Ok, so I’ve got a few minutes before my parents find me and kick me off the computer. I’m at least feeling better enough to write an update. Put in a phone call to Child Protective Services now. You can read the rest of this while you wait on hold. I already have a file open in the state of New Jersey, by the way.
I finished a week of quinine pills. Terrible. Yuck. Blech. And I never vomited a pill.
So Friday, Daddy talked to a pediatrician at Children’s Hospital Boston, Harvard, who does research in malaria. He told Daddy that there isn’t much resistance to artemether, Larium, Malarone, primaquine, quinine, etc... so he didn’t think it was malaria. He was leaning toward typhoid, and explained to Daddy that amoxicillin and Bactrim no longer work as well as they used to for typhoid. He said that I should start taking azithromycin for typhoid and, if that didn’t work, then Cipro. He explained that the Achilles tendon rupture risk is less than the risk of carrying typhoid around forever. He also explained that in the US they have quinidine, but that’s riskier for my little baby heart and not as effective as quinine. So if it was indeed malaria, I’d be just as well off here in Tchad. Lastly, he discussed with Daddy all the other possibilities, like cytomegalovirus, Epstein-Barr virus, mononucleosis, the autoimmune diseases, various horrenderomas, and really rare stuff like other parasites and fungi (I’m a fun guy!) and stuff.
The doctor recommended malaria blood smears, typhoid blood tests, complete blood counts, a Foley (WHAT!!!) catheter in my penis for urine tests (No way, Jose!!!), an x-ray of my chest (radiation therapy like Gamma!!!), etc.
We don’t have a functional x-ray, I voted no on the something-going-into-my-penis test, we don’t have platelets for the CBC, etc etc etc. Mommy and Daddy tried to get the malaria, typhoid and white blood cell count with differentiation done, but try as they might, nobody could stick my vein. So they just did the malaria test... My SIXTH malaria test!!!
All-in-all, it was an awesome conversation with the doctor and I could tell that Mommy and Daddy really appreciated it. They told me that if/when we went back to the states, they’d try to convince the pediatrician to leave Children’s Hospital at Harvard for Silver Spring, MD.
So after getting off the phone with the expert specialist man, my malaria test came back... POSITIVE. So after five NEGATIVE malaria tests and treatment with arthemeter, fansidar, malarone, mefloquine, primaquine, bactrim and oral quinine, all for the treatment of five NEGATIVE malaria tests... I get my first positive malaria test. What in the Sahel?
Mommy had been threatening to take me home after that conversation. Daddy and the "HAH-vahd" doctor I think convinced her that all the medicines were in Tchad.
Sabbath, Daddy drove a few hours away to give condolences to a nurse who lost his mother to a stroke. While Daddy was out there, Mommy took me to the hospital. I finished my seven days of oral quinine and was still having fevers. She had had enough.
She told me, ‘Mommy loves you, Zane, but we need to do some pokies so we can give you some medicine so we can make your owies go away.’
I said, ‘I understand, Mother. You need to place an intravenous catheter so as to administer quinine dihydrochloride so as to treat my malaria falciparum.’
She said, ‘I’m so happy you understand.’
I said, ‘No chance. I’m never in a million years going to let you poke me with a OOOWOWWWWWWWWOWWWWOW!!!’
Mary Charles (a boy’s name here), Hamadou, Abre and Seraphin 2 (the short one) tried like at least five or six times each. I’m a pincushion here! And without success.
Mommy brought be home with no IV and sent a mildly distressed text message to Daddy. Daddy high-tailed it home and called Seraphin 1 (the tall one). He came over and found a little vein in my wrist. He put in my IV outside under the sun. IV quinine, here I come!!!
So since Sabbath, I haven’t been able to do anything except be held, sit at my high chair and sleep. Otherwise, I’m liable to knock out my IV. I’ve grabbed the IV tubing and ripped it out of the bottle. I’ve tried to pull out my IV. I’ve tried it all. No crawling, no nothing. Plus, my IV pole’s too tall to let me play on the ground anyway. This IV drip is continuous, so I can’t just get my medicine and then detach and play.
Sunday, my IV went bad and Daddy called Seraphin back to the house. This time, they cut my glorious locks and put in a scalp IV. Mommy was sure to keep the first trimmings, but she’s very sad to see my baby hair go. She doesn’t think it will ever be the same again.
Yesterday was the completion of my third day of IV quinine. I still had a fever of 101, despite all the quinine, plus six days of azithromycin. So Mommy decided for two more days. But my IV was infiltrated. Half of my face puffed out like the marshmallow man in Ghostbusters. You know the one? Anyway, it deformed my ear and everything. It was pretty cool.
So Daddy called Seraphin, who came and put in my third IV, this time causing the other half of my head to get shaved. I’m just trying to show solidarity with Gamma.
I guess I could sum up the last four days as... ouch, ouch, hey stop that, that hurts, stop with all the needles already, hey what are you strapping to my arm?, why can’t I move my right arm?, breastfeed, wet a diaper, wet a diaper, wet a diaper, wet a diaper, gracious how much fluid are they going to give me!?!?!, breastfeed, be held, push around an IV pole, breastfeed, wet six more diapers, eat some mangos, poo, sleep, wake up, sleep, wake up, breastfeed, sleep, diaper, sleep, why is that every time I wake up all night long Mommy or Janna is sitting there in front of me making sure my IV doesn’t block off or start running too fast --- it’s just creepy, sleep, wet more diapers, new IV, ouch, new IV ouch, more diapers, wrap up my head like a lobotomy patient, more diapers, breastfeed, sleep. You know how it goes, right?
Anyway, I heard you all were praying for me. That’s cool. Mommy and Daddy keep talking about how all those prayers are keeping me alive. Keep praying for me if you don’t mind. And pray that Mommy and Daddy stop looking at me like they’re afraid. It’s such a downer. They look at me like they’re trying to etch a permanent memory just in case.
Oh, and don’t forget Child Protective Services. Can they make house visits in Tchad?
Love, Zane Oliver
You will notice on our blog, missionarydoctors.blogspot.com, that we have a link for donations. This is through Adventist Health International’s website. We believe strongly in the mission of AHI. We feel that AHI is an organization worth supporting. By donating through AHI, you can be reassured that there is a strong measure of accountability following your donation. Just mark the donation for ‘Bere.’ And remember that your gift is 100% tax-deductible.
Olen Zain: +235 62 16 04 93
Danae Zain: +235 62 17 04 80
Olen et Danae Netteburg
Hopital Adventiste de Bere
52 Boite Postale