Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Day 13: "The Puppies are 'ere!"

Day 13: April 16, 2014

The night/the morning of Wednesday was less than optimal.  I woke up intermittently with throat burning and/or need to use the restroom.  As I woke up about 3:30 or so, I went to the restroom and then just couldn't fall back asleep.  The reflex diarrhea (go, stand up, oh wait go again!) was back, and I just felt miserable. I wasn't burning up, I wasn't having shaking chills.  I was just sad and pathetic.  I wanted to be home, I wanted to feel better, I wanted to not be sick.  On top of all of this, down in the valley below somewhere what had to be Gospel music interspersed with what I can only guess was preaching (which kept rising in intensity but never reached it's peak point...like a coach at halftime getting more and more riled up but never getting to the "NOW LET'S GO GET 'EM!") blared ALL night long.  Normally I would sleep through it, and had been previously, but this night it was bothering me. 

I had been asking God over the past few days to help me suffer well, and to make it effective suffering that I might offer up for some meaningful intention or purpose.  With Holy Week going on, I felt this was even more appropriate.  I don't know that I had been doing a good job of suffering well, and in fact I was fairly certain that I had not.  However, at the very least I was praying that I might.  At 4:30 this morning, the pain, the discomfort, the fatigue, and the circumstances all became to much for me.  This time, I just prayed for it to stop.  I didn't want to suffer well, I didn't want to suffer...PERIOD.  I just asked God to make it stop.  I didn't want it anymore....I wanted it to go away...and so I begged for it to go away.  I wasn't proud of it, but I felt like I couldn't take any more...

And so I fell asleep...and slept until morning when it was time to get ready for work.  To my surprise and great happiness, the esophagitis was GONE.  It was GONE.  I was soooooooo happy.  I finally rolled out of bed at the last minute, got dressed, and was out the door with Carmelle for the first time since Friday.  To be safe, we took the path along the main road...far less picturesque, much more hustle/bustle/watching out for dalla's...but MUCH faster. 

Once we got to the clinic, I set out to get some food to take with my cipro...as I was not going down the esophagitis route again. I walked to a small stand across the hospital and next to Kissa Pharmacy and bought some chocolate sandwich cookies....not the healthiest but certainly functional and the cheapest option at TZS 1000.  I trekked back to clinic and downed my meds and cookies while I checked my email.  To my surprise my medical license not only had finally been approved but had been granted the previous day.  I was happy to have that awesome bit of news!

The clinic day wasn't the most productive of mine, as I was having to take breaks for the restroom after almost every patient.  However, I was just happy to be back in the swing of things for the time being.  I saw a few kiddos as the morning went on , the most memorable of whom came in for a normal visit but had also been having issues for the past two days with fever and tooth pain.  His teeth were HORRIBLE.  It was fairly obvious that he had no dental hygiene plan or care whatsoever, and one of his teeth was eroded down and looked potentially infected.  After all was said and done, he left with antibiotics and an escort over to the dental clinic at the hospital.  He took a good chunk of the morning.

In addition to my being slow, the clinic was also relatively slow in the AM.  It seemed like maybe half of the normal number of patients sat in the waiting room, and there were times I went back and forth for more patients but there were none ready.  I think a combination of fewer patients and plenty of providers made for this result. 

In the afternoon, the pace picked up, but unfortunately I couldn't really.  My translator went to lunch about1 PM, and that meant so did I.  I decided I needed a real lunch, so I walked to Deluxe to pick up some rice and beans/meat (Pilau nyama).  I took a different path to the restaurant to see which would be faster, and as I did I passed a tiny bar that I had never seen before.  Fifty yards before getting there though, I recognized a most familiar sound...."Near...far...wherever you are..."  Celine frickin' Dion...will this song NEVER DIE??  I could do nothing but shake my head and chuckle to myself.  This song literally will go on and on....wherever you are.  I thought it to be rather ridiculous.

At least the view was good!

At Deluxe, I went and ordered and asked for take-away, and the woman there seemed kinda perturbed.  Regardless, in a few minutes time I was headed back to the clinic with my food.  I sat down to eat and opened my food, which seemed my more thrown together and greasy than normal.  It was sub-standard for Deluxe, and I wondered what had happened.  It was certainly edible, but for multiple reasons I didn't eat all of it, especially the greasiest remains at the bottom.  In the end, I was just happy to have real food and a full meal in my belly again.

After clinic finished up, I called home for the day, and everyone seemed to be in good spirits.  The house was apparently showing well and getting a lot of interest, and the kiddos were a bit less grumpy than the previous day (which I hadn't really minded yesterday since I was just happy to see them). After our usual half hour or so, I hung up and said goodbye until the next day.

For the rest of the afternoon, I tried to catch up on journaling/blogging, which had clearly suffered from a delay while I was in the middle of my illness. 

On my walk back home, I stopped to try to find the schedule for the Triduum at the Cathedral.  What I found was a dark church with two decently long lines for confession.  Confession here is very much out in the open.  The priest sits in a small room with a screened window recessed a little bit from the back wall of the main church.  There is no room for the confessee.  Essentially, one would go kneel at this door, recessed just a foot or two from the main area, and VERY QUIETLY give their confession, even as people walk by just feet away through the main door of the church. 

In any case, I stopped in to say hello to Jesus in the tabernacle, and prayed a bit out of thanksgiving before looking around trying to find a Mass schedule.  I found nothing that I thought looked like a schedule posted (though I actually had, I later found out, but just didn't recognize).  Rather than try to use my google translate app to attempt to ask someone standing outside about the times, I resigned to asking someone at clinic tomorrow and headed home....quickly as rain was threatening and I had no umbrella.

When I arrived home, I was able to greet four new friends!  We heard earlier in the day that our hosts dog had finally had her puppies, and now I got to see them!  Granted, Nyola, the mommy, was rather protective and growled as I approached, but Cherise pulled out a puppy for me to see (JUST look at) and take a picture of. They were so tiny and cute, and they can't even yip, but just whine and squeal.


I had no further plans for the evening, and started out just doing a crossword and enjoying a diet pepsi in the living room. After hesitating and going back and forth, I again decided I needed real food to build my strength back up, so it was back to Mbeya Hotel.  I ordered the "Macaroni Cheese" again, and waited patiently with my crosswords.  The wait was rather long, but finally my beautiful baked plate of cheese arrived. 

Believe it or not, I think it was greaser this time than the night prior.  The pasta was tinged orange (whether from grease (I suspect), spices, etc) but the cheese was as voluminous as ever.  As I watched (read "looked at and didn't understand at all) a cricket match on TV, I paid no attention to the greasy nature of the food and ate with reckless abandon.  I downed that entire plate of food, and I was so very satisfied when I finished.  I was as full as I had been in a while.  I paid my check and happily walked home.

The rest of the night at the house was just some talking in the living room, looking at the puppies, and relaxing.  Carmelle asked me to pretend to be a sick kid in her presentation on triage the next day, and I laughed out loud at the question...Kid? CHECK...sick? CHECK!  I was born to do it, so I surely agreed to help.

I took a shower later that evening, and for the first time in a while thought to read Evening Prayer.  I was satisfied, happy, and went to bed in comfort for the first time all week.

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