Called for Life by Kent Brantly


Called for Life by Kent Brantly

Author:Kent Brantly
Language: eng
Format: epub
Publisher: The Crown Publishing Group
Published: 2015-07-21T04:00:00+00:00


THANKFUL FOR GATORADE AND TANG

Gatorade is a luxury in Monrovia. I asked for some anyway. In the treatment unit we wanted patients to take as much oral hydration as possible to accompany the IV fluids, so we gave them what is called ORS, oral rehydration solution. It was an electrolyte powder we mixed with water, usually orange flavored. I would call it a homemade Gatorade, but that would imply that it tasted like Gatorade. And I do not want to be accused of claiming that.

ORS tasted awful. Horrendously awful. Earlier in July I had been inside the Ebola treatment unit wearing PPE for about four hours. It was the longest I had stayed inside a suit, and I was drenched with sweat. My scrubs underneath felt like I had jumped into a swimming pool. Nancy was outside the unit serving as our decontamination person and runner, and I told her I would want some ORS when I came out so I would not get too dehydrated.

I exited the unit, went through the decontamination process, and took a drink of ORS. It tasted like warm ocean water. I did not take another sip and drank water instead. I could not believe that our patients actually were able to drink that stuff.

When I became ill, I was advised to drink ORS.

“No way!” I said. “I am not drinking that. Bring me Gatorade.”

I honestly did not believe that I would be able to stomach enough of the ORS to stay hydrated. Dr. Debbie brought me Tang powder, and others made sure I had a supply of Gatorade.

Those who were coming into my house to take care of me would pour me a cup of Tang or give me a bottle of Gatorade. I was feeling so poorly that I requested that my supplies be set up in a specific order on the nightstand next to my bed. I had exact spots for my thermometer, my bottle of water, my Gatorade and Tang, my next dose of medicine, and a bottle of Tylenol.

“You’re awful particular,” my friends would tease me.

I wasn’t being particular; I was being practical. I was so weakened that I needed all those things within reach so that I would not have to expend the energy required to get out of bed to find them.

Although there was more traffic into and out of my house than usual, we tried to be as discreet as possible to prevent any speculation and rumors. Our house had a back door that I could have opened and carried on conversations through, but I did not feel strong enough to get up and go to the back door. Instead, I cracked open the bedroom window beyond the foot of my bed and opened the curtain about a foot so that anyone who came by could communicate with me through the window. I’m afraid I was not good company, because I could not stay awake long before falling back asleep.

John had to perform a C-section at the hospital that night, and afterward he returned to my house to give me more fluids.



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