Jul 20, 2012

It's getting hot in here...


Greetings from Jozi! I am so sorry for the super long absence but for those of you who have been keeping track of me via Facebook you know that May and the beginning of June were rough days for me! Speaking of which, if we're not friends on FB yet, come and find me at: facebook.com/nicole.gillette1

At the end of May I spent two full days at the hospital with on of our littles who had to have surgery to loosen tendons in her feet to help correct her Club Feet. On the second day I started feeling pretty poorly and by the time I got home I realized that I was running a high fever. After resting for a few days the fever persisted and the strange thing being that other than the fever (that averaged between 101 -102) I had no other symptoms! After a week of “waiting out the virus” I finally visited my doctor, and she, too was mystified. Everything looked fine, my throat, my ears, my blood pressure; everything seemed normal except for the fact that I was burning up! She ended up prescribing 2 different types of broad-spectrum antibiotics to try and cover all the bases as well as running quite a few blood tests. After taking the meds for 4 days and trying to manage my fever for almost two weeks my stomach started protesting and I couldn’t keep anything down which meant that I couldn’t keep my fever down either. I also started having trouble breathing and was coughing weird, short coughs when my fever was high. My doctor sent me to get a chest x-ray to rule out TB and drew more blood for more testing, all which came back clear but the fever raged on. At this point in time I had literally spent 2 weeks in bed and by the end of the week the only thing left to do was to admit to the hospital. After spending 2 hours wrestling with the admissions officer, my medical insurance in the States and eventually forking over R13,000 I was finally given a bed in Mulbarton Hospital, a private hospital only 5 minutes from Baby House 1. I’ve never been admitted to the hospital, let alone a hospital in Africa!

Thankfully because of my medical insurance I was able be treated at a private hospital, which is a definite step up from a public hospital, but it was still pretty sketchy at times and I had to really be my own advocate for proper care. For example I would ring for a nurse to come check my temperature once it started to spike. They would eventually respond, I would ask for my temperature to be taken. Ten minutes later they would come back with the thermometer and sure enough “It seems like your fever is spiking once again… it’s now 102”. They would leave the room and 15 minutes later I would ring the bell again and once they finally came around I would then ask, “Can I please have some medicine to help bring my fever down?”  And then twenty minutes later they would be back with the meds…tired yet? Try that for five, long days and nights! After a CT Scan, an Ultrasound another chest x-ray, drip and oral Antibiotics, and a myriad of blood tests at all hours of the day and night I was finally diagnosed with Eptisne Bar Virus. Which is really just a fancy name for Mono! Who gets hospitalized for Mono? Oh, this girl does! Talk about frustrating!

In all actuality it was really good that I was hospitalized, by the time I was admitted my liver had started freaking out and thickening my blood and being on blood thinners while I was in the hospital helped me not throw any blood clots. I was also able to get a diagnosis, some really good rest, rehydrate with IV fluids and get my hands on stronger meds that helped control my fever for longer periods of time as well as meds that helped counteract said meds impact on the lining of my stomach. I was discharged with instructions to rest, not kiss anyone on the mouth or share a drink with anyone as well as a good batch of meds and my constant companion: a fever.

Over time the fever slowly came down and I have been fever free since the end of June which equals up to a whole 30 days of running a fever! It’s been pretty funny looking back at some of the things I said and did when my fever was high… trying to decipher entries in my calendar or journal for example. I am still trying to listen to my body by getting lots of sleep and not pushing to hard.  I have been taking it slow which for me is really difficult! All in all I literally spent three weeks in bed and away from our babies, which was really rough. I have been resting in the loving care of our Father, trusting His Sovereign hand and being reminded of His nearness through the encouraging words, prayers and supporting coming from my family here in South Africa and home in the US. Through all of the uncertainties and unknowns of being sick and absent from the day-to-day functions of my calling here I have been reminded that the One who has called me is FAITHFUL! He is the One who is going to be faithful to complete the good work that He has begun in me. He is my Physician and Healer, my Good Shepherd who will never leave or forsake me.

At the end of June I was also blessed to receive a visit from Dan and Melissa Bowen who not only brought with them comfort, joy and laughter but a huge suitcase of blessings for our babies, aunties and me. Thank you so much to everyone who sent me the love, letters, chocolate chips, outfits, thermometers, headbands, leg warmers and “Auntie” baby clothes! Even though it’s been a rough stint for me I have felt continually loved and cared for by the love of Christ coming to me in all directions: prayers said over the phone and through email, someone came to see me every day I was in the hospital, the Bowen’s coming to see me at the perfect time and all the words of encouragement coming from every which way!

I am so grateful for your love and support. We are continuing to grow here at DOH receiving new babies each week and lots of prayers and plans for expansion and growth. We are really excited about the rest of 2012 all that God has in store for us and for all of the babies He’s yet to bring our way in the coming months.

Here are a few new pictures for you to feast your eyes on!

Hugs and kisses!

Love,  Nicole and all the babies at DOH!!!


 Hanging out with the big babies... happy to be back but looking tired! 

 Many of our Big Babies are just starting to pull up on things...

 It's amazing how big they can get so fast!!!

 Spending time skin-to-skin with one of our newest baby girls... less than 24 hours old!

 Celebrating the marriage of one of my good friends and Aunties, Marceline. My first African wedding!

 So happy to be back into the swing of things!

 Spending time with our baby girl "K" during her 2+ week hospital stay for pneumonia... 

Holding hands in the ICU... she has since been discharged and is home safe and sound!

Little Moose Heads Home

I am not sure how time flies by so quickly but somehow 712 days seems like they flew right by! It feels like just yesterday we got this...