Friday, May 31, 2013

Transitions: Giardia



I've been thinking about transitions lately.  Those moments when you first bring your child home.  The first memories together.  Claiming your adopted child as your own.

A few things pop in my mind when I think of our transition with E, our Ethiopian adoption.  One is the diarrhea.  Honestly, people.  E had giardia when we brought him home from Ethiopia.  Giardia is a parasite in the intestine and it's common among children in Ethiopian orphanages.  It causes diarrhea...explosive and hourly diarrhea.  It's cured pretty easily with antibiotics once you get home.  It's the part until you get home that's the challenge!

It seemed like every time we went anywhere or started to do anything in Ethiopia, I noticed diarrhea seeping from the side of E's diaper.  It came on suddenly and it was explosive.  Did I warn you this would be a gross post?  I should have.  The flight was the worst.  How do you handle hourly explosive diarrhea on a 20+ hour flight?  We used up every outfit we brought in our carryon within a couple hours.  E was hot anyway so we just left him in his diaper.  This really bothered people.  Random people came up from the back of the plane and offered their child's extra clothes.  Everyone who passed by commented on how cold he was going to get.  Disclaimer: he was not a newborn, but rather 8 months old, the flight was stuffy and hot, and he has always been a sweaty kid.  But I think people figured we didn't know what we were doing since it was probably pretty obvious we were first time parents. 

The line to the bathroom didn't seem to die down the entire 20+ hours.  And there were so many kids and people in general on the plane, nobody would over "cuts" to you even if you were holding a screaming baby with diarrhea leaking out the side of his pants.  So each time giardia reared its head, you had to make a decision between standing in that long line or trying to sneak a quick change in your seat.  We used the bathroom, but this one instance is etched in my mind with uneasy feelings.  It was almost the end of the flight so they were sending people back to their seats, I had gotten sick mid flight and was fighting my own stomach issues throwing up, etc., none of us had slept during the overnight 20+ hour flight, and we were all just DONE.  E's diaper felt full.  Chris looked at the line to the bathroom and opted to just change it really quick in his seat.  Upon opening said diaper, he discovered diarrhea.  As he quickly changed it, the man across the aisle made some comment to the flight attendant, who chewed Chris out about not being considerate of other passengers. 

Everyone was at the end of their ropes.  Even the flight attendants.  We were about to land.  Chris made a quick choice and it wasn't the best for the passengers around us.  I hated that moment.  I hate upsetting people and we had been so conscious about trying to represent Americans well on this whole trip.  I still feel uncomfortable when I recall that moment. 

But we did make it through the giardia.  Once we got home and got E into the doctor, we did tests, had giardia diagnosed, and antibiotics cleared it up in a matter of days.  But if you are picking up your child in Ethiopia, bring at least 4 changes of clothes on the plane ride home.  And work on getting a tough stomach!

1 comment:

Chris said...

It was soooo fun! I thought it was diarrhea when I changed him, but it wasn't...it was just pee. Still "peed" off some people.

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