May 29, 2014

More Than She Bargained For

A couple weeks ago we received a special visitor, a young lady we've known since she was a little ole' thing.  Well, she's still quite petite.  This is a homegrown South Carolinian gal who is working on a minor in Spanish and chose Paraguay to do some cultural studies.  Culture, you say?  Gotcha covered!  Come on down!

Whitney, Caroline, and Camille at youth service
SOURCE: Dios es +
So Camille and I bussed into Asuncion to pick Whitney up on one of the biggest holidays of the year (the Paraguayan Mothers Day / Independence Day combo).  Lucky for Whitney, the streets were clear of the normally insane and scary traffic, and we had an uneventful, albeit really long, trip back to Encarnación.

She jumped right in, accompanying us on whatever missions fun was on tap for that day.  She even took some solo trips when a few of my English students offered to take her for a day of classes at high school.  She endured a really cold, windy, rainy day at the prison, played volleyball with a local team, taught English to a group of 1st graders with about 30 seconds notice, helped us with the remodeling and construction work at the youth center, and attended several church services, youth events, and a Mothers Day party.

Then she felt a little bad.  Then she felt a little worse.  Then she felt a lot worse.

I did that thing I do, pulling out my box of goodies and self-diagnosing.  But this one wasn't giving up, so we gave in and made a trip to the emergency room, where most people go here to get treatment if they don't have a regular doctor (most don't).  Poor baby had to endure a few tests and a bunch of mashing around on her aching belly, then they sent us home with prescriptions for some meds.

But she didn't get better.

Keeping a smile on--This was the removal of the IV
so we could get outta there!
After that call I always make to my mom at times like these, we went back to the ER and the doctor decided she needed to be admitted for further tests and treatment for dehydration.  I held her foot and prayed as this sweet, quiet little gal got her first IV and was prepped to spend her first night in the hospital.  Man, did I feel bad that she got so sick on our watch.  Her list of firsts was supposed to be filled with the funner things...first time to visit Jesuit ruins, first time to interview someone totally in Spanish, first time to have a pj party in a foreign get it.

The nurses all wanted to know what she was doing here (and to reprimand me for letting her get sick--"Don't you know she can't eat the food or drink the water from here?"), so there were lots of opportunities to share her story.  Turns out she'd gotten ahold of some crazy bacteria that had caused an infection in her gastrointestinal system.  Well, I guess it's closer to say that some crazy bacteria got ahold of her.

She handled those two nights stuck in the hospital room with me to talk her head off, with lots of grace. I'm sure she also learned a slew of new health-related vocabulary, which should make that report she has to give back at her college quite interesting.  She's resting at our house now, and her new friends are already working on who'll be the next one to take her to school or for a walk around town to see the sites.
A special pizza lunch to meet and greet Whitney (beside me on far right)
She's a great ambassador for American Christian youth and her shining personality has made it easy for Encarnación to fall in love with Whitney.  (I've already had to tell more than one fella that she has a steady guy back home... You're welcome, Brandon!)

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