say that she doesn't have malaria but instead has some unknown infection that her body is fighting off. He said all her symptoms pointed to malaria but, somehow, it's not there. He prescribes antibiotics, we go to the pharmacy downstairs to get the drugs, and we leave.

Later, I'm told that the same anti-malaria meds that we were taking at the time are also the treatment for the disease. The treatment is just a higher dosage that that to prevent. Since Danica is on the lower end of the weight limit for her dosage, it's possible that the drugs were already treating the malaria. She continued taking the anti-malaria meds and about 2 days worth of antibiotics and has been fine ever since.

We are no longer taking the daily malaria meds though. We have quite a few in case we need to start self-treating but have decided to just trust that God will protect us from the disease. And, we lather up in mosquito repellant daily. Because it rains very little here, we don't have a ton of mosquitoes anyway.

We thank God for protecting all of us but especially our baby.

Monday, January 13, 2014

Why we are here!

I'm back for real this time...

The main deciding factor for coming to Angola for 3 years was that this is a once in a lifetime opportunity. When will we have another chance to live in Africa and travel around the continent. At my children's school, they get 3 breaks a year. They have Spring break for a week in October. Remember, we are south of the equator so the seasons are opposite. They have summer break in December for 3 weeks and then a 2 week fall break in March/April. Additionally, because this is considered a hardship assignment, the husband's company gives a stipend for R&R trips.

For us, this means at least 3 African vacations yearly and then a trip to the US in June/July/August (not sure when we'll arrive or leave). After our stay here, we should have visited at least 9 countries.

We've already begun our travels and I will blog in depth about those this week. In October, we went to Namibia and visited the cities of Windhoek, Swakopmund, and Sossusvlei. In December, we headed to Cape Town, South Africa. Both of these trips were fantastic.

In March, we are seriously considering the African island nation of Mauritius (near Madagascar).

In addition to these, we are interested in Morocco, Egypt, Senegal, and Victoria Falls (on the border of Zambia and Zimbabwe).

Sometimes, this feels like a dream because we really can't believe we are here and seeing all these beautiful places.

I have a lot to write about and decided that today I would get back on it.

Until tomorrow...