About 2am I decided that I was going to go to the Dr first thing this morning. I should probably have gone earlier this week, as this was the third night out of four that I’d been awake debating the issue. I’d actually been putting it off because I didn’t want to blog about it. It’ll just go away, we always have tummy trouble. No need to make a big deal out of it. I really don’t want to be the oh-poor-missionary, so if you’re going to read further, you’re not allowed to oh-poor-missionary me! Most missionaries that I know in third world countries are pretty comfortable navigating the health systems of mission hospitals and clinics. If you put us in the American health care system though, that’s when you can oh-poor-missionary me. But not today.
Priscilla arrived at 7:30 and I promptly handed the girls off and headed across town. It was a grey sunshiney day that promised some great clouds later.
Our first choice for medical care in Lilongwe is the Partners in Hope clinic and hospital. It’s a nice, large facility, is open 8am to 8pm, and has several doctors on staff – two of whom are missionary friends. If you have an appointment you get to go to the special waiting area with nice cushy chairs, but for today I was in the main waiting area.
I saw Dr Jones and told him of the stomach pain I’d been experiencing intermittently since Saturday. He asked a lot of questions and had some blood work run before we narrowed it down: peptic ulcer. I knew coffee (only 1 cup a day!) had been bothering my usually sensitive tummy, so I stopped drinking it about 2 weeks ago. And then, the most recent aggravation… I’m going to guess it came from KFC on Friday night! Too much grease and my stomach just wasn’t ready for it! Sorry Abi, we’re not going back. I’ll just have to google a copycat recipe for KFC mashed potatoes for you.
Doctors’ offices are not places people usually take lots of pictures, but as I walked back to the waiting room I grabbed a shot of the 3 different eye charts at the end of the hall. The one on the right is the one I’m more familiar with. The one on the left is a capital E and you must be able to distinguish which direction it is facing. But it’s the one in the middle that caught my attention – it’s all pictures or symbols. I could see this being helpful with little kids, but I’m sure it’s in this clinic because not everyone who comes through here knows their letters well enough to navigate the more familiar chart.
Every clinic I’ve been to here in Malawi has its own pharmacy. Partners in Hope has their own as well, though it’s a far cry from the commercial cacophony of the pharmacies I’ve been to in the States. I prefer this kind. This is what I need; Here you go. And I can take care of both the clinic and pharmacy bill at the same time – which are both 100% covered by our insurance, and Partners in Hope files it for us. Thank you easy medical system.
By the time I drove home, those great African clouds filled the sky. This is such a spectacularly beautiful country, even just driving home from the doctor’s office!
I emailed Matt to let him know what the diagnosis was, and he wrote back asking if it would have been better to have had worms. Yep, it would have been. That’s what I thought it was. For worms you can take 1 pill in the morning and 1 in the evening and you’re done – no side effects, just done. For peptic acid, I take a pill every morning, an hour before I eat anything, for 30 days, and should be feeling better in 2 weeks. However, I’m glad to know what the issue is and that it is, relatively, so very easy to treat.
My medical adventure took most of the morning, but I was back in time for lunch and to put the girls down for rest time. While they rested, I met with a new lady for counseling. Do you know what I love about counseling? I love the confidence I can have in God’s Word and in the work of His Holy Spirit in the life of a believer. I’m not counseling on my own – I am merely a small part of what God is doing in this person’s life. I love that. It’s still hard work though, and especially meeting with someone for the first time. The weight of sin is heavy and it saddens me. Sometimes we bring the sadness, heartache, and consequences on ourselves with our own sin, and sometimes we experience the sadness, heartache, and consequences of living in a sinful world. Whatever the circumstances, counseling is at the same both a heavy and joyful experience for me.
Speaking of joy, Naomi Joy and I got to talk to Matt this afternoon and sent him this picture while we talked with him on Skype!
It had been a busy day, and a few restless nights this week, so about 5pm I decided that we were going out to dinner. I just didn’t have dinner-making in me tonight. So we headed to Buchanans, a cute little restaurant at a plant nursery that we’ve recently rediscovered. While we waited for our food, the girls kept themselves busy writing me notes (using a stencil!) and drawing me scribble pictures.
Spaghetti and meatballs was on the menu for the girls, and I had the least acidic salad on the menu. =) All tummies left full and content.
Back home, a quick shower for the girls and then their goodnight routine, which includes an ugga-mugga nose rub. Naomi looks like she got a little manhandled in this picture, but she’s a fan of the ugga-mugga so she puts up with it!
The girls are in bed, the house is quiet, and I’m about to head to bed myself, hopefully to sleep through the night with no tummy troubles. Tomorrow’s a big day – grocery shopping day!