There is one thing I’ve been waiting for since we moved to Zimbabwe. The day that Kepler got proper sick. Given that malaria, tick bite fever, spider bites, and other scary illnesses are now on the list of possibilities, I wasn’t looking forward to it.
Well, I can now official say I survived it, and so did Kepler, despite my high stress levels and his high temperatures.
Basically, a few days ago, Kepler woke at 5.45am crying. He had been off the night before, and was complaining of a sore tummy. Next came some vomiting, then a bit of a temperature.
A few hours later, I knew something was wrong. Kepler was crying in a funny way. I went into his room and felt him. He was burning up.
Now, he was complaining of a headache too…the crying got worse, and we decided to head to the doctor.
Three scary scenarios (well, three main ones) were tumbling around my brain; tick bite fever – because two weeks ago I had to pull seven ticks of the little guy – appendicitis, because of the sudden temperature, vomiting and tummy pain, and malaria, because Africa.
THANK HEAVENS for my friend Chantel, who sent through every doctors detail we could possibly need, and directed us to the best clinic for the situation.
We sat in the waiting room while I wondered how I was going to hold back my panic tears and make sure the doctor did his job. Unfortunately, I had heard a lot of horror stories involving medical malpractice since getting here…so I basically felt like it was my job to figure out what was wrong, then force the doctor to proscribe.
We got into Sister’s room (that’s what they call the nurse apparently), and she took one look at the little guy, and asked if malaria could be a possibility. His temp was at 39 degrees, he was pale and lying still against me, his breathing was shallow and rapid, and I said yes.
Sister got out a little kit, pricked Kepler’s finger for a blood sample, and we sat waiting for the result. Two minutes later it was negative. Sister assured me the test was accurate.
From there, we were allowed to navigate around a chair into the doctor’s room. After a few questions about when symptoms first showed up, the doctor came over and in a very calm, mild voice, told me we would start from top, and check the little man right down to his tummy.
I instantly relaxed. He was SO CALM and chilled. As he checked Kepler’s throat, ears, breathing, lymph nodes and tummy, the doctor explained to me what he was thinking.
He must have dealt with foreign mum’s before. It worked a charm on me, and pretty soon I was thinking this was all totally under control.
Then the doctor, in his very chilled, calm voice, told me he thought it was a respiratory infection, but wanted to check for tick bite fever and appendicitis just incase…in the meantime he was going to put in a cannula and hit Kepler with two different broad spectrum antibiotics, as well as an oral.
It doesn’t really matter how calmly you say all that, any mum instantly wonders why the urgency in hitting a child with THAT many types of antibiotic.
After enduring holding my child while a cannula was inserted, and drugs pumped into him, then watching with trepidation as a scan was performed, we were sent home.
By 4pm, results for all our main fears were back negative. The only thing the scan showed was swollen lymph nodes in the stomach. So it was back home to sweat out the night and see if the antibiotics would work.
After a rough night involving very little sleep, we awoke to a much happier little man. From there it was back to the doctor for our third and final dose of intravenous antibiotics, then home to rest and cuddle mummy.
And I am very pleased to report that I now have a very happy little man on my hands.
So we have survived the day I was dreading, and I now have a pretty good idea of what to expect with medical care here. In a phrase, they don’t muck around.