Saige is finally getting back to her old self today – climbing on things, running around, chatting with everybody, eating a lot. We are thrilled! It has been a very scary experience but at this point, it appears that Saige most likely has a viral infection. One that should clear up on its own within 8 to 10 days. What a dramatic couple of days we have had:
I woke up early yesterday morning, determined to get an appointment to see the hot-shot pediatrician. I called him before 8 am on his cell phone (doctors give out their personal cell phone numbers here so my friend had his number) and basically begged him (“We are new to the country and don’t have a doctor and my baby is sick and I don’t know what to do. We need your help.”) and flattered him (“and my friend told me how great you are” and everybody at the American Embassy recommended you”) until he agreed to have me call his secretary and have her squeeze me in.
We arrived at his office at our scheduled appointment time of 10:30 am and he wasn’t there yet. This wasn’t surprising. I am getting used to the lack of punctuality here. Then another woman walked in with her baby. The woman had on huge diamond earrings, a Cartier bracelet and was carrying a Birkin bag (I did my research for this blog and it costs anywhere from $9,000 to $150,000). Wow, this guy really is the pediatrician for the rich and famous!
Hot-shot doctor finally arrived twenty minutes late. He was tall and lanky with wild, shoulder-length gray hair and a somewhat shiny gray suit. Not what I expected! But this guy was sharp. He listened. He paid attention to my concern that the clinic physician didn’t really know what amoeba Saige had. He said, “the medicine is a theoretical threat at this point but the amoebas are a real threat. However, amoebas are very hard to diagnose. There are good amoebas and bad amoebas and the difference is in the number of nuclei which are hard to see under a microscope. Also certain types of normal human cells can be mistaken for amoebas.” And then he suggested that we repeat the lab work at a different lab just to make sure that Saige really has amoebas before we treat her with harsh medicine. We were very happy to hear this, but the trick to getting an accurate reading is for the poop specimen to be as fresh as possible.
So Saige and I found a playground close to the lab and waited… and played… and waited… and met another American mom… and waited… and met a Colombian dad who studied in Boston… and waited… until she finally pooped. Hallelujah! Off to the lab we ran and left the specimen for testing.
In the meantime, we had another appointment scheduled with a pediatrician who is also a homeopath. She had a very different approach. She spent a lot of time with us (about an hour and a half) and asked all kinds of questions, down to how I felt while pregnant with Saige. Esteban was rolling his eyes impatiently because he was afraid of getting stuck in rush-hour traffic, but I actually appreciated her thoroughness and holistic approach. She called the lab repeatedly to see if the results were ready and told us not to worry because the amoebas can be treated homeopathically (we were somewhat skeptical about this).
After half of a dozen calls to the lab, we finally got the results and they we negative – no parasites! We wondered if we should repeat the lab work again but the doctor told us that she was pretty sure that Saige had a virus which should clear up on its own. “The best thing you can do for her is to keep breastfeeding”, she said. “That is her best medicine right now.” Aye, aye, I am doing my part.
And then, miracle of miracles, Saige woke up bright-eyed and bushy-tailed this morning. Back to her old self. I called the hot-shot doctor for a last consult and he concurred with the homeopath that if Saige is improving, we should just relax and not bother with yet another set of tests. Phew! Major exhale! We were so relieved!
We also learned a major lesson from this: to be really careful about what we eat, especially the kids. Especially Saige, since she is so young. No ice, no fruit juices made with water, no raw vegetables, no fruits that weren’t peeled by us (after washing the skins with special soap). We have been very lax since we have been here (probably because so many places that we eat look very clean and upscale) and we have been kicking ourselves for it when we thought that Saige had amoebas. Not that self flagellation helps, but we couldn’t help ourselves. But lesson learned. No more green juice drinks. No more salads. Anything to avoid going through this again.
Thank you all for your support and caring e-mails and phone calls! It’s good to know that we have so much love in our lives!