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Thursday, April 23, 2015

Getting to know my med unit much too well

Last Sunday started out fine.  We had church, aloo gobi with parathas for dinner, and had started on rhubarb mousse for dessert when Kathleen's complaints about her stomach got loud enough that we decided to start listening.  Brandon looked a few things up on the internet, had Kathleen go through a handful of tests, and decided to call the med unit.  The medical facilities available in Tajikistan aren't anywhere you'd like to have your appendix taken out, so catching anything early enough to make a flight to London is a good idea.

The med officer was out of town, so Brandon met the assistant, a local doctor who worked at the embassy, at the med unit.  An hour or so later he came back with a clean bill of health.  She had both her blood and urine checked and nothing showed up.  I'm always happy to be wrong, but there is something anti-climactic about getting all worked up for nothing.

Monday also started out fine.  We had school, went for a walk, and Sophia and I cooked black bean soup and cornbread muffins for dinner.  I was busy finishing the neglected mousse from Sunday night and didn't get Joseph off the counter when he climbed up to helpfully stir the soup.  He was sitting backwards, playing with my spoons when he fell off the counter.  I picked him up, checked for blood, comforted him, and laid him on the couch while I finished up dinner.

It was warm so we ate outside.  Joseph devoured his muffin and had to be fed his soup, as always.  He complained about not feeling well so I laid him down on the couch.  Brandon came home from work a few minutes later and found Joseph fast asleep.  I told him about the fall.  Concerned, Brandon woke Joseph up and made a vain attempt at seeing if Joseph's eyes were tracking properly.  After a failed attempt with Brandon's fingers, I pulled out my phone right as Joseph announced that he was going to throw up and stumbled for the bathroom.

Unfortunately the bathroom was a long walk from the couch and I got to clean up the trail while Brandon showered Joseph down and got him ready for bed.  We tucked him in and I fetched a bowl to save the bedroom carpet.  I brought it just in time for Joseph to use it.  Brandon got to work on Google.  After looking up reasons while you should take your child to the ER after a head injury and finding 'repeated vomiting,' we decided that three times counts as 'repeated.'  If the threw up again, it was time to call the med unit.  Again.

He threw up.  We called the assistant.  After she heard that he had thrown up three times, she started calling clinics to see what was open.  A few minutes later she called back.  Nothing was open.  How was Joseph?  He had just vomited again - just bile now - and so this time we got a house call.  After some examination, Joseph was declared fracture free and fine until morning when the clinics would be open for an MRI.  After the doctor left, he threw up a couple more times before calling it a night and getting to sleep around ten.

The next morning Brandon took him for his very first MRI.  He wiggled so badly that sedation was brought up, but he managed to calm down and eventually just fell asleep.  Brandon brought him home for lunch, and another child was given another clean bill of health.  I was told to not let any more children injure themselves for at least six months.  I stayed quiet.

Friday also started out fine.  The children had school off so I made two pounds of cheese before spending a lovely spring morning outside drawing.  We had plans for meeting friends at the botanical gardens in the afternoon.  The children helped me pack snacks and got their bikes ready to go before heading out.  Everyone was out enjoying the beautiful spring weather and the children explored the paths that wound through the forest, biking ahead and only returning when our calling got loud enough to raise half of Dushanbe.  One time Sophia came back covered in dirt and scratches, crying.  She had crashed her bike, she told me, but some people helped her up and she was okay.  I checked for protruding bones, suspicious bumps, or large swelling.  There weren't any, so we went on.

Sophia, however, felt badly enough to need a twenty minutes' rest before heading back home.  By the end of the ride, she was walking her bike because the rough roads caused her left arm to hurt too much.  I called Brandon.  Luckily he was at work so he couldn't yell.  We conferenced and decided to wait and see in the morning.  The next morning her arm still hurt.  We conferenced again.

I wanted to call up our very good friends and march down to the hospital and get everything taken care of.  We were both home and so nobody would have to miss work or school.  Brandon pointed out that we had already called out the cavalry twice that week and maybe it would be better to wait until Monday during normal working hours.  So we waited.

Monday I got to see the med officer, as our dear friend the assistant had just started an extended leave.  After having Sophia twist her arm, take off her shirt, push against his hand, and a few other things, he declared that her arm probably wasn't broken.  But just to be sure, she would get an x-ray.  Unfortunately, he couldn't go with us because he was the only person in the med unit.  And so our very good friend was called in from her leave to take Sophia to a local clinic for an x-ray.

After a few quick pictures (Mom, that was really fast!), Sophia was declared fracture-free.  As a mother I was relieved.  But I also felt kind of silly for getting alarmed when there turned out to be no problems.  But in the end it's better to not have a broken arm, even if you have feel silly in order to make sure.

Brandon has put us all on a strict diet of doing nothing and going nowhere for at least the next month.  It's bad enough to plague your local pediatrician, but it's ten times worse when you start to get a reputation as that family who has so many children who are getting hurt all of the time - people might start to think that we're doing something wrong.  But I am grateful that no emergency plane flights were taken and everyone is in good health.  For now.


Ashlie said...

Yikes!! Sounds like an eventful week or two. Glad everyone is okay!

UnkaDave said...

Nice. They must not have as many child abuse laws in Asian countries. Just kidding..just kidding.

Just US said...

Life would be boring if the children weren't keeping you on your toes. I am glad everybody is good to go and that you had a med unit to help you out. Hopefully Brandon's strict diet of doing nothing lifts soon.