Friday, March 20, 2009

Worst Night of the Trip

What a crazy couple of days it has been.

Life in Kolkata keeps us on our toes, or toilets, or hospital beds, as the case may be.

Two days ago, I started feeling gross, just as Trina was feeling better. She started me on cipro, given my symptoms. She finally felt all the way better. We got up the next morning and went to our volunteering without incident, except she seemed a little grumpy and tired. By the time we got home, she was exhausted, and her stomach started to hurt. We did some brainstorming, and figured out that she was again going to need medince, got her some, and I put her to bed for a nap and headed out to the net.

She slept an hour, woke up feeling still gross, but a bit better. We lounged around the hotel for the early evening, and then the fever came. So she took tylenol. But then it went up, up, up just like mine had a week before. But hers kept going. Her chills were severe like mine--shaking all over, and muscles starting to seize up. Her temperature jumped above 104 and got to 104.7 quickly. We ended up in an ambulance (about an hour later).

We had already looked up the lists of hospitals recommended by the US consulate. The hotel also recommended this one, and I had a good conversation on the phone with the doctor. As it turned out, he showed up with the ambulance (standard practice for him apparently--he deals with frightened westerners a lot). He asked lots of questions. Trina was so weak she opted for the stretcher to enter the hospital. We bypassed the admitting part and they got her into bed immediately, and started her on antibiotic drip (two kinds) right away (and then liquids, electrolytes and glucose). She also got a fresh shot of tylenol (they wanted me to leave the room when they exposed her hip for that--you can imagine how that went over).

Anyway, it was a long night. Her temperature peaked at 105 and the night nursing staff wasn't terribly helpful. They wouldn't explain anything they did (turns out they aren't supposed to--long story) and their actions were contradictory. Oh, 105...too hot, lets give her cold presses. But she's shivering. Never mind, lets give her four wool blankets. I was VERY concerned and checked her temperature (with my digital thermometer or just my hand) every five to eight minutes, all night (the night nurse staff doesn't like me any more either--I've been on them like white on rice about their hygeine). Her fever never really broke, it just finally came down to about 102.7 by about five or six am. We got her a sleeping pill, and she could finally sleep (the chills were keeping her from that at first).

After too little sleep, she was shepherded through the usual tests (they took blood the night before). The bathroom tests--and here they do an ultrasound and a chest xray too...she could barely hold her head up. They tried to kick me out of the ultrasound room too (didn't work).

She eventually returned to our room and slept a few more hours, and her fever started to abate (to about 100 or 99.6) for the rest of the day. Midday, her color came back, she could think a little bit, and she got the spark back in her eye. She had gone from miserable to scared to lifelessly not caring and back to herself in about 24 hours.

I ended up staying up 41 hours (minus one 20 minute nap) and so we BOTH slept really well last night (I sleep in the hospital room). Our parents have figured out how to call us in the room, which is nice, since there is no way for me to call out from the hospital (that's been fun with insurance).

Trina's present status is very good. Back on solid food, getting bored. She's going to spend a total of 3-4 days in the hospital, as they want her basically normal on all counts (and they are waiting on test results--the big scary stuff is ruled out--they know it is a food infection, they just want to make sure nothing else is accompanying it). She's a little bugged that she cannot shower, since she has an IV in her hand (sponge baths for now).

Anyway, we are doing well now. It was a scary night. It seemed like her temp was going to just keep going up and we had no idea what facilities were really available. The next morning when they looked at her digestive tract we were pretty concerned as well (gall bladder, ectopic pregnany, appendix, spleen stuff), but it turns out that was routine.

So, thanks for those of you who kept us in your prayers when you heard from our parents. I'm sure it was very scary for them too. We have really enjoyed our service time in Kolkata, but we've spent the vast, vast, majority of our time here very sick, so we are looking in to a relocation.

Will update again in a couple days!


Matthew and Lisa said...

We've definitely been praying!!

Emily said...

Glad to hear she's doing better! You guys have had some rough breaks there -- I'm praying for health and good remaining days there for you both!

Melinda said...

We all have been thinking and praying for you guys (and a little freaking out too).We love you both and will be waiting for updates on Trina.

Marianne said...

Ron, I'm glad you are both doing well. You are definitely having some adventures!

Amy said...

oh, i was so sorry to read about this! it is the worst getting this sick in foreign countries so far from home... i had an emergency apendectimy a few years ago in ukraine. three hospitals later, it was finally removed and i was told i almost died.
the worst was that the first two hospitals actually couldn't diagnose me even though i had already diagnosed myself. then they took my blood by slicing my finger with a peice of glass. then they wanted a urine sample, which they wanted me to do squatting over a whole in the ground overflowing with you know what. it was horrible. but i survived! i hope you feel better soon!