Monday, March 12, 2012

March 12, 2012 - The Down Side


We were bound to have a tougher day and that came today. 

During the night the rainy season officially started with a big storm, complete with rain, thunder, lightning and some serious wind.  We lost power, which caused Grace to wake up because she was so hot, which caused Noah to wake up because he always wakes up when she screams.  From 2:30 to 4 am Grace was in our bed, where we were hot and sticky and not sleeping.  At 4 am the power came back on and we persuaded her to sleep in her own A/C.  Even though the power went out again at 6 am, she managed to sleep until 8.  But I was tired from all the opening and closing of windows (more labor intensive in our house than you would imagine) and coaxing of children.  We should now have a few weeks of rain and then a cooler season starting in April.

When Grace officially woke up, she complained of stomach pains.  Her complaints worsened along with her symptoms.  Noah has had diarrhea since Thursday (after his brief fever) and she started with it today.  By noon, we were at the doctor’s clinic.  A blood test* indicated that Noah just has a virus, which he has seemed prone to his entire life, but Grace actually does have a bacterial infection and was started on antibiotics.  We also learned that Noah’s “heat rash” is really a fungus.  Awesome.  I did like the doctor, a German lady, and thought she was good with the kids.  Obviously trained in tropical medicine, she knows her stuff.  But the clinic is not just for kids and is pretty much the only place for anyone to go, so it really busy with lots of waiting.  I guess that’s just something we have to get used to.  At least it is only 3 minutes away, unlike our 20-minute drive to Dr. Nesbitt in Nairobi.  I am hoping that both kids getting sick the first week is not indicative of how often they’ll be sick in the next few years.

The reality of living here is setting in a bit more, as the doctor told me, “You’re not in Nairobi anymore!”  She was referring to the water and how we have to be WAY more careful because the water is just full of parasites and bacteria.  We thought we were being careful, but somehow Grace got infected in just a week of being here so obviously we weren’t careful enough.  We are trying new strategies now, and we are probably going to install a fancy water filtration system in the house to help us keep vigilant.

When we got home from the doctor’s office, our generator was working!  Mr. S’s son came to tell me that he bought a certain amount of diesel for it but that I should buy more because who knows how long this outage will be and it is already dwindling.  I left the sick ones home with Rose and brought one of the shamba boys, Emmanual, with me to search for diesel (something I never actually had to do in Nairobi, even though lots of my friends had to do it).  The gas station I went to was out of diesel so I ended up going right back home.  This was an interesting car ride because Emmanual doesn’t speak English and I don’t speak Kiswahili (unless we just wanted to say and goodbye to each other over and over again).  We were pretty quiet.  At home Mr. S’s son knew another place to try so he came with me this time and taught me how to go about buying diesel for one’s generator.  Never something I thought I would know how to do, but lets it add it to my expat-resume.  When we got home, he had the boys poured the diesel into the generator, but they spilled some which caused a shut down and now it is not working exactly as it should.  Of course!  So tomorrow the company will come back.  PRAY that it gets us through the night because it seems there is no end in sight to this power outage.

Before and after the diesel drama I made two different trips back to the doctor with samples from the kids.   So it was kind of a crazy day. Thank God for Rose. Both kids in bed now, neither feeling 100% great but hopefully on the mend.  And I am hoping tomorrow is less eventful.

LMW

*Note the difference between G & N, each getting the same finger-prick blood test.  G cried before, during and after for about 5 minutes in total. Very dramatic.  When the lab guy pricked Noah’s finger he smiled and giggled.  It was the highlight of my day I think!

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