Monday, September 9, 2013

Musa Update IV

Yesterday marked one week being back in our village with Musa.  The journey to get here was not without its drama. The morning I was to take Musa from the hospital, I was talking with a nurse who informed me that Musa is a sickle cell patient.  (This is a disease that isn’t uncommon here but we hadn’t tested for it at my hospital.) I panicked. As sad as I was to take Musa home to most likely die, I’d come to terms with it and was ready to move ahead with a plan. This new information threw everything off.  Would the treatment change? Was there more we could do now? If so, how was I going to pay for it? While I was thrilled at the thought that we might be able to turn things around, my plans were all of the sudden thrown off and once again I felt like I had no idea what to do.
I waited around to speak with his doctor.  He confirmed that yes, he did have sickle cell disease. (This is a  genetic disease in where many of your red blood cells are in the shape of a half-moon instead of circles. This makes the blood unable to flow fluidly and often gets “stopped up” at the corners.)  However, he was still in need of dialysis. This new information helps us understand why he might have gone into renal failure in the first place. (I went home and was researching sickle cell on the internet and read that the most common cause for death among these patients is organ failure, particularly kidney failure). However, because his kidneys were already so damaged and were failing, our treatment course couldn’t change.  He still needed dialysis which meant that we were still taking him home.

The night before we were to take him home, I tested positive for malaria. I was a little relieved!! I’d been having symptoms for a couple of days but when I initially tested, it was negative.  When the symptoms returned, I thought that my alleged hypochondria was in overdrive and my coping mechanisms were just shot.  So when my weakness, nausea, fever and chills were explained with one little line on a malaria test, I felt glad that I hadn’t completely lost my mind. But now I was in a quandary. I hadn’t had this particular strain of malaria yet. And this was the bad one. The one that kills the white people. My co-workers that had had this one had been hospitalized, delirious and in need of IV fluids.  Apparently the symptoms are worst in the 12-24 hours after starting treatment. If I started treatment that night, I would be feeling bad right about the time I was beginning a day long drive up country with a carload of people and one sick kid.  I contemplated delaying my treatment and just risking it for a little while until I got home, but…..the nurse in me wouldn’t let me do that. This particular strain makes me afraid. I would say that anyone who was contemplating that was an idiot.  So I couldn’t do it. After a lot of deliberation, we decided that Musa could go and stay with his uncle for one night and then hopefully the next day I would feel well enough to travel.

God is so good. The morning after my mom announced to the world via Facebook that I was sick I got on in the morning and started crying at all of the people praying for and encouraging me. And praise God I didn’t get that sick! In fact it was my “best” case of malaria so far!!  So thank you thank you thank you!

The morning we were to travel I left the house at 8am.  We reached our village at 8pm. It was a grueling day. Between the traffic, bad road, potty stops for Musa and Marie and rest stops when Musa just couldn’t take the bumps anymore, it took us FOREVER to get home. But we did.  Musa looked awful. It took a lot out of him and he was exhausted.

I didn’t know what to expect when we got home. I’ve never done this whole “waiting to die” thing with a patient at home, so I really had no idea how long it would take.  My friend Peter and I have gone to see him every day since we arrived. For the first three or four days, he looked really rough. At one point he was so discouraged he said he’d rather die that continue to be sick like this. That was heartbreaking.  But then about three days ago, he seemed to turn a corner! He called me one evening crying in pain so I bought a medication to inject for the pain and went to give it to him. The next day when I went to see him, I was amazed at the difference! His breathing was better, he wasn’t in the pain anymore, and he said he felt stronger. He has gradually improved a little each day. 

Before Musa was sick Peter and I were doing a Bible Study at my house with him and a couple other people every Thursday evening. Last night we took the Bible Study to his house. I strayed from our previous topics and talked about suffering. I’d been thinking about it a lot lately. As I was preparing for the study I was overwhelmed by the hope that I truly do have because of Jesus. I know that my suffering is so small compared Musa’s and millions of other people all over the world. But I’m so thankful that to whatever degree I suffer, I have hope now, and I have hope for my future.

Thank you all so much for the encouragement that you’ve been to me during this time. You have NO idea how much it’s meant!!  I don’t know what the future holds for Musa…..but I’m praying that we will both learn to cling to the Hope that we have. 


Marie and I hanging out with Musa at his house

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