We were in Kampala and had a very difficult trip ahead of us. I was holding in more liquids than before the malaria, but I was still feeling constant nausea (due to pregnancy). The bumpy, six hour ride home did not seem inviting. But we struck out anyway.
We reached our house in Ft Portal on a Sunday morning, and found our town church waiting on the porch. Jeff led them in worship in our living room and I went straight to bed.
I expected my strength to return over the next days. But it didn’t. I stayed in bed. I cried. I prayed. And I threw up. A lot.
I remember white walls. Our room didn’t have any pictures hanging in it yet. And the cow. Our next door neighbors had a sad, loud cow, that wandered the length of our shared fence mooing so loudly and so persistently I was nearly driven over the brink.
After another week in bed, throwing up 7-8 times a day and growing weaker and weaker, I felt a fever again. Jeff was out helping feed a small displacement camp in town and I again felt waves of hysteria engulf me. My fever was back. What could this mean?
Jeff came home and drove me to the Catholic hospital in town. I could barely walk to and from the car. A European doctor examined and diagnosed me.
The doctor brusquely prescribed my medication and harshly informed me that I had to drink more water. I explained that I was vomiting everything that went in. She told me to try harder.
I cried all the way home.
The malaria treatment increased my nausea ten-fold. My days were agony. We found out that it would take my body one hour to absorb the medication and begin circulating it through my system. So I would swallow the pills and will myself to not throw up. It took all of my energy. I would have Jeff squeeze my feet or hands to the point of pain to take my mind off the nausea.
I would pray. Beg really. I could not see how we (my sweet baby and me) could both survive this onslaught for a second time.
I threw away my “What to Expect When You’re Expecting” book. It was too depressing in my current predicament.
I could not keep fluids or food in my system. I was battling malaria again with only chloroquine. Most malaria in our part of Africa is chloroquine resistant but it was the only drug the doctors felt was relatively safe for the baby. A gamble either way. There was a chance the drug would not eradicate the parasite. A stronger drug could eradicate the pregnancy.
I was ravaged by fever. And I was in my first trimester of pregnancy.
I fought desperately to NOT dwell on the impossible odds.
(to be continued...)