Hospitality in the Hospital

Kathy Randall: Kisumu, Kenya
Friday a week ago was not my best day in Kenya. It began well, a phone call for a birthday, but when I hung up I had to make a choo stop. And I realized I was unwell. I was supposed to be preaching again, like the previous day, but I quickly realized that I could not do that. I could barely stand. I could not look at food. Not a good condition to have anywhere, but especially on a day when you are supposed to be moving. I had my things packed, living out of a suitcase facilitates easy packing. And my host and organizer arrived, Ibrahim, a great resource for Umoja, to bring me and my things to the pastor’s house, originally so my luggage could wait there while I was preaching at the community group, now just so I could await the next plan. Thankfully, the pastor had the wisdom to but me in a room away from the bustle of the house, and I laid there, my temperature rising, strength leaving, until Ibrahim arrived with a Sprite, and the drive to call our director, Joseph, and say that I needed to go to the hospital. I knew I didn’t need to go. I never go to the hospital. But then he began to tell me the symptoms of malaria, and my temperature was at least two degrees above normal, and I thought that it would not be a bad idea. Just in case.
First, though, I had to get to my new homestay. This involved Ibrahim and a helper to carry my luggage. I may have packed relatively lightly, but I could not have carried my things this day. We went to the main road, intending to pick a Matatu, but luckily someone was leaving the compound and going our direction, and had three seats open. So we were able to be dropped at Daraja Mbili (literally: two bridges. Only one remains, but the name hasn’t changed). We then had to walk up the hill and up to the grail centre. Only by force of drive was I able to make this walk, it is either a quarter or a half of a kilometer, the signs say both, but it was enough to wear me out completely.
Finally, Charles, one of the pastors on our board, arrived, and proceeded to take me into the hospital in Kisumu. The Aga Khan is the private hospital run by the Islamic foundation in the area, and is the best hospital in Kisumu. In two hours, I saw a doctor, had labs drawn, was given a place to lie down because they didn’t want me to faint on them, my BP was 100/36, received the lab results from the doctor, prescriptions, and had them filled. It was approximately from the beginning to the end of the second USA world cup game. I left, $42 poorer, but in possession of drugs for my amoebas and bacteria invading my body, and some pain pills to ease the back spasms I’d been having for the past three days. Not bad, not bad. I drank water and ate the next day. And now I am all better.

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