Tuesday, October 18, 2011

How it All Went Down:

Because I know you are all curious, here are the "bullet points":

Wednesday, September 7th:
      - out all afternoon at weekly market with my site mates, Catherine & Meghan
      - attended football (soccer) match in Meghan's village
      - left match early to get home before dark
      - frustrated that I was so tired bike riding only 3k (in the African bush)
      - suspected fever when I got home because I knew it was hot outside and it felt good
      - took temperature, well over 100F
      - rapidly felt worse, fever continued to rise by the hour
      - text messaged the duty medical officer, instructed to take ibuprofen, call next morning

Thursday, September 8th
      - waited all morning to hear from medical officer
      - finally call her; apparently she'd been trying but phone calls wouldn't go through
      - convince her that I feel awful, fever still persisting, send Peace Corps transit
      - PC driver Sam arrives at 3:30pm
      - get back to city at 7pm, draw blood, see doctor
      - spend night in med unit (air conditioned bedroom in health office)
      - meet Dr. Ararat, regional medical officer from Senegal, who is filling in in The Gambia for a week
      - Dr. Ararat spends night on couch in office waiting room = instant bond

Friday, September 9th
      - wait all day for lab results, lab not quick enough
      - develop itchy rash all over body and jaundice in eyes
      - decision to medically evacuate me to regional medical office in Dakar, Senegal
      - pack my small backpack (fortunately had my passport with me)

Saturday, September 10th
      - arrive to PC office in Dakar at 4am, attempt to sleep
      - meet MD after a few hours, draw more blood, have physical exam
      - testing liver & kidney functions as well as for all sorts of viral infections
      - sleep on and off throughout day, continue to itch and take tylenol to keep fever under control
      - informed that I'll be at the PC office in Dakar until further notice*

  • *I was never hospitalized during this experience. The "Med Hut" in Dakar is a dormitory-like setup in their regional offices. There are 4 bedrooms, a commons area, a kitchen, and bathrooms across the hall from the MD's offices and exam rooms. There are always a few volunteers rotating in and out due to their own medical adventures. During my time there, I met PCVs with an array of things: 2 broken feet (different PCVs), stomach viruses/parasites, malaria, mid-service physical exams, et al)


Monday, September 12th
      - ultrasound reveals normal pancreas, stomach, gallbladder, liver

Wednesday, September 14th
      - fever finally stabilizes into normal range without help of meds
      - rash and jaundice prevail
      - continue to have lab work every 48-72 hours, keep returning negative for viruses
      - another ultrasound reveals normal looking innards
      - Senegalese specialist suspects allergic reaction to malaria prophylaxis
      - start to build relationships with other 3 PCMOs (PC Medical Officers)
      - start new malaria prophylaxis, discontinue use of previous one

Thursday, September 15th
      - PCV friend Kim arrives from The Gambia to have her wisdom teeth removed
      - Dr. Ararat comes back to her home post after filling in in The Gambia for a week

Saturday, September 17th
      - high fever returns, bring down with ibuprofen
      - start 3 days of stomach virus on top of whatever is going on

Wednesday, September 21st
      - develop splitting headache on left side of head
      - appetite returning, rash slowly healing

Sunday, September 25th
      - meet first of my Lebanese family in Dakar: Mike, his wife, and 3 beautiful young daughters
      - have ice cream after lunch and they drive me around the city

Monday, September 26th
      - go to more Lebanese family's house in Dakar despite feeling exhausted
      - spirits lifted beyond explanation to be around "family," and eat good Lebanese food

Tuesday, September 27th
      - all but 1 PCMO leave country for 1 week for PC conference
      - start taking antibiotic in the event that this is caused by infection

Thursday, September 29th
      - wake up early to have NMRI done (basically an MRI) of my internal organs

Sunday, October 4th
      - wake up with a personality; convinced that the 1st malaria prophylaxis altered my personality

Monday, October 5th
      - Dr. Ararat informs me at 9am that I will be med evac'd to Washington, DC
      - leave PC office at 8pm, fly to Paris

Wednesday, October 6th
      - meet Ed on airplane from Paris to DC, associate director of safety & security for PC

Thursday, October 7th
      - arrive to DC in afternoon, part ways with Ed after he sees that I will get to where I need to be
      - staying at a hotel in Georgetown with about 6 other Med Evacs from all around world
      - my job here is to attend doctors appointments and meet with PC Washington medical staff

Friday, October 8th
      - meet with specialist in morning
      - diagnosis until proven otherwise: drug-induced hepatitis from 1st malaria prophylaxis
      - order more labs and that radiology films be read by US radiologist

Tuesday, October 18th
      - waiting for follow up appointment with specialist's colleague
      - continue to explore options for further PC service in a non-malaria region

1 comment:

Lindsay said...

Kate! I'm so thankful that you are recovering and (seem to be) doing well-- I really can't believe how this all went down. Still praying for you and looking forward to seeing what the Lord has for you!

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