A couple of weeks ago 2 out of 3 of my girls were sick. Stomach problems, headache, and fever. I actually never took their temperature, but I could tell they had fever. A couple days later they were fine.
Several days after they were sick, another woman who works in Brad’s office got pretty sick one evening. She went to the hospital (which is common here) and got some meds and a day or so later was better. It seemed to be the same type of sickness my girls had.
A week or so later, another woman who works in Brad’s office got sick as well. Same type thing. She was sick longer and even had to make a hospital visit because she was dehydrated, but thankfully is better now.
Some days after this last woman got sick, Brad also began not feeling well. It was a Saturday. I had been out at a baby shower and when I came home he told me he just didn’t feel well. He had some work deadlines that weekend and was working hard to meet them. By the time dinner came around, he had such a terrible headache he pretty much just left the table and went to bed.
January was a super busy month for Brad with school starting back and many other responsibilities on his plate. He kept saying all month “if I can just make it through January”. Well, he did. Kind of.
By the time Sunday rolled around, January 31, we knew he was really was sick. I figured he had the same things the girls and the others from his office had and that in a few days he would be good as new. I knew his body was run down from a busy month and thought at some point your body just makes you stop.
After reaching his deadlines on Sunday, he crashed. In bed, sick.
On Monday morning, I also woke up not feeling well. Not the same as Brad, but just not my best. I decided it would not hurt any of us if we just took it easy that day. I didn’t feel much like doing school with the girls and I knew they would not mind a lighter work load. So, we kind of all took off with Brad (as Annie would say “taking up the whole couch”).
Not knowing how serious Brad’s sickness would become, the details of the week get a little blurry. Brad was not able to teach his classes on Tuesday, but at different times during the week we both thought he was getting better.
Luckily, Wednesday’s are not class days and so the pressure of wondering if you feel like making it through class was lifted. I think he had a few meetings, but then came home and crashed again.
During this time, he continued to have fevers off and on. His head hurt almost constantly and the stomach problems had continued for several days.
We would think he was better and then they typical pattern was the fevers would spike at night.
While we were in the States last, my Mom had given me a thermometer. I hardly ever use one and figured it would not get much use either, but packed it up and brought it home with us to Swaziland.
For some reason, when Brad got sick, I decided to get the thermometer and try it out. It’s a cool one that you just hold up to a persons forehead and it reads the temperature almost instantly. Fun stuff!
So, I had been keeping track of Brad’s temps and began to get a little concerned that after several days they continued to be kind of high. 102 degrees working its way up to 103 was not good. And after so many days, we were trying to figure out what could be going on.
Still pretty convinced Brad was just so run down and was taking longer to recover than the others, I was not really worried, just ready for hi to be well.
Then his temperatures started to rise. We’ve all heard that 104 degrees is the dangerous temp. Usually in the evenings is when his temps began to reach closer to the danger zone. As they climbed to 104, I began to get worried.
What was going on? Why was it taking him so long to recover? Do we need to go to a doctor?
On Thursday during the night, his temp rose to 106. He felt horrible. I felt so bad for him and didn’t know what I needed to do. After this rise in temperature, it would eventually drop and then began the sweating. Usually at some point later would begin the chills and uncontrollable shaking.
During the night on Thursday, I decided it was time to see a doctor. If you know me at all, this was a really big decision for me!! By God’s grace, we have lived in Swaziland and never had to go to the doctor before. In fact, it has been one of my biggest fears about living in Africa. We have called a doctor friend or two about some things before, but GO to a clinic to seek treatment? No.
Early Friday morning, I called a doctor friend who lives in Swaziland and asked her what we should do. She recommended a clinic and so I called to get an appointment.
When we got in to see the doctor, he looked Brad over and sent him straight to the ER. He needed an IV for dehydration and gave him some IV meds. We waited for the drip to finish, picked up an antibiotic from the pharmacy and headed home.
Great we thought, we got a jump start on this and he should be feeling better this afternoon and surely by tomorrow. Little did we know.
By Friday evening, just after dinner, Brad’s fever had spiked to 108. I could not exactly believe what it read, but after trying several times and getting between 108 and 109, it was clear he was not improving. I phoned my friend again to tell her about it. She told me to put him in a cool shower to try to bring down the fever and recommended I go back to the clinic.
After the shower and running around and getting the kids settled, Brad and I were off to the clinic again. His fever had come down and by the time we got there, he seemed to be doing much better.
The doctor was not really sure what the problem was and after talking through some options, it appeared the best option was to add another antibiotic. So, we picked it up at the pharmacy and headed home.
I don’t remember a lot of details about that night, but around 5am Brad was shaking uncontrollably from chills. I kept trying to cover him and get him warm, but nothing was working. His stomach was not feeling well and it did not seem like we were going to be able to get the meds in him. After about an hour of doing what I could, I decided we needed to go back to the hospital and get on an IV again. I was very concerned he was dehydrated and that was the only thing I knew to do.
So, with thanks to a friend who drove us, we were off to the hospital again. By this point Brad was so weak he could hardly walk inside. They pretty much sent us straight to the ER again to begin the IV and get us ready for a room.
We were told the first time we came to the hospital that Brad had a bacterial infection and after some further testing the doctor was able to figure out that he had an infection in his gallbladder.
We were told he should expect to be in the hospital for 5-7 days because he would have to be treated with IV antibiotics.
We are on day 4 today. Some more tests were run today and there still seems to be some weak infection still present. Brad will continue to receive his antibiotics and will probably be moved to oral antibiotics when we go home.
Things have been pretty crazy the past week. We have been so blessed by our ACC campus community stepping in to help with our sweet girls, giving us rides to and from the hospital, sitting with Brad, visits and all the love shown to us. I don’t know what we would have done without all this! And for so many of you all around the world who have prayed with us for healing, peace, and comfort, we can not thank you enough! Your messages mean so much to us. We have been overwhelmed numerous times this week by the ways you have all been a blessing! Thank you!
I’m so very thankful Brad is improving and that we can clearly see God’s healing power at work!
Our prayer now is that the antibiotics will do their job to completely get rid of this infection. Please also pray for our girls. This has not been easy for them, but I’m so thankful I know they are in good care. We are all looking forward to being together again!