Saturday, June 2 started as many of our Saturdays do – with a bit longer sleep as it isn’t a working day. However, it is the day we go to church, so we were both up around 6 am. As I was doing some bible study, Les went out for his usual morning run.
I was skyping with my parents when I heard Les return, but it wasn’t until I finished and went to ask him if he wanted to try skyping his mom that he told me he wasn’t feeling well and asked for a couple of Tylenol. Les so rarely asks for medicines, that I knew something wasn’t right. He said that he had been doing the “Tansen challenge” – running up and down the 500 steps (see previous blog) 3 times – and on the second time up his head started to hurt. He started up slowly the 3rd time, but realized he really wasn’t well, so he walked back home. He drank some water and ate some bread, but was breaking out in a cold sweat and starting to feel nauseated. He laid down for awhile and then sat in a chair on the porch where I found him looking not well at all. He took the Tylenol a bit before 8 am and when he tried to change clothes and move back to the bed about 20 minutes after that, he started throwing up.
I phoned to Dr. Rachel Karrach (a friend and colleague from our previous time in Tansen) and she came right over to see Les. She thought that he needed to get a CT scan, so she phoned to another doctor who works down at the new medical college located at Parbas (about 20 minutes drive down the hill from Tansen) who sorted out the people there so they were ready for us. We got a taxi down and poor Les was sick most of the way. They put him into the CT scanner and I watched as the technician did the scan and announced, “Bleed Bhayo”. (There has been a bleed).
They put Les into a bed in the hospital and Rachel phoned to Drs. Niranjan and Savana Sharma who came right down and helped so much by making phone calls and organizing some pain meds for Les as his head was hurting quite badly. They all stayed with Les while I went back to our house in the taxi in order to pack some bags.
I tried to pack so that if we had to go right to the U.S. I would have everything with me. It was hard as our place in Tansen after 3 months was really starting to feel like home – but being frightened about possibly losing Les, all the “things” were suddenly much less significant! While I was packing, Rachel and Niranjan were sorting out things like helicopters and hospitals in KTM.
I got another taxi to the Tundikhel (a large, flat area in Tansen) and went there where I was soon joined by about half of the Hebron church who had just let out and were not far from the helicopter landing area. Many people were praying and it was moving for me to have all their support.
The helicopter arrived in Tansen at 1 and Les had come up in the hospital vehicle and was loaded in – Rachel and I were on each end of the bench seat in the helicopter, and Les had his head on my lap and Rachel was holding (or being held down by) his legs. I wish I could have enjoyed the ride more – it was amazing to ride over the hills of Nepal and to look down on the roads, paths, houses, rivers, etc – many of which I could recognize from our travels in buses.
We landed in the field next to the Kathmandu Neurological Hospital just before 2. The staff whisked Les off to the ER and soon decided that an MRI would be needed. Thank goodness for visa cards! (Actually, the cost of the MRI was very affordable here….) I was so comforted to have David and Anne McConkey, Olak and Jasmine Jirel, and Mark Zimmerman (friends of ours here in KTM) all come to the hospital to help and pray and wait with us.
After some discussion about whether or not Les could get the MRI due to his gold filling (they were concerned about metal in the MRI machine), he did get the scan done. The doctor, a very highly respected neurosurgeon, came in and took time to explain the results to us. Les had an angiogram negative subarachnoid hemorrhage. Fortunately, it was a small bleed, and there were no aneurisms to be seen. The doctor told us that they wanted to keep Les in ICU over night and in the hospital for 3 or 4 more days. Then he wanted him to stay in KTM for at least 3 weeks while he is on medicine to help prevent side effects from the bleeding.
Les looked much better when we were allowed into the ICU to see him. (We had to remove our shoes and put on pink crocs and a pink apron before being let in to see him! – and only one at a time) I’m sure by the end of 3 weeks, he will be so bored and ready to be doing things again – but we will see how things go.
Sunday morning, Rachel Karrach and I headed back to the hospital for morning visiting hours (7:30 am) and found Les eating some breakfast. The neurosurgeon did a transcranial Doppler of the cerebral arteries and thought everything looked fine, so Les was moved into a “cabin” (read private room) in the hospital. I have a narrow bench (rather hard) in the room with Les and we have a basic toilet/shower and a small room with a sink but nothing else. Friends here in KTM again came to the rescue – providing me with pillows, sheets, and a pad to make the bench more comfortable, a kettle for boiling water, tea, mugs, utensils, etc. I can walk out to the road and buy fruit – read mangoes – (which I am soaking in a bucket in iodine) and other food items. There is also a hospital canteen.
Les is doing better, eating a little bit, but still has poor appetite. His neck hurts and is quite stiff, but I guess that is normal. The doctor has just told us that he will discharge Les from the hospital tomorrow (Tuesday) but that he has to do NOTHING (except rest) for 3 weeks. We will stay with friends here in KTM during the coming weeks.
Thanks for keeping Les in your prayers for his continued healing – and for me as I try to figure out how to try to take care of Les and encourage him and not worry about things left undone in Tansen.
This is not the blog I had intended to post next! Even though I don’t understand, I am holding on and trusting in a God I am convinced loves us and has a plan.