I am so sorry it is taking me so long to write this…but you know, kids, life, a business. Here is Love on a Mission Part 15.
Enjoy!My head is throbbing. No, it’s about to explode. My head is bigger than my head. I’ve been to three different doctors and been prescribed three different antibiotics. Nothing, nothing, is helping.
I feel a little bit better during the day. My fever is down to 101. I am on antibiotics and the doctors assure me I am not contagious so I continue with my university classes and return to my nanny job. Every three or four days I get a break, feel better, have a bit of energy and am convinced I about to shake it.
Then my fever spikes again. 102. 103. 104.
I have asked all three doctors I’ve seen if there is any chance I could have malaria again.
“No, your fever isn’t high enough”
“No, you wouldn’t be able to move around if you had it.”
“Malaria? You can’t just get malaria.”
All three refuse to test for it.
So I soldier on.
This goes on for weeks. My days look like this: work, school, fever, bed, higher fever.
Until I can’t anymore. Now it’s hard to walk. Every joint hurts. No, every cell of my body hurts. I can’t keep anything down. I quit eating and subsist on sips of 7UP and water. I have a constant ringing in my ears. It’s so loud I have a hard time hearing what is going on around me. Eventually, I have to call in sick and skip school.
My grandma calls my parents.
“I really think you need to come check on Renee.”
And so they make the three-hour drive. The first thing my mom does is take my temperature. It’s 106.7 so they take me to the ER. I remember, through the fog of pain and fever, wondering how high a fever can get before permanent brain damage occurs. Or death.
Just as we are walking out the door Chuck calls. My grandma tells him we are on our way to the ER. Chuck declares his undying love to me as I try not to drop the phone from fatigue.
At the ER they do all of the normal things. Hook up an IV, take a urine sample, ask if I’m pregnant, give me Tylenol. I’ve been sick for so long I barely know what it feels like not to be sick. I hardly remember The Before.
The doctors poke and prod and take x-rays. The doctor (nurse? intern?) who puts in my IV does a terrible job and through the fog, I watch my blood drip off of my arm and splatter on the floor. The patterns on the floor mesmerize me. Actually, more likely, the high fever is making the patterns dance, and that is what is mesmerizing me.
Eventually, a doctor arrives, jubilant. He has found the answer. I have….malaria!
This is no surprise to me or my parents. I have been tested (and treated) for almost everything else that could possibly cause a fever and lingering illness. I’ve been on a cocktail of antibiotics for weeks with no improvement.
The doctor? He acts like he has just made the Discovery of the Century. He enthusiastically regals us with stories of what my parasite-filled blood looks like under a microscope and how to treat my exotic illness. Me? I’m just glad I can finally, finally get some medicine that will make a difference. I am beyond caring about anything beyond getting rid of the pain.
We get sent home a pile of papers, medicine, a follow-up appointment with an infectious disease specialist. I am told to rest (as if I can do anything else) and stay hydrated (I can’t keep anything down). I just want to go home and suffer in my own bed, which I do.
The next morning I call the mom of the kids I nanny for and explain why I won’t be back in. I’m getting married in a few weeks so it isn’t really an option to go back after I recover. I have finals coming up and a wedding to plan. Except I am way past the planning stage.
Chuck wants to hop on a plane immediately and come be with me. I tell him to stay home. We are getting married soon, we know what’s wrong with me now. I tell him to keep working. He’s bogged down in his own job and working on immigration papers. He is, after all, Canadian. Fiance visa? Green Card? Marriage visa? None of this simple or easy. Or cheap. Many of these papers have to be filed at the embassy in Vancouver. He has endless piles of papers to fill out, tests to be done.
While my mom is in town she picks out our wedding cake, napkins, and various items for the wedding since I’m not leaving the house. Now properly diagnosed and medicated, I focus on getting well, learning to keep food down again, and wondering how in the world I am going to study for my finals and turn in my final projects.
I’m getting married. In less than a month.
I have to get better.
If you are new to Love on a Mission start here. If you love it, feel free to share.
Also, Tilly just wrote out part one of how she met her husband, Jared. Be sure and read her story!