The Haitian Donkey struggled with lots of help to get home from Haiti to be in the “good old USA” with our advanced medicine for further treatment of his severe chills, rigors and fevers each day or so if needed. Within 48 hours of arrival home, the fevers continued, so I tried to get in to see the infectious disease doctor I had seen in the previous hospitalization, but she was on maternity leave, and her partners sent me to the ER against my better judgment. I had a fever over 104, so they took all the warm clothes off me to cool me down, starting another episode of rigors, during which I get such muscle tightness that it is often hard to breathe. They also wanted to redo the CT scan, so poured a bunch of IVs (room temperature, but 30 degrees colder than my body) into me to be sure I was hydrated enough to be sure the dye didn’t harm my kidneys.
Suddenly, with the onset of the rigors, they noticed that my oxygen level and blood pressure were going quite low and my pulse up, which it likely has happened the last 20 episodes I have had, but was never monitored as was at home, and they whipped a bedazzled Haitian Donkey into a larger ER room where we are surrounded with about 20 people intent on saving my life. They whipped on the cold defibrillator patches, cutting off my T shirt and long underwear to do so and I suddenly realize where we are going. Another ER doctor asks my wife if she is medical and then informs her that they are about to intubate me. Karen says to him that I don’t want that done about the same time I tell them I don’t want to be defibrillated, I am quite alive yet, so please don’t do that. They back off, stating that I don’t want to be resuscitated (not true), send me to the CT scan and up to ICU. The nurses there talked to Karen and asked her some questions about my health and she asked if maybe we can move to a lower cost room. They said they were puzzled why someone looking so good was in ICU in the first place and why I was DNR and do not intubate. It was a scary, whirlwind couple hours that I am glad, by the grace of God and her help, I survived without further damage.
The rest of the week was a long array of specialists and their physician extenders, infectious disease, cardiology, nutrition, interventional radiology and hospitalists (they added oncology and pulmonary, but they felt they had little to contribute and declined), rarely the same person two days in a row with lots of ideas. I had the port pulled on Tuesday and had a different, older style one placed on Friday with difficulty and went home on Saturday, but the Haitian Donkey is bewildered that, after all the high powered discussion and tests, etc, they just sent him back home on the same medicine he was taking when this all began??? When I asked them that, they looked puzzled but didn’t give me any answers, just said that, if I wanted something else, they could try something else, but no one really seemed to have any definitive answers.
So please continue to pray for improved health, that my body can overcome whatever it is that no one seems to figure out, that I can figure out how to balance my work schedules and the other demands on my time to be a good steward of what time the Lord has left for me for His glory. The fragility of life was once again laid bare for Karen and me this week, as James says, “for what is your life, it is even a vapor, that appeareth for a time and then vanisheth away.” I have some difficult administrative decisions to deal with on the next scheduled trip to Haiti on March 4th, so pray that I truly will be physically, emotionally and spiritually up to do what God wants me to do there this time.
With Gratitude and Humble Appreciation for you all,
Bill and Karen Ten Haaf