It started as a tiny sore on my leg, barely even visible. The next day it was an irritated spot, the size of a dime. For about 3 days, it stayed small as I put neosporin and a bandaid on it. And then, last Sunday, the sore suddenly grew to quarter-size and around it, was a patch of hot, swollen skin. I'm a diligent nurse - I marked the swelling with a sharpie so I could track it and I had my co-nurse, Grace, give me an antibiotic shot.
On Monday, the swelling had spread an inch beyond Sunday's marks and the sore in the middle had grown too. I was running a fever of 99.9 and my leg killed! Every step, every bump I hit on my bike sent pain shooting up and down my leg. And even when I was just sitting or standing, it would jab me out of nowhere. I ignored it and worked a full day of clinic and nursing assistant class. But I did start myself on bactrim, a strong antibiotic.
On Monday evening, I begged Grace to cut my sore open. I love draining pus out of infected things and I had a hunch that mine had some that needed to come out. So she sliced me and pushed pus out of my abscess. It hurt. A lot. A whole lot. I lay down on my bed, took a hefty dose of Ibuprofen, and thought, "What if this doesn't get better?" I was already suspicious that it was a staph infection, which can get very serious very quickly, and sometimes that kind of knowledge just leads to worrying.
Fortunately, I woke up on Tuesday without much pain and felt able to go about my day as planned.
The 5am walk to Jubilee that Grace and I took to put an IV in Brian's dehydrated wife, the 10 miles that I biked that day to go to the Home for the Dying, the 3 pharmacies I visited looking for a med for clinic, and the 2 hour class I taught did not do good things for me. By that evening, the swelling had spread even more, and the deep red bull's eye was the size of a golf ball. My ankle was all swollen too, just from being on my bad leg all day. My fever was 101 and I was exhausted.
My roommate went all-out "Nurse Grace" on me. She put me on strict bedrest all day Wednesday, with the only exception being my nursing class. I was allowed to teach but for the other 22 hours of the day, my leg had to be elevated. That evening, our community also had a little prayer meeting, specifically for those of us in the community who were sick. We also doubled my dose of antibiotics.
Tuesday and Wednesday
Prayer and bedrest and lots of drugs started to work on Thursday. The swelling finally began to go down along with my pain and fever. By Saturday, I was feeling great and packed my backpack to go to Port-au-Prince for youth group with my friends Katie and Kathleen. Wouldn't you know, on a road that I have walked hundreds of time in dark, we got held up at gunpoint by 2 thugs who robbed us, which for me meant losing my phone, keys, little Ipod, about $30, a jump drive, favorite sweatshirt, and the necklace that I've worn daily for the past 9 years.
The thugs walked away and the first thing we did was pray for them. "God please bless them," and then we started laughing. We have continued to laugh about that and about my rather serious leg infection all week.
What can I say? Sometimes things get hard, but when your God is close and you know He's in control, it just doesn't feel that bad. In fact, this week, it's felt rather fun. Weird, I know, but I can't explain why except to tell you that God and I have been spending quality time together and that seems to make all the difference in the world.