“Many are the plans in a man’s heart, but it is the Lord’s purpose that prevails” (Proverbs 19:21)
Where Melissa is at right now, is certainly not listed in her plans. She is currently settling into a hospital bed in ICU. Since returning from Africa 10 days ago, she was feeling OK for about 6 days and then has had several days of running fever and having some intestinal issues and just getting weaker and feeling worse. So, yesterday I took her to the ER in our small town.
After 5 hours and lots of blood work and consults, the doctor in Oak Grove was 99% sure that she had ‘complicated or severe Malaria’. The doctor on call is from the Philippines and is familiar with Malaria, which is a good thing. By looking at the blood smear, she was pretty certain that’s what she had. That along with the enlarged liver, high billirubin, enlarged spleen and a very low platelet count (25,000 at that time) helped her to confirm the diagnosis. Our little small town hospital couldn’t keep her because of the platelet issue, so they transferred her by ambulance to a hospital in Monroe (60 miles from our town).
We arrived about 7:00 PM last night and spent all night in the trauma room waiting for a bed in ICU. We were in the ER trauma room until about 3 PM today, when we finally got word that a bed was available. She got no rest last night. WE got no rest last night. Her fever kept spiking - at times to 104. They are having a hard time with fever reduction due to these facts. The Motrin can cause bleeding, which with her low platelet count (now 19,000), would NOT be good. The Tylenol is hard on her liver so that isn’t an option either.
They have definitely diagnosed the malaria and I think have correctly identified the strain. They have been unable to find Quinidine which is an old medicine - they have looked all around this area. There is another medication available, but it is not as effective and since she has the extreme complications, they don’t want to go that route. They have started her on Doxicycline for the time being, just to help while they are waiting for the good stuff to come.
She has an extremely bad headache. She has severe aching all over. She is nauseated. She can't eat. She has a hard time resting. She feels terrible. I feel terrible. There is nothing I can do but hold her hand and brush her hair and talk to her. Pray with her. Try and make her laugh. Try and keep her from crying. Try and keep ME from crying.
They have been in touch with CDC hoping to secure the medicine from them. We just got word that the medicine they found, Artesunate, is on the way now. It is in the air on a Delta flight from Atlanta and will land in a few minutes at the Monroe airport. The pharmacist will pick it up and she will get her first dose in about an hour. Everyone at the hospital is very intrigued by her case. Several nurses have gone down to look at the slides of the parasites on the blood smear. She is the talk of the hospital. I can hear people talking about it all night and all day…. Not sure that is a good thing.. Everyone that comes in asks, "are you the girl with Malaria?"
The medicine they found has not been used in the US. It has been used in India, Africa and other parts of the world. It is not yet approved by the FDA for use here, but Melissa agreed to be part of a clinical trial. She had NO other recourse. They couldn't find enough of the Quinidine to even administer 1 dose. It is a little scary. The side effects aren't so great. The alternative isn't so great either. There are no guarantees. But I do know that we prayed about it and left it in the Lord's hands and this is what He ordered. We are OK with it. God is in control. He is on the Throne and her daddy and I fully trust that He knows best for Melissa. As much as we love her, we know that He loves her even more..
I wish she was anywhere but here. I wish that I could make this all go away. I hate watching her hurt and be afraid. I hate seeing the fear in her eyes. I hate seeing the pain on her face.
I am leaning heavily on my sweet Lord. He is upholding me and sustaining me. He is the one whom I put my trust. He is the one whom I find my rest. I am so thankful for a God who loves and who protects. Who lifts up and strengthens. Who covers and carries.
I know that regardless of the circumstances, He is here with me. He is here with Melissa. I feel His presence. I feel His touch. I feel His love. Without Him, I would be a total basket case. Instead I am just a little basket case... Just kidding... Sorta...
We covet your prayers, and I will keep you updated. Please pray for the medicine to be effective. For her platelets to rise. For her liver and spleen to heal. For there to be no serious side effects.
Love you all SO much,