Yesterday I finally succumbed and went to the doctor. We went to Hospital St. Nicholas in Saint-Marc. Ryan drove the car, and Lisa accompanied us, for which I was beyond grateful. Lisa is a nurse and works at this hospital (though today was a day off for her), so she knows the ins and outs of the hospital, knows her way around, and knows the staff (who's good and who's bad). She got me expedited service, translated for me with her fluent Creole, and overall guided me through the process of the entire day, making me feel confident and secure.
When we first got to the hospital, we had to stop by a little window where there was a little form we had to fill out, and as Lisa helped me to fill mine out, suddenly I turned my head. A woman behind me had broken out into loud, heart-rending sobs. She was sitting on the steps, her head between her knees, crying inconsolably. Lisa looked at her with compassion in her eyes. "You know," she said, "When you work in this field, your life often intersects with other people's lives on the very worst day of their life." When I walked by her I handed her a Clif bar that I happened to have in my purse. But how shallow it felt, as if eating something could make everything all better.
It definitely put my condition into perspective, though, to go through the gates and see the other patients. The first person we saw had a massive growth on the right side of his jaw and neck. It was about the size of a softball, and he had endeavored to conceal it somewhat with a bit of checkered cloth attached to the inside of the brim of his baseball cap. What is that? We all wondered. Another person we saw was an old woman with white hair, sitting on the ground on a quilt in the area where there were benches set up for people to wait for their appointments. Lisa said her family had dumped her here, and that that is a regular practice, for people to abandon their elderly at the hospital. She was extremely thin and looked so sad and hopeless.
I saw the doctor and he suspected Malaria and Hepatitis A. He prescribed some additional blood tests and a urine sample to check for various things. Lisa was so great! She knew the hospital's lab would be closed by that time of day, so she just went into the emergency room and grabbed the urine sample sticks. "I can read this myself," she announced. So we got that done at no additional charge. :-) Then we went to a private lab for the other tests. My malaria results came back positive, and my hemoglobin count came back normal, but I'll have to wait until Monday for the other results, including the Hep A test.
So! I had Malaria ON TOP of Hepatitis. (Probably. The Hepatitis part isn't confirmed yet. But there's definitely inflammation of my liver for some reason.) No wonder I felt awful!