The Little Legs That Wouldn’t. [The Saga Continues.]

My sweaters have emerged from their two year hibernation in my garage, and these days you can find me alternating between the couch and my bed-dragging an oversized electric blanket with me to and fro. [Africa has made a cold-weather pansy of me.] My time at home has been spent staying off my feet [a subtle art that I have sadly perfected over the last month and a half] and eating a host of the nutritionally irredeemable foods that I can only daydream about in Senegal. [And for those of you that have been reading for a while, I feel the need to point out that I haven’t given ho ho’s so much as a fleeting second thought since I boarded my flight back to Raleigh.]

You may be wondering what on earth is wrong with my legs. …I have just barely enough information to tell you the story. I’ll try my best to be succinct. Pithy. Concise. …oh heavens, this is hopeless.

As previously mentioned, I’ve been seeing the head of infectious diseases at Duke Hospital. [Love Dr. Sexton. Hate Duke. A subtle but critical distinction.] I have a rather uncommon infection in my legs-the question has simply become what in blazes caused it?

In an effort to answer that particular existential question, we drained approximately half the blood from my body, stuck it in a myriad of brightly labeled little tubes, and shipped them off to the four corners of the earth to be tested for everything Dr. Sexton and his resident could pronounce out of their medical dictionary.

A week later, I very hesitantly poked my head back into his office, begged Nurse Ratched not to weigh me again, and braced myself for the bad news.

The verdict? Every single test had come back negative. Which was both good and bad. Good because it meant that I don’t have a random parasite or something equally as unpleasant. In fact, I probably have something benign that will quietly work itself out of my system with no theatrics. The bad news is, if I DON’T have something benign wrong with me, there’s probably something serious wrong with me. We’ve ruled out most of the more minor possibilities.

Raise your hand if you got bored and skipped that paragraph. I sure did.

So here’s the skinny [because after a month and a half of bed rest, it certainly isn’t me]: Dr. Sexton thinks that a medication I’ve been on for quite some time caused the infection. I am currently off of said medication, and it ought to take about two more weeks to work its way out of my system. After that, the infection should take six to twelve weeks to leave my legs. I’ll still experience a significant amount of pain even after the bumps are gone, but in time, that will leave entirely, and I ought to go back to normal with no long-term side effects.

IF, in several weeks, I am not showing any improvement, we’re going to start running a second round of tests for some more serious possibilities-but my doctor feels pretty confident about the medication theory, and doesn’t anticipate that being necessary.

I am currently booked to return to Dakar with a duffel full of sweet tarts, oatmeal cream pies and Dr. Pepper [you’d think every single member of my team were pregnant] on March 16th-which clearly, is significantly more time gone than I’d hoped for, but that gives me three and a half months to wrap up my time in Senegal. I’ve started physical therapy and fully intend on being able to run with Michelle soon after I get back. Heck, I may even do pirouettes and arabesques around her the entire time simply because I can. [And I think we all can agree that I’m not presently attracting quite enough attention when I run.]

So, in the words of the worlds most beloved stuttering pig, that’s all, folks! I’ll try to do a better job of chronicling my time at home. [My Mother keeps complaining that she doesn’t know what’s going on in my life.]

[Note: If you’re a college student that’s thinking of coming on summer project to Senegal this summer, or STINTing in Dakar next year, the bottom line here is that Africa didn’t make me sick. Neither you, nor your parents need to feel antsy about you hopping on a plane!]


  1. HOW in the world is it that you make me laugh on nearly EVERY single post you write? It’s just pure talent, c’est tout.
    btw. I got SO excited when I saw that you had posted! My click to your blog in hopes of reading a spectacular post didn’t disappoint. All my dreams have come true. My life is now complete. Thank you ladies and gentlemen, and bon nuit!

  2. p.s. I also loved your little caveat to this post. GO on STINT! It’ll change your life!

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