I know technically I have been living in Africa for 16 months but I was living on the ship that is more like a mini-America. So over the past week of LIVING in Africa, my body has had to go through major adjustments. New climate, new foods, very limited fruits/veggies, motorbike rides for 2-4 hours a day on dusty roads, late nights and early mornings. Uhohhh! Finally all of these things caught up to me. I woke up this morning with a high temperature, body aches, headache, weakness, stomach pains, oh yes and an upset belly. It is one of those sicknesses that when your skin gets touched it sends shooting pains all over your body or when you bend your finger the ache feels like someone is trying to snap it off.

Sometimes being a nurse can be a blessing and a curse. My mind raced through all the crazy and weird illnesses that I have seen over the past 5 years of nursing. “Malaria, Meningitis, Typhoid, or maybe some undiscovered weird African illness… AHHHH!!!” Now, in all honesty, I figured I probably just had some virus but I also realized, for a lot of people here in Africa, the illnesses that I mentioned are VERY real and VERY deadly.

I put my nursing skills into action. I took some medications (Tylenol/Ibuprofen), drank a bunch of PUR water, took a cool shower to bring down my temp, and rested as much as I could. By noon I was feeling better.

As my temp went down and I was coherent again I tried to imagine what it would be like if I was an impoverished person. What would it be like to not have funds to buy even Tylenol? What would it be like to have no access to clean water? What would it be like to not have any knowledge of what to do while sick? What would it be like to KNOW what you needed to do but not have the means to do it? Ugh… It brings tears to my eyes to think about the millions of kids here in Africa that die from illnesses that are so preventable.

As my temp started to creep back up and I popped in a couple more Tylenol instead of feeling bad for myself, I thanked God. I thanked him for giving me a glimpse of what it would be like to be sick here in Africa. Back to bed I go!

Everyday I am learning something new about those that God has put on my heart to help. I know that God is teaching me new lessons everyday, some I have learned quickly and others may need some repetition and time. Now when it comes to African illnesses I am hoping that God has decided I got an A+. But if he does decide to show me more maybe it will lead to a cure or vaccine or something.. hehe..

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