Is what food poisoning felt like!

Around four am on Sunday morning I started having diarrhea and throwing up like there was no tomorrow, though reasoned in my fever-stricken and confused state that it had to pass by morning, so I spent the night whimpering around in misery.

By 11 am on Sunday morning, I was seriously dehydrated, and completely spent of all energy. I still planned on resting in my room for the day, not thinking that it was too bad. I called from my window to one of the girls to bring me a banana, and as soon as she entered my room she left again, yelling out for my host-mom to come. They all quickly concluded that I looked horrible, and needed to go to the hospital. The in-country coordinator of my program, Sounkalo, came to my house and took me there.

The hospital, Polyclinique International de Bamako, is pretty close to where I live, but the drive over on the bumpy unpaved roads caused me some additional nausea. Once we got there, I was ushered into an office, where the doctor (with Sounkalo translating, thank goodness for me) quizzed me on the normal doctor questions. The moment that it was discovered that my last meal eaten was goat head, the doctor seemed to come upon a great understanding. Goat head, as I understand it, is notorious for doling out diarrhea and vomiting aplenty, and the treatment plan was pretty simple.

For the rest of Sunday I slept, read a magazine proclaiming the wonders of the safari in Botswana called Discover Botswana (I’m convinced, and now really want to visit), and tried to recall all the lyrics from the tracks of Genius Loves Company (difficult). They stuck a few IVs in me with antibiotics, vitamins, and water, which was my first time having that done. The IV was hung on a pole above me, and in my dazed state, I did not realize that I only needed to unhook it in order to have mobility. So, for the majority of Sunday, I felt like a dog chained to a house, and held my bathroom needs in. Not my smartest moment!

The doctors and nurses there were all incredibly nice to me, even when they had to ask me four or five times to lay down because I was too busy trying to explain to them my dream (yes, it happened). There was one nurse in particular who was very kind, and sometimes would just sit with me and watch the IV drip slowly down and travel into my vein. Whenever my blankets would become tangled up, she would tuck me in again, and she kept me from ever feeling too alone or afraid.

I stayed the night at the hospital, and when I woke on Monday morning I felt much, much better. My host-mom came to visit me in the morning, and it was actually a great bonding time for us. She spoke playfully about the second wife’s incapabilities in the kitchen, which made me laugh. She had to go back to work after a few hours, but I was glad for her company.

On Monday afternoon, I was feeling very ready to go home, and had bit of a fit when one doctor came in and told me I had to stay the night again. After I got really worked up he explained that he was joking, and I could leave in good time. Not cool, doctor!

When I got back to my house all the kids were glad to see me, and I was equally happy to see all of them. I’ve been sleeping a lot lately, and have resolved to stay away from goat head from now on.  An interesting change of routine it proved to be, and I was able to see even another new side of Mali- the hospital! I’m glad to have experienced it, and so relieved that I am better, but hopefully I will not be going back any time soon!

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