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Saturday, October 10, 2009

It's a hellish road to paradise

5 am Thursday: an hour before we planned to get up and leave, Jack wakes up with violent spasms of vomiting, over and over.  By the time we pack the car, Julia is similarly stricken.  I'm juggling basins and splashing bleach as Assusi emerges from her room with similar symptoms.  We know we are doomed.
3 pm Arrive in Entebbe, no one has eaten all day, we have stopped along the road at least ten times for uncontrollable explosions from both ends.  Jack is burning with fever, I can't stay awake, and Scott's hope of being by-passed is dashed when a cup of tea sends him running to the bathroom.
5 pm We talk to our team and find out that 9 of 9 people who ate the ice cream I oh-so-generously made and shared last night are down.  I feel like a murderer.  For years I used my parents' technique which included raw eggs . . .but during one of JD's pregnancies I worried about salmonella and started cooking the custard.  We've never been sick from it before.  I got sloppy--threw the eggs into the hot milk, but rapidly took it off to cool.  Seems there was something brewing, and now most of my family and team are paying the price.  We tell our kids to try not to look sick . . there is a fair amount of swine flu paranoia, and this is clearly food poisoning, and we can just envision being turned away from our flight to Kenya.  Our cover is blown when Jack vomits dramatically right on the floor in the airport as we rush to find a trash can.  Misery.
7 pm.  Jack and Julia lie on the floor, anywhere they can, in the airport.  "They're just so tired" I say to helpful people who enquire. They look pasty. We all avoid food and stay close to the bathroom.  When we move from one line to another, nearer to the gate, we peel them off the filthy floor and the collapse at the next stop.  Julia finishes her final stomach-emptying on the tarmac as we walk to the airplane.
10 pm The black cavelas (small polyethylene bags) I packed are lifesavers.  But only 5, and they are soon in short supply.  We make it to the guest house in Nairobi where Luke and Caleb are already waiting, asleep.  I'm shaking with chills and fever by now, and Jack is up every hour.
5 am Friday:  We never even carried our suitcases up the stairs, just left them by the door and collapsed into beds.  Now we're back in the dark in a taxi to the airport for the early flight to the coast. Caleb is chipper in spite of the early hour, having slept through the night's distresses, and Luke is forgiving us for waking him . . .at least now we have two healthy sane people in our family.  More lying on the floor, more running to the bathroom and not always making it in time.  The departure area is stocked with a few uncomfortable plastic chairs and a mal-functioning PA system that emits a high pitched shriek for about 50 seconds out of every minute.  This seems not to bother anyone but us.
8 am Land in Mombasa, then a 2 1/2 hour drive to our hotel.  No one throws up.  Amazing.
24 hours later:  The fevers are losing intensity, and everyone has tentatively tried a few bites of food, though paid the price soon after.  Luke and Caleb were able to windsurf while the rest of us slept.  Frankly all we care about is a level clean bed and nearby facilities, and hope the boys can have some fun.  Until we woke to pouring rain this morning, of course.  

Waiting for rescue . . . 


Jan B said...

So sorry! Praying you'll be feeling better very soon.
Jan in West Africa

Anonymous said...

What an ordeal. My heart goes out to all of you. But I did burst out laughing at "I felt like a murderer." And you weren't kidding. Be well, all of you.

KevinandJD said...

What a nightmare... although reading about the adventure does lend quite a sense of humor to the whole nasty situation. I can just imagine the airport scene. Hope the rain clears and the return trip is uneventful.

Amy said...

I just can't even imagine. May the rest of your trip be truly restful and free from sickness. Thanks for always sharing...the good, the bad, and the ugly! I hope you're all feeling MUCH better at this point.

Cindy Nore said...

Bless all of your hearts (and your stomachs and GI tracts as well). You were so sweet to make everyone ice cream! I am SO sorry that the start of this trip has been so rough. Praying that you will all feel much better soon and that the others on your team will recover quickly too.

I am asking the Lord to bless you all with sweet, peaceful family time and will keep you all healthy the next few days.

With love- Cindy Nore

Heather Pike Agnello said...

so, so sorry!!! love you guys so and will pray for swift recoveries all around, and for salvaged joy on your journey...

Anonymous said...

I am asking the Lord to bless you all with sweet, peaceful family time and will keep you all healthy the next few days.