Antibiotics, Bed Rest and Friends – Standard for Recovery in Central Africa

In early August I was found collapsed on the floor of my office at the Hotel Club du Lac.  So far, I’ve been given three versions of ‘what happened’ – and then there is a fourth version (mine).Taken to the hospital by kind staff at the hotel, I was put on IVs as well as administered massive doses of Benzylpenicillin every few hours by IV  (aka penicillin G potassium or sodium).

Penn G not only is an extremely potent antibiotic, it can also quite painful when administered:    Extreme pain up the arm in which the IV is located, strong and unpleasant taste of the drug in one’s mouth, etc.  This is a drug that I’ve used on occasion for horses (here) having a serious infection – and now I understand why it was necessary to peel them off the ceiling on occasion, following injection.

Here are major maladies that can be treated with Pen G:

Serious infections due to susceptible strains of streptococci (including S. pneumoniae)
-septicemia, empyema, pneumonia, pericarditis, endocarditis and meningitis
12 to 24 million units/day depending on the infection and its severity administered in equally divided doses every 4-6 hours.
Serious infections due to susceptible strains of staphylococci
– septicemia, empyema, pneumonia, pericarditis, endocarditis and meningitis
5 to 24 million units/day depending on the infection and its severity administered in equally divided doses every 4-6 hours.
Anthrax Minimum of 8 million units/day in divided doses every 6 hours. Higher doses may be required depending on susceptibility of organism.
Cervicofacial disease
Thoracic and abdominal disease
1 to 6 million units/day(*)
10 to 20 million units/day(*)
Clostridial infections
Botulism (adjunctive therapy to antitoxin)
Gas gangrene (debridement and/or surgery as indicated)
Tetanus (adjunctive therapy to human tetanus immune globulin)
20 million units/day(*)
Diphtheria (adjunctive therapy to antitoxin and for the prevention of the carrier state) 2 to 3 million units/day in divided doses for 10-12 days(*)
Erysipelothrix endocarditis 12 to 20 million units/day for 4-6 weeks(*)
Fusospirochetosis (severe infections of the oropharynx [Vincent’s], lower respiratory tract and genital area) 5 to 10 million units/day(*)
Listeria infections
15 to 20 million units/day for 2 weeks(*)
15 to 20 million units/day for 4 weeks(*)
Pasteurella infections including bacteremia and meningitis 4 to 6 million units/day for 2 weeks(*)
Haverhill fever; Rat-bite fever 12 to 20 million units/day for 3-4 weeks(*)
Disseminated gonococcal infections, such as meningitis endocarditis, arthritis, etc., caused by penicillin – susceptible organisms 10 million units/day(*); duration depends on the type of infection
Syphilis (neurosyphilis) 12 to 24 million units/day, as 2-4 MU every 4 hours for 10-14 days; many experts recommend additional therapy with Benzathine PCN G 2.4 MU IM weekly for 3 doses after completion of IV therapy
Meningococcal meningitis and/or septicemia


After several painful weeks of this IV solution, I was administered 500 mg of Amoxicllin-Acide Clavulanique 2x daily for several weeks, promptly vomiting after each until the dose was administered throughout the day.

Little islands of consciousness occasionally appeared in a black sea.  Strange visions, apparently constructed out of both the unconscious together with happenings during occasional bouts of consciousness, are primarily what remain of that time.  For example, I have a distinct memory of being introduced to the head of the clinic-hospital, who – I was informed – was actually a leading veterinarian up north.  At the time, this made perfect sense to me…

A variety of friends and well-wishers came to visit – often bringing a meal to eat in my room, knowing that I couldn’t eat – but would enjoy their company.  This is standard in Burundi, and once my photos are liberated, I’ll  put some in a blog.

But such great happiness to learn that Evelyn Early, who just before my illness had been visiting me (and who is now in DC), rounded up old friends and colleagues known in Egypt in the ‘old days’ – and all have helped immeasurably in getting me back on my feet!  Much more about this wonderful adventure, too, as strength returns.

Following about three months in the hospital, that included excellent physiotherapy towards the end,  I was taken  home to ‘enjoy’ another month of bed rest.  And really, quite too weak to perform even the simplest tasks until last week.

Somehow I had seriously injured my left knee cap – it was shattered – and surgery was performed on several times.  Now I can walk on it.  But will I be able to ride again?

Dorinda, whom I brought here from Kenya, at the Circle Hippique - finding their boxes.  Irakozi.

Dorinda, whom I brought from Kenya to the Cercle Hippique, which is located in Burundi – shown here with friends who are all finding their boxes. Irakozi.

About dianabuja

With a group of BaTwa (pygmy) women potters, with whom we've worked to enhance production and sales of their wonderful pots - fantastic for cooking and serving. To see the 2 blogs on this work enter 'batwa pots' into the search engine located just above this picture. Blog entries throughout this site are about Africa, as well as about the Middle East and life in general - reflecting over 35 years of work and research in Africa and the Middle East – Come and join me!
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6 Responses to Antibiotics, Bed Rest and Friends – Standard for Recovery in Central Africa

  1. Chris Eccel says:

    Glad you’re back! Your ordeal reminds me of the two philosophies of life. The first is that you should live in such a way that when you die, you will leave a beautiful corpse, and the second is that it would be a shame to die and leave a body that has hardly been used. There comes a time when we just cannot do everything we used to do. Perhaps at this point, posting to a blog may have to take the place of posting on horseback. Even so, I know that horses will always be in your life. All the best for this new year, and many many more !!!


    • dianabuja says:

      Chris / many thanks for your wonderful note. I simply cannot think of a response, except to say thank you so much / and hope that you, too, are entering into a pleasant year.


  2. ergamenis says:

    OMG!! Hope you will have a full recovery a.s.a.p. And that of course you’ll be able to ride and to enjoy all things you wish! I was really wondering where you have been… Welcome back 🙂


  3. victualling says:

    Scary. Glad to hear you are getting stronger. Best wishes for a full recovery.


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