By late afternoon, Esteban took a turn for the worse. He seemed fairly OK one minute and the next, he started to complain of being cold. Within a minute, his teeth were chattering and he could not stop shivering from the cold. I put four blankets on him, made him hot agua de panela (sugar water with lemon) and hugged him to try to warm him up. This went on for half an hour. It was really scary!
We started freaking out a little bit. This didn’t seem like a throat infection. His throat doesn’t even hurt. And we were just on the Coast where Malaria abounds. I started reading about Malaria symptoms online and called our friend, who is a doctor that specializes in tropical diseases. He offered to come right over to see Esteban.
He was there within twenty minutes and after a thorough exam concluded that Esteban definitely has an infection and maybe Dengue fever. Dengue fever is an unpleasant illness (it’s also call the “bone breaking disease” because you feel so awful) that resolves itself 80% of the time within five days. Twenty percent of the time, Dengue fever does not resolve itself and there are serious complications, including death. There is no cure for Dengue. Doctors just try to manage symptoms.
Bottom line: he prescribed some more medicine and told Esteban to keep taking the antibiotics. He also ordered a shot of some strong medicine from a local pharmacy. He said that the medicine should help Esteban feel better for about twelve hours which will allow him to rest and recuperate. He also said that if Esteban doesn’t feel better by tomorrow after all of this medicine, we will need to go to urgent care in Bogota and run tests for Dengue and Malaria. Keep your fingers crossed for us…
On an appreciative note, not only did this friend come over to help Esteban but I came downstairs after he left, to find that Alejandra, my friend, had cleaned our entire kitchen. With everything going on today and our housekeeper sick, the kitchen was starting to look like a disaster area. My friend not only washed a sink full of dishes but scrubbed the counter tops and washed the floors. I was astounded and extremely grateful. Wow, these are friends we have known for less than five months!
On a slightly comical note, Esteban was afraid of the shot he had to get. I was jokingly telling him how grateful I am that I was the one who had the babies. Way easier than it would be to support him through childbirth. Anyway, I was expecting that a nurse would be arriving at our house to give Esteban his shot. Imagine my surprise (and laughter) when a young guy pulls up on a motor cycle. He takes off his helmet, under which he is wearing a baseball cap, backwards, and has an ipod head phones in his ears. “Are you going to give my husband his shot?” I asked. “Yes” he replied. I could not suppress my laughter. The tension and stress of the day were just too much and there was little to do but laugh.
So motorcycle dude followed me upstairs. He didn’t even take off his reflective motor cycle jacket or remove his IPOD headphones before he gave Esteban his shot. He did wash his hands and used a clean needle though. Being the supportive wife that I am, I took photos. Sometimes I feel like I am living in a Gabriel Garcia Marquez novel here.