It seems this has been the year of unexpected health concerns for our family. Poor Eliana came down with a fever last Thursday afternoon. At first, I thought it was teething, but after a day of the fever been fairly high, I called the doctor and he graciously agreed to see her Saturday morning. He checked her all out, and said it was probably a virus - some kind of cold or flu. The fever continued - it seemed to come down when we gave her pain medicine, but every 4 hours, it would spike - high - and we would do rounds with cold rags or in the tub. After another couple days, I was really concerned. I called the doctor again and he said he wanted to take some stool and urine samples. So I spent the next day sitting next to Eliana for several hours as she sat on our little portapotty. No luck. And her poopy diapers were at night - no lab here is open at night. The next day I called the doctor in tears - Eliana had stopped eating and drinking that morning. He immediately agreed to see us, and we took her down to the children's hospital. He put her on an IV to hydrate her (a horrible 15 minute process of trying to find her vein), and to help us get the samples we needed. I spent the afternoon and evening holding her in the hospital. We finally got the urine sample (thank goodness for pediatric urine collecting bags!) and they discovered she had a severe urinary tract infection.
Our pediatrician, Dr. Monroy, had left us in the care of another doctor there as he does his personal office hours in the afternoon. This doctor came in and began to explain to me in Spanish what we were going to do (as if I was 2, which on one hand, I really appreciate as understanding medical jargon is one of the most difficult things for me in Spanish; but on the other hand, it really annoyed me!) She told me that we were going to take 2 more urine samples for culture purposes, and then give Eliana an antibiotic intraveneously (as the infection was really strong and she had been throwing up some in the last few days). She told me I had to go down and pay for the urine samples and antibiotic before we could go upstairs to the emergency lab and get Eliana treated. At this point, it's 6:00, and everything on our level (general consultation) is basically shut down. The nurse who had been monitoring the IVs has left to go home. So I leave Eliana crying in her crib and walk down the hall to information to pay. I get there and tell the man I need to pay for the urine samples. He looks at the form and asks if I have the urine. No.... We're supposed to go upstairs and take the samples. Well, you have to have the urine before you can pay for it. I don't know, but the doctor told me I have to pay now. So he calls another dr. This dr. comes and says the same thing. He says the only way you can pay in advance is if it's urgent. I tell him the doctor who wrote the prescription told me it's urgent. He asks where it's written on the form. I tell him it's not! But this is what the first doctor told me!
By this point, I'm extremely frustrated and beginning to cry - and I can hear Eliana screaming down the hall. They finally get ahold of the doctor who wrote the perscription. She tells them exactly what I told them - that it's urgent, that I need to pay, that we'll go upstairs and take the samples now - but in the meantime makes a comment to them both that I don't understand her Spanish very well. At which point - I positively loose it! I call Josh and tell him that he better get down here right away (he had left to go pick up Michaela). I think he thought I was having a nervous breakdown! Then I tell the doctor that yes, I don't understand Spanish sometimes, but that I did understand what she told me, that I was explaining it to the information desk - and that they were refusing to listen to me and take my measly 25 bolivianos so my very sick child could get the treatment she needed.
We finally got it all worked out; Eliana got her treatment; our pediatrician, Dr. Monroy, came by to check on us and explained everything to me in English (have I mentioned how much I like this man???). He is going to run further tests due to the severity of the infection, as he is afraid there may be some kind of reflux in her bladder (after talking to my mom, she said I had 3 urinary tract infections in my first year, and continued getting them consistently till I was about 6; so I guess it's possible that it is something genetic. It's amazing the things you find out about your childhood after you become a parent!). In the meantime, we have had to take her every 12 hours to the hospital to receive her dosage of intraveneous antibiotic (this is for 3 days, and then we'll switch her to an oral one).
As we left, I told Josh, I know they think I'm the emotional, high-strung, gringa lady. But I wish they could see it from my point of view - running off of 6 days of fever/fussy/clingy baby, worried that she'll have a febrile seizure (as the doctor did tell us sometimes they run in families), little sleep, communicating in a second language, trying to work with a medical system that's unfamiliar to me.
I'm just thankful we know what's wrong and can finally do something about it - as difficult as the last few days have been taking Eliana for her IV every 12 hours. She is feeling better now, the fever is gone, and we've actually gotten her to smile today!
Thanks for the prayers that have been lifted up on our behalf.
Note: Many, many thanks to Liz and Dave Chalenburg who sent us a package several weeks back containing infant Tylenol and Ibu-profen. It has been invaluable the last week!
Isaiah 43:1-3, 7, 10-13
But now, this is what the LORD says— he who created you, O Jacob, he who formed you, O Israel: “Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have summoned you by name; you are mine. When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned; the flames will not set you ablaze. For I am the LORD, your God, the Holy One of Israel, your Savior... Bring my sons from afar and my daughters from the ends of the earth—everyone who is called by my name, whom I created for my glory, whom I formed and made.... “You are my witnesses,” declares the LORD, “and my servant whom I have chosen, so that you may know and believe me and understand that I am he. Before me no god was formed, nor will there be one after me. I, even I, am the LORD, and apart from me there is no savior. I have revealed and saved and proclaimed—I, and not some foreign god among you. You are my witnesses,” declares the LORD, “that I am God. Yes, and from ancient days I am he. No one can deliver out of my hand. When I act, who can reverse it?”
Isaiah 43:1-3, 7, 10-13