Our last two days in Guangzhou were spent running back and forth to the hospital. When we left the States, Charis still had some elevated eosinophil counts. Both she and Makaria just couldn’t seem to shake the parasite that was camped out in their bodies. This is the entire reason our time was delayed in coming back home to China. While Charis’ levels went down a little, our doctors wanted another blood test to be done 3-6 months after getting back.
We did the blood tests and the doctor sat down to tell us the news. Having the doctor organize her papers and settle in for a conversation is never a good start to blood results. The doctor explained that Charis’ white blood cell count was elevated again and we would need to do some stool samples to check for parasites. This was Thursday at 4:30. We were scheduled to fly home Friday at 4:30. The hospital we were at has doctors trained in the States, so we felt confident that she knew what she was doing.
The doctor wrote out what we should do at our local hospital back home and honestly, the only think I could think of was how local hospitals remind me of a rodeo. Except that you triple the people and there are no cattle. Just people running around crazy trying to lasso a doctor to talk to. There are no lines, just each man for himself. And you have to pay for every different step of the process before the doctor will talk to you. You pay, run back, throw your receipt at the doctor and talk loudly about whatever ails you. If you are not loud, pushy and persistent, you will not leave the hospital. Ever.
This entire scene played out in my mind as she wrote the instructions down. I'm pretty sure I shortened my life by 8 years by thinking of how stressful that would be. And then to do it three times. It made me desperate and persistent to try and get the samples done in the next 24 hours.
Remember that we have been in Hong Kong eating cheese, bread and sausage for pretty much every meal. That does not bode well for getting my 5 year old daughter to produce 3 stool samples in a 24 hour period. But I kept the rodeo scene fresh in my mind at each bathroom attempt. I was not going to do this at a local hospital at home.
The Lord got my girl's bowels moving and we knocked out 2 the first night. Empowered to get this accomplished, I resorted to prune juice, apples, and plastic gloves.
It's 10 am and...nothing. She is trying so hard. We had to check out of the hotel, so we are running to public bathrooms all over the city trying to find a toilet with a seat. I won't go into a lengthy explanation here, but trust me, collecting a stool sample is easier on a toilet with a seat than on a squatty potty. The only toilet with a seat to be found was at Starbucks. This also came in handy as I put the samples in a plastic bag and transported them in Starbucks cups to the hospital.
It's now 11:15 am. We are scheduled to get on a bus at 1:00 pm to get to the airport. I am beginning to sweat and loose my cool. The plastic gloves are now having to go places that these gloves don't really want to go. Still nothing. I've now resigned to the fact that Charis and I will have to stay in Guangzhou, waiting for her to go to the bathroom. I then realized that there was a small pharmacy across the street. I ran over there and told the pharmacist that I needed something for my daughter's clogged stomach. I told her "I don't want medicine, I want a tool!" I didn't know the Chinese word for "enema", but she got the point. I paid and ran back to Starbucks. I figured, we have like 4 shares of Starbucks stock. I had certainly earned the right to give my daughter an enema in their bathrooms.
I will skip this part, but just know that the enema worked. I am now sprinting with my Starbucks cup that is carrying my daughter's third and final stool sample. I have 1 hour to drop it off at the hospital and get to the bus. Taxi drivers are changing shifts, so it takes me 20 minutes to find someone to take me. I get there, throw the sample at the nurse and dart out the front door.
Panting, I get to the bus station and we load up. Now, we will wait for the results.
We are grateful that we figured this out and hopeful that since we dealt with this exact same thing with Makaria, that a diagnosis will come fairly quickly.
We are home now with a very non-adventurous day planned today.