Tuesday, October 4, 2011

#60 - Scary

It’s been a really long day, but I would like to ask you for your prayers for our health.

Last night we had dinner with Tammy and Jamie to discuss some plans for our student missionaries. Tammy made some yummy fajitas with some real burrito shells that someone had sent her in a care package. The first clue that Olen was sick was that he didn’t eat any. He said he wasn’t hungry. Probably jet lag he thought.

We got home later. He was exhausted. We got ready to go to bed. He felt hot to me, so I took his temperature. 100.7.

“Oh great, Dear. You probably have Malaria. Do you want to start quinine tonight?”

We said we’d get him a test in the morning and wait to start quinine till the morning.

I got woken up at 4am to go deliver a baby. Same old story. Labor for a long time. Baby delivered with meconium. I couldn’t find the deLee suction. Nurse ran to the OR to get me another one. Baby ambubag wasn’t working well. I did mouth to mouth. Grandma actually came over to me after a couple of minutes to say it’s okay to stop. I said no. Cute baby girl is still living now. And actually doing well. Praise God.

I came home around 5am. I felt impressed that I needed to really pray extra hard today. I felt God’s peace before starting the day.

7am came and Olen still felt bad. He barely woke up. He wasn’t vomiting, but said he felt nauseated. I was the good missionary wife and let him stay in bed. I was pretty sure he had malaria. Zane stayed in bed with Olen, while I brought Lyol over to the Parkers.

After morning worship and the staff meeting, I went home to feed Zane. Anatole came over as promised to get Olen’s malaria test. Olen was very exhausted and stayed in bed, but said he would try to come round on medicine and pediatrics later.

I rounded on maternity. Thankfully the cute baby girl who delivered today was still living. I tried to get her to eat. She had the energy, but the mom had “agitation” (whatever that is), so didn’t really have any interest in feeding her child. I can’t figure out if she’s mentally ill or not yet.

On to surgery rounds.

It was getting late. I already didn’t scrub with Samedi for an interesting case of perforated intestine/infected abdomen because there were so many patients to round on.

I got Olen’s positive malaria test and bought him some quinine pills. I ran home. Gave him the meds and made him eat a banana. He looked really tired, but said he’d come in a few minutes to do pediatric rounds.

I started medicine rounds and by the time I finished, Olen had finished pediatric rounds and came over to Urgence with me. I noticed his scrub top was drenched in sweat. It was hot out but not that hot.

“I guess the tylenol helped your fever break.”

By this time it was around noon already. Juliette kept presenting patient after patient to us in Urgence. Where did she find so many patients? Olen sat at the desk in urgence, he started to doze off. He’s probably just tired I thought.

I had 3 new volunteers with me (2 premedical students and 1 nurse). I had Amanda, Anna, and Janna take turns interviewing the patients. We saw several, about 5 or 6. I would interrupt Olen’s dozing to ask him questions from time to time.

Then a guy came in with elephantiasis of his leg I think. “Olen, this is up your alley, not mine.”

“Olen, here drink some water.”

Nothing. He just spurted air out of the side of his mouth.

What? Olen is REALLY sick. He’s not really conscious. He is drifting.

The girls helped me bring him over to the examining table and I kicked the patient out. Stuff usually happens slow here. You usually have to write for meds in someone’s patient book, then the family member brings it over to the cashier. You pay, then bring it to the pharmacy, then the family members bring it to the nurses.....all before giving it to the patient.

But somehow, people just went to the pharmacy and got stuff for me thank goodness!

Nurses came from all places. One got an IV. I called for dextrose. Olen hadn’t eaten anything except a banana, so he was probably hypoglycemic. After one ampule of dextrose, we got a sugar which was normal by now if he had been low.

He looked white. Very white. Juliette took his BP. 70/40. By now he had IV fluids running.

“Please someone squeeze that bag to get it in faster. And get another IV line.”

Janna retook the BP. “It really is 70/40 Danae. And his pulse is thready.”

I start to freak out a little. Olen wakes up a little, but falls back asleep. He’s eyelids are very heavy. He just looks like he doesn’t have a care in the world.

Another nurse gets another IV started. We give a second dextrose. This is NOT my field. I’m NOT an ER doctor.

I ran to the office to find the pulse ox, but couldn’t find it. So I ran into the OR where they were doing a case to ask Simeon for one. I didn’t even put a mask/hat on.

Back at Urgence Olen started to improve. I asked him how he is. “I’m fine,” he would say sounding very slow and drunk. By now his BP had improved to 90/50.

I send Tammy a text to feed Zane formula if he was hungry because I was very late getting home now. He hasn’t needed to get formula yet, but I can’t store breast milk reliably here, so I had some formula saved for emergencies. But, the phone services aren’t working right now. I send Anna over to her house to relay the message.

After the 2nd 1/2 liter of IVF’s, he remained conscious. Tammy came over to tell me that Zane was asleep and fine. No need to worry.

Olen continued to say that he was ‘fine.’ At least his color was mostly back by now. We started him on the third bag.

It had been quite crowded outside of the ER consultation office. It’s not too often patients come to Bere Hospital and their doctor crashes on them.

The nurses said they heard people saying that they might as well leave. If their doctor got this sick, what hope was there for them? But somehow they stayed.

Janna and I walked Olen home. I’m greatful that we had been in the hospital where I could easily ask for help even though the phone services were down.

After a short break at home and making sure Olen was okay, I went back to see more patients. I saw maybe 10 or so more patients in our office. Then I found someone who needed a D&C for an incomplete miscarriage. Since the phones were down I did my own anesthesia without Simeon. I asked one nurse to help me who was already here. I gave her a shot of ketamine and then did the D&C.

By the time I got home again it was almost 6 pm.

Olen’s feeling better now. He ate a little rice and sauce for supper. He’s also forcing himself to drink some lemonade I mixed up for him.

God still has a plan for us. Please continue to pray for our health. Especially Olen having malaria right now. This was one scary day for me!


  1. Keeping you in my prayers! Keep strong!

  2. I know you don't know me, but I found the link to your blog in the Andrews University magazine and am following you all now. Will be keeping you in prayers! God will take you through!

  3. So scary to read about your day! I am lying next to my son in a US hospital just wishing I could share all the comforts and help. I love that Lyol is such a great doctor to help his Daddy. Best wishes and thoughts going your way.

  4. What a scary day for you! We are saying a prayer for you right now and will continue to pray. We love you guys!

    The Robertson crew

  5. Praying for you guys!!! you are a blessing to so many and God has big plans for your lives!!

  6. Scary Day!! Many Prayers coming your way!!

  7. Wow. You are famous now (if you weren't before). Just read your article in Focus and had to check out the rest online. Nice to see a familiar face on the cover. Danae -I know Olen from Andrews. I had forgotten he came here to LLU for med school... He used to come down to the Andrews pool and hung out with Kristian (sp?!) where I was a lifeguard. Am sorry to hear that he has been ill and am praying that he recovers. Sounds as though you have gone in to survival-mode but am relieved to hear that you have a good support system even if you do not have all the medical materials we in the western world take for granted. Glad to see you both are serving others in a place that desperately needs to know about God. Loved the story of the little guy who no one could afford to send to school. Would love to help in that area if you need it.

  8. Very scary! sending prayers up now that Olen continues to get better. God bless.