18 August 2006

Typical Africa (says Brad)

Jen and Brad here...with an update
We are back in Arusha, got back yesterday (two days early) because of a little (well not really that little) shida (problem). But let me preface the story with BRAD IS FINE NOW, so don't get too freaked out.....
Brad went out Tuesday morning with Ingela in the lion research car, which meant he got to go off road and get up close and personal with the wildlife.
When Brad got back he was dehydrated and hot (which wasn't that unusual for being off road for 8 hrs). In retrospect, this was likely the beginning of his fever. We went out for an afternoon game drive and Brad was exhausted. He ate a little dinner and went to bed. At about midnight that night I woke up and Brad was really warm so I used a head thermometer (this dinky little thing I got at some health fair that works like a mood ring and give you a rough idea of temperature). It showed around 101 or 102. I gave Brad two tylenol, which broke his fever (and he later told me he was then able to sleep soundly). Previous to the tylenol Brad was dreaming/hallucinating about stacking boxes and they wouldn't stack...after the tylenol they all stacked. The next morning we went on a 6:30 am game drive. I didn't know if Brad would be up for it after the fever that night, but he felt better and we went out. It was a great drive, but another long day.
When we got back at about 2 pm Brad went right to sleep. A little later I gave him some more tylenol because had a little fever, about 102, (we now had a real thermometer we got from a friend). He woke up and ate a little dinner, had some more tylenol because his temp was still over 101, and went to bed early again. Now here comes the scary stuff... At midnight I woke up and Brad was an oven! I took his temperature and it was 104.1!!! I promptly woke him up and gave him advil (we had run out of tylenol). He was breathing quickly and I tried to coach him to slow down his breathing and massaged his leg that had cramped up while shivering. I took his temp at 15 and then 30 minutes. When I was convinced it was going back down I set my alarm for each hour afterwards and took his temp. It got as low as 101, but then at about 4:30 he started freezing and by 5 am his temp was back at 104.6!!!!! It shot up too quickly for me to catch it on the way up. I gave him more drugs and again tried to calm his breathing down. Once he seemed to be slowing his breathing and his temp was again on the decline I got out of bed, called a called a friend at lion house (who has lived out in TZ for over 5 years) and I started bawling. Truthfully I was terrified and was ready to call flying doctors (a medical airplane service that will fly you to Nairobi for medical care - a service we had gotten Brad just before our trip). My friend told me flying doctors wouldn't come out for just a fever and we were leaving for what was to be a game drive at 6:30 am anyway with our driver. However, keep in mind we are in the middle of the Serengeti - a 6 hour drive back to Arusha. So I wasn't sure if I should call flying doctors anyway, wait and go strait to Arusha with our driver, buy a plane ticket on a commercial flight or what. My friend looked in her "Where there is no doctor book", which mentioned that fevers over 40C (104F) need to be brought down immediately. I made Brad strip down, took away all his blankets (he wasn't thrilled), got a cool cross breeze going in our room, and started packing to leave. When the driver came we packed up and headed back to Arusha (instead of going to the NCA, staying in Karatu for the night, then heading back to Arusha today (Friday), via Lake Manyara National Park). I had borrowed the real thermometer from my friend, which was critical b/c I was still hourly or more monitoring Brad's temperature and at 9 (four hours after his last dose of advil) his temp was back at 104.5!!! I of course gave him more drugs and wetted an extra shirt to put on his forehead. I would hold the wet shirt out the window, cool it with the wind (thank goodness it was cool outside) and make him hold it to his forehead until it warmed up again. I did this on and off for most of the ride, and preempted what I was worried would be his fourth 104 plus temp by giving him more drugs and using the cooling cloth when his temp got back to 103.5 about 3.5 hours later.
Keep in mind for the first half of this 6 hour trip we were on dusty, bumpy, awful roads, Brad couldn't wait until we reached pavement (at which point he was able to nap a little, I had napped for about 30 minutes on the bumpy road, I was just exhausted with worry and lightly sleeping for two nights while monitoring Brad). I was trying all along to be calm cool and collective around Brad, but I was only barely holding it together. If it would have been me I would have been fine, but Brad....well we could not get to Arusha fast enough. When we got to Arusha we went straight to the doctor and luckily (After a blood, stool and urine test) we had a diagnosis. A stomach bacterial infection and possible amoebas. We got drugs for both, more advil and got back to the Arusha house.
After forcing some oatmeal down Brad took his first dose of Cipro and amoeba medicine. After a shower, a nap, and a few hours Brad's fever was below 101 for the first time in almost 2 days. I don't think I've ever been so happy and relieved. I've monitored his temperature since and it hasn't gotten above 99.5! :) His energy is still a little low, and his stomach and intestines aren't perfect yet, but he is well on the way to recovery!
Brad here...I really am fine now :)

4 Comments:

Blogger katie said...

I'm glad you are better!!! I think Jen was probably more freaked out than you- i'm glad you're better to Jen! That couldn't have been fun. Love you both- stay safe.

7:41 PM  
Blogger katie said...

Brad- I'm glad you are better. Jen- I'm sorry you had to go through that- my heart went out to you. It sucks when you can't control something for someone you love. Anyway, love you both- stay safe!

7:42 PM  
Anonymous owl3445 said...

beware the sneaky amoebas !!! glad to hear you are back among the living.

9:22 PM  
Blogger Michelle said...

Yikes! what an adventure... damn those amoebas! Brad, I am so glad to hear you are feeling better! Jen, remind me never to go to Africa without you!

5:19 PM  

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