Wow, Melissa. You did such a great job of capturing that timeline. Thank you!
We are in Nairobi, Kenya. Bayo is in stable condition in the ICU at Aga Khan University Teaching Hospital. I'm in a hotel room all by myself, and I'm at peace--incredible peace. I'm standing in the middle of answered prayer--and that's a sweet place to be.
On Friday morning, I knew my husband was sick--very sick, but I didn't envision we would have a brush with death that same day. He had an ugly seizure at the hospital in Jos while they were transporting him from the emergency room to his hospital room. His neck snapped to a terrible 90 degree angle (chin over the shoulder) and I knew that was bad. He started foaming at the mouth. I called the name of Jesus, and I had to move away--I couldn't watch the rest of it.
We got the word out and people started praying. Our friends sent the word out to their friends and on it went.
They worked on him and did a lumbar puncture to test for meningitis. That test later came back negative, but they had still started the treatment. He was basically comatose. Sometimes his eyes would open, but there was no recognition. At about 6 p.m. Friday he starting convulsing. He was on oxygen, had an IV, had tubes all over him, but he could not breathe. His chest was heaving involuntarily, trying to breathe. His eyes were bugged out, like a wild, drowning man. It was one of the worst things I've ever seen. To me, this went on for hours, but my sense of time may be distorted. I stood outside the ICU listening to his wretched breathing through the wall, and begged God to spare his life.
The doctors worked on him for a long time, but they could not regulate his breathing, his pulse, or his temperature. Two of the doctors called me into a lounge for a private conversation. At that point, they believed the sickness was viral encephalitis. They said they didn't have the medicine for this disease. In fact, they didn't even think it was available in Nigeria. One doctor said, "We have cast our bread upon the water. We have given him an anti-viral medication, an anti-bacterial medication, and even an anti-fungal medication." Without using too many words, they told me they had done all that they could do. Visions of widowhood kept lurking in my mind although I refused to dwell on them.
My friend who was with me throughout the ordeal said, "What about an evacuation?" That was the first time it had crossed my mind. Yes! Let's try. Through numerous phone contacts, emails, and scans, the evacuation was planned within a few hours to the nearest adequate facility. The company initially looked at Kenya and South Africa, and then decided to send us to Kenya.
We continued to get the word out for prayer for Bayo. Visitors continued to stream into the hospital. I couldn't meet them in the main reception area; I didn't have the heart to sit there out in the open. I kept myself in a quiet corner near the ICU and people met me there and prayed with me. I kept peeking through the ICU door to watch his chest. The heaving gradually reduced, but his breathing was still ragged.
Around 1 a.m. his breathing became much more regular. The doctor was very surprised. We found a ray of hope and grabbed it. By 3 a.m. I saw that he was breathing normally--and I allowed myself to sleep for an hour or two. By 6 a.m. ALL of his vital signs had STABILIZED. His temperature went from 104 to 98.6. The doctor was AMAZED. What an incredible miracle. I can never forget that.
Throughout Saturday, Bayo was calm, but although his eyes were often open, he was still not quite there. Also, he could not communicate verbally. In the afternoon, I noticed that he would raise his eyebrows in response to what I was saying. I also saw him try to open his mouth, but no words would come out. We asked God to restore his speech and everything that makes him Bayo. I went home to be with the kids and finish packing for the evacuation. When I got back to the hospital, so many people were rushing out to tell me "Bayo is talking! He knows us by name!" Wow God. Another miracle.
Hour by hour, we have seen him coming back to this side of life.
I will save the evacuation story for later (I.must.sleep.now) but let me leave you with this anecdote: As Bayo was being wheeled into the ICU at the Kenyan hospital (a strictly out-of-bounds area with an automatically locking door and guarded by a soldier!!), I was directed to a lounge where I could wait. As Bayo realized that we were being separated, he said, "That's my wife! She's part of my healing! Let her come!" And they did. And that's the real Bayo right there.
Life has taken me from the Midwest to Africa. Africa was firmly planted in my heart at age 17. I realized that dream when I landed in Nigeria at the age of 26. Currently I am doing the hardest work I have ever done, but it is also incredibly rewarding. Every day is full of challenges. At times life is too painfully raw, but God reaches down to us in those times of great need and helps us to press on and offer hope.