Monday, December 15, 2008

The Owl

It isn’t the owl hooting that’s keeping me awake.

Nor is it the occasional twitching of the sleeping baby chimpanzee next to me, or the drip drip sound of water as the thick fog condenses on our shifty tin roof.

It’s the feel of the skin of the person next to me.

It isn’t warm... it’s HOT.

I think about getting up to get the thermometer, but the thought of what it might tell me will be more worrying than reassuring. It’s the same fever Adam has had for a day, but it feels much worse and all that it will mean for him, and for US, is that it hasn’t gone away, but gotten worse and that we still aren’t sure what its cause is.

I feel sort of like Dr. House at times like this. Without a real means for diagnosis, we tend to just administer drugs and hope that one of them does the trick.

Yesterday, I gave Adam Tylenol and it did diminish the fever. We used this as an excuse to think it wasn’t malaria, since his previous encounter with malaria didn’t respond to Tylenol at all. Anything to avoid having to give him the quinine again!

We thought perhaps it was another infection, so even after examining all of his mosquito bites and scrapes and finding nothing, we still gave him some Ampicillin.

Later in the day when his appetite disappeared, we thought it might be amoebas again, so we administered more Metronidazole.

At 1 am this morning, however, as the irrational parts of me feared that Adam might boil from the inside out, we decided it was time and bit the bullet and gave him the malaria medicine.

He had had some very weird and vivid dreams in the intervening hours before the malaria medicine, which is really one of the only definitive malaria symptoms that we can really establish out here.

With a combination of tylenol and malaria medicine, Adam’s fever is down from 104.6º to 99º, so I can only hope that the trend continues.

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