The doctor becomes a patient.

2014 started with the new and somewhat unwelcome experience of being a patient. Doctors are known for not being good at following their own advice and I’m no exception!
After a couple of bouts of diarrhoea and vomiting at the end of last year I was back in work when the symptoms came back. Despite not being able to eat or drink much I carried on working. Thankfully it was a quiet week on paeds so I could go back to bed in the afternoons. By the weekend even I had to admit that the stomach bug was not going away. It was in fact getting worse and I was by now significantly dehydrated and not very well. After spending a lot of Friday night in the bathroom and unable to keep water down it was time to consider some drastic measures. With the medical superintendent on the case I was admitted to female ward, put on IV fluids, antibiotics and anti-sickness medication. The next 24 hours were spent in a blur of needles, fluids, sleep, unsteady trips to the bathroom and some interesting reaction to medication!

In Uganda patients are expected to have an attendant who cooks, washes clothes and generally looks after their non-medical needs. The friends who very kindly took it in turns to sit with me and be my attendants that Saturday found my reaction to the anti-sickness medication particularly entertaining as I became even more sleepy and unsteady and started slurring my words. Sadly it didn’t do its anti-sickness job either so decided not to take any more of that one!

One of my friends and colleagues offered to set up a hospital room in her house rather than have me stay on female ward. This was much appreciated since as a Mzungu (white person) I had already had lots of staring as I was helped onto the ward and think there may have been numerous small heads appearing at the window once word got out I was there! It would also have been noisy on the ward and I don’t think anyone fancied sleeping in the hospital as my attendant overnight!

We found a handy set of nails above the bed to hang my drip on and that’s where I stayed for the next few days, except for frequent trips to the bathroom! I am amazed and grateful to God that each night I was able to sleep through without needing to get up – as was my host who had her usual day job to so as well! It was a couple of days before I could face drinking anything so I stayed on IV fluids and antibiotics, which I learnt to draw up, mix and administer myself. Wednesday was an exciting day as I had my 1st meal in 9 days – Marmite on toast. Yum 🙂 . The drip came down Friday and I finished my antibiotics so it was with great pleasure I took out the IV line and now had use of both hands again.

We still don’t know what bacteria/virus/parasite was the problem but I am now doing much better. Still very tired and don’t have a great appetite but these are improving. I probably won’t be back in work this week, though the weekend I’m supposed to be on call so will see how I am by then and will hopefully be able to at least do some of it.

While this hasn’t been a pleasant experience in many ways, I have been touched by how many people have visited, texted or phoned to see how I am and say they are praying for me. I have felt very loved and blessed to be a part of the family here in Kiwoko. I have also appreciated how the medical team have willingly covered my work and how God has arranged it that there are 2 extra doctors around who are here for a few weeks.

The previous week we had been looking at Psalm 103 in our fellowship meeting and one of the members reminded me of verse 2-3 which seemed very apt.
“ Praise the Lord, my soul, forget not all His benefits – who forgives all your sins and heals all your diseases.”

Another blessing in all this is that my Christmas chocolate supply is still waiting for me and as my clothes are somewhat looser by now I can look forward to enjoying them when my normal appetite returns 🙂

For your prayers:

  • Thank you for all your messages and prayers while I have been ill. Please continue to pray that I would be back to full strength and able to get back to work soon.
  • The student Bible studies started back last week so remember those, especially my co-leader as he has to lead them by himself at the moment.
  • There is a mission trip to Karamoja in the north of Uganda in a few weeks. Pray that the team would have safe travels on the 10 hour drive there and back and that God would use the trip for His glory.
  • Thank God for the provision of a new hospital chaplain, Stephen. Pray for him as he settles in that he would be wise and humble.
  • Praise God for some rain this morning. It had not rained since November and it’s very dry and dusty so we could do with some more!



  1. Ivy Beard says:

    Hi Becca, Good to hear that you are recovering, even if somewhat slowly. I am still praying for you, that you will strengthen daily, but please don’t try to go back to work too soon. You do need to be strong to look after other people. Take care and Every Blessing. Love you lots.

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