Since there is no trash pick-up as we are accustomed to in the 'burbs, the trash at House of Hope is periodically burned. This happened the last night of our most recent stay. The smoke from the fire behind the guest house sent Erin's allergies into hyper-drive. She managed to get to sleep with a Benadryl and the use of most of a packet of tissues in efforts to keep her nose clear. She woke the morning of our short flight from Puerto Lempira on a small plane with a head full of crud. By the time the flight landed at the regional airport in La Ceiba, Erin was in tears from severe sinus pressure and ear pain.
She was stoic on the drive back across Honduras to San Pedro Sula, and picked at her lunch. Her energy level seemed to revive when she saw the swimming pool complete with slides at the hotel. She swam in the sparkling water with her sister, and thoroughly enjoyed the hour of goofing off after the week in Puerto Lempira. She crawled into bed right after returning to the room while everyone else took turns running through the shower. When we checked on her, she was burning up with fever.
We had no way to check her temperature without a thermometer, and were not comfortable going out into San Pedro Sula in hopes of procuring one. The hotel offered to call an ambulance, but that was really the only option they could offer. We decided to treat with the antibiotic prescribed in case of illness during travel by a provider in the U.S. and ibuprofen to try to keep the fever in check. The following morning, we were all tense from a long night with Erin's continued illness, but relieved when 4:00 rolled around so we could call for check-out. The shuttle to the airport was due to depart at 4:45, but the driver was ready early. Just before we could leave, Erin raced to the restroom where her stomach went into total rebellion. We added an anti-emetic to stop the vomitting. We pulled out of the hotel compound praying to be able to stem her symptoms for the next eight hours. The goal was simply to get her home, and get her to a doctor.
We arrived at the airport, checked in, and Erin dozed while we waited for our first flight. Her ears hurt terribly on the short hop from Honduras to El Salvador, but she knew there was still one more flight to go. I phoned Walker, who would be picking us up at the airport, to warn her that she might want a barf bag in the car, but Erin ate little and the medication seemed to be holding her belly at bay. The fever continued, and the ear pain grew worse. The relief of reaching home was short-lived, and we found ourselves at an Urgent Care Center before we had even shaken off the dust of our travels. The only information gleaned from that wasted visit was that Erin had a high fever, two infected ears, and no Strep or Flu.
By the following morning, her ears were bleeding and the fever continued at 103 despite the administration of Ibuprofen and Tylenol. She became sick and dizzy when she tried to stand. The infection raged for over a week. Our pediatrician saw Erin every 2-3 days. By the end of the week she was on three oral antibiotics and an antibiotic ear drop that finally worked together to combat the infection.
Our pediatrician of 14 years commented that he had never seen an ear infection like it. Erin was no longer hearing out of her left ear by the end of that week, and as the infection cleared the doctor noted what he referred to as a gaping hole in her left ear drum. He determined that we would recheck the ear drum a week later to see if it was healing naturally, and, if not, then we would return to the audiology and EENT team that previously corrected Erin's hearing issues.
Our prayers for complete healing were answered this week! We visited the pediatrician to hear the news that was largely expected after watching Erin spinning on the ice during a skating session an hour before the visit. He ears look excellent, and the hole has completely closed with new tissue. Erin's hearing is likely at least normal, and she is not experiencing any of the issues with her balance that came with the severe ear infections. Dr. K. pronounnced her cleared to travel, but she just looked slightly horrified by the announcement. Having made two trips to Honduras in the past few months, Erin has concluded with the horrors of her return trip home that she does not wishto return to Central America anytime in the near future.