Wednesday, January 11, 2012


So, as you may or may not have heard, I am finally back in the US.

On Friday of last week, my liver enzymes, ALT and AST were very high still - I had over 15 bags of IVF pumped into me and then on Sunday repeated the tests - slightly down but still ten times the norm.

on Sunday night about 8 pm, we decided to start pursuing medical evacuation.  Now,  after 3 days of travel, fatigue, red tape, bureaucratic incompetence, insurance-related ineptitudes, missed flights, and airport vigils, I am sitting in the Charlotte, NC airport waiting for my flight to Chattanooga (see attached picture of bliss and strength)

I am unsure what course I will pursue this evening, whether it be going to the hospital or trying to see a physician tomorrow.  I have some great resources in TN so I am sure that I can soon begin learning what is causing my symptoms.

I still have jaundice, icterus, fatigue, loss of appetite, easy bruising of my skin, etc - all of which point to liver involvement but is impossible to diagnose in Tchad.  While for most liver issues supportive care is the only option, it will still be good to have a clearer idea of what is going on so I am glad that I am back.

that being said, I am surprised to fine myself completely unexcited about being in America.  I was so focused on my life in Tchad and my personal and professional goals there that this is like a weird-dream alternate reality thing going on in my head right now.  I can already tell that after being there, my life will never be the same again.  I already view the world differently and I'm not even out of the airport.

thank you to everyone for expressing your concern, support, and encouragement and placing my name on prayer lists.  I feel grateful to have such an amazing support system of family and friends so thank you.

I would also like to publically (well, as public as family, several friends, and a handful of baby boomers who keep up with this thing gets!) thank Drs. Olen and Danae Netteburg for their role in helping me to get out of Tchad.  There were numerous appalling frustrations that occurred while we were trying to initiate the medivac process.  for almost 24 hours straight, Olen and Danae worked from their phones and their computers using limited resources and even more precious time to do everything it took to get me out safely.

They were with me every step of the way, answering every question, arranging everything, checking up on me and my health, and in reality fighting for me.

Since I have arrived in Tchad, my respect for them has grown almost daily.  They have made a 7 year committment to this country, are juggling being the dedicated parents of 2 small children with running an entire hospital.  During the time I was sick, I stayed with them and I was able to see firsthand the sacrifices that they make every day.  Almost every night they are woken up several times a night by the tchadian nurses.  sometimes they just answer questions and other times they get up to see patients and do surgeries.  They are literally on call night and day and during the day time often there will be a knock on their door every 15 minutes.  They never turn anyone away.  Ever.

 They see EVERY patient, make time for EVERY question and every issue that arises with the hospital.  Every day I see them go above and beyond the call of duty under conditions that would cause a lesser person to break.  And they do all of this without complaint and often cheerfully.

They also genuinely care about the health and safety of their volunteers.  No matter how tired they are, they are always here to answer questions and teach medicine.  Danae spends time with each woman on maternity, learning their stories, encouraging them, fighting for them.  In a country that was ranked as number one for ignoring women's rights, she is making a difference and in many cases giving these women a reason to live.

Anyhow, I am so grateful.  Without them going far beyond the extra mile, i would not be sitting in Charlotte right now.

so I will update more when I know more.  hopefully its nothing, right?? right.



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