First the good news. I unpacked all the Christmas boxes and I managed to bring almost all of the important Christmas memorabilia with me from Texas. You know how there are those special ornaments or decorations that really say "Christmas" to you? For me, that would be the home-made green clay Christmas trees that we made at a friends house when the kids went to St. Kevin's back in Minnesota. We spent the afternoon at the art teachers house, drinking cider and making these unique clay trees that we painted green. I always set them up by the manger. I was SO happy that I managed to remember to pack them and now have them here in Africa. I also unpacked the ceramic houses that make a village that my mother-in-law painstakingly painted for me back when she liked me. They are a warm Christmas memory. I was still waiting to find the manger, when in the very next box, there it was! Unfortunately, I brought the manger but no figures! There is no baby Jesus, no Mary, no Joseph, no camel, no angels, no wise men. So, I have this empty manger and I guess I have to assume that Mary and Joseph are still in the Middle East. I might have to make paper figures, as it just doesn't seem like Christmas without them. So the tree is decorated, the lights are sparkling, the house feels like Christmas, and all is well in Africa....well almost.
I am sick again. This time, it's not the awful African sickness that affects your stomach and your ability to eat. This time, it's a very bad cold and cough. So bad that when woke up this morning at 6:30 a.m., the moment I took a breath, I started coughing. I called the Embassy (sent a txt message, actually, as that's how everyone communicates here) and let them know I would not be coming in. For those of you who know me well, you know how sick I really am if I call and tell them I'm not coming in at all! Normally, I would call and say I don't feel well and I will be in later. This morning I knew that if I could not stop coughing, I would be worthless at work; not to mention contagious to everyone else. I dragged myself out of bed and started rummaging through my as yet unpacked boxes to see if I could find a thermometer. Eureka! I found it! I took my temperature....100. Wow, I guess that's why I spent last night alternating between freezing and shivering. I discovered a very old bottle of prescription cough syrup and took a couple teaspoons of that along with 2 ibuprofen for the fever and promptly went back to sleep until 11:30! Woke up feeling no better and decided to call the Embassy Dr. (Physicians Assistant, actually). She suggested I come in for an evaluation. So here I am, cozy in my bed, and she wants me to get dressed and drive to work! I was too sick to drive my own car, so I hired one of the Embassy drivers to come get me. (one of the perks of working overseas) I took a quick shower and threw on some jeans and headed to the Embassy--30 minutes away. It was nice to wear jeans to the Embassy because that's forbidden during the normal work day. The PA said I probably have bronchitis or a touch of pneumonia. She gave me a whole arsenal of drugs: daytime cough medicine, night cough medicine, Tylenol, and antibiotics. I went home and went right to sleep again. As long as I can keep the cough under control, I only have to worry about the fever; which returns like clockwork the exact minute the ibuprofen wears off. My temperature this afternoon was 101. Oh joy. So, it's just me and my blanket until the drugs have a chance to work. I'm trying not to think about the Christmas Party Open House that I am having for 50 people on Saturday...and all the cookies that are as yet not baked. I'm sure I will get everything done somehow.
Hope you are all well and healthy in your corner of the world.