Sick in Brazil

As most of you know, my girls love to travel. They headed out together with friends to Ecuador and the Galápagos Islands last month when they got out of school for the summer. They had an incredible trip.

Girls ecuador

When they returned, Gabi spent a few days home before jetting down to Guaxupé, Brazil for almost a month to continue her summer travels before heading to college in the Fall.

Sick in Brazil

Two weeks ago, she began having some back pains that were pretty bad. Enough to have her admitted to the hospital.


After eleven days, my sweet girl is finally being released. Gabi had a double kidney infection with one kidney having a severe infection that luckily it was treated for it could have been much worse. However, it took all this time to get her well enough to be cleared to be discharged. After she gains a bit more strength, we will be able to head home.

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She has had tremendous care. A team of nurses and doctors that were by her side day and night. A family that we now call our own, that made sure she wasn’t left alone before I arrived and continued to stay with us throughout due to the language barrier.

When I think about this and how many people come to the States from other countries, especially visiting Central Florida, and I wonder if they receive the same kind of care that we have had while here in Brazil. I wonder if they would be embraced like we have been not knowing the language, or not even sure if they could afford to pay the medical bills.


Not once was she or I treated in a way that made us question the care. In fact, the staff was exceptional at giving us the best care, maybe because of the concern of something getting lost in translation.


Gabi’s hospital room didn’t have access to wifi, and the TV only had channels in Portuguese. She is a strong person, but that gave her a lot of time to think about how much the situation sucked and how sick she was rather than having things to take her mind off the infection, ultimately making the recovery difficult.

Gabi didn’t want me to know how bad she was feeling while arriving at the hospital. Downplaying that it was a little kidney infection, possibly a stone, but she’d be out in a day or two. After a few days and lack of communication, she gave me the news of how bad it was and that her liver had become swollen and to please come. I was out on the next available flight and have been with her ever since.



IMG_1129-1During this process, we learned several lessons. Ones that I want to share with others. Some about kidney health, some about traveling abroad, and the goodness of people in the world. But for now, I am just thankful.

I’m grateful that Gabi’s kidneys are no longer showing signs of infections. I am grateful for the love her boyfriend Henrique and his family have for her. They have quickly become our family. Until I arrived, Henrique only left her side to shower. He stayed overnight on a hard, uncomfortable couch all eleven nights, that way if she needed anything he could translate her needs to the caretakers as well as give her the information they needed Gabi to understand.


His mother Cris has a fabulous restaurant and snack bar across the street from the hospital. It was here that she made special foods enticing Gabi to gain her appetite in hopes of gaining some strength to get well quickly. She even allowed me to raid her restaurant kitchen daily to make smoothies. She graciously fed me daily, keeping me company any free moment she had and hosted me in her home, making sure I was comfortable and could reasonably relax under the circumstances.

Madi stayed behind in the States with my sister Mandi and her family. She has been so worried about her sister and kept in constant contact for updates and shared stories to help keep Gabi’s spirits up.

My parents made sure that anything I needed to get me to where I needed to be was taken care of, so I wouldn’t have any stress, and I could concentrate on what was most important, to get Gabi well and to bring her home.

As public as my life may be on social media and my blog, I’m pretty private. This year has thrown a lot of hurdles my way, and there’s little that many know about any of this. For me, the burdens of the world are enough to make others worry or feel depressed, and I don’t like to contribute to any of the negativity, only the positive. So this is why I’m just now sharing all of this.

She’s out!

So as Gabi is released and she takes a few days to relax outside of the hospital, I hope to share some pictures of this beautiful town full of loving and caring people.


Trippin with Tara
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  1. Oh my friend, I’m so glad she is much better and everyone can breathe a little easier. This year has been so full of challenges and just know I love you.

  2. I can’t imagine how worried you were when she was there and you were in Florida. Thank God she is okay!! Hope you are enjoying your time with her now 🙂 Hugs.

  3. So scary and I am so relieved Gabi is recovering and in good hands. You are an amazing Mom and I’m so glad you were able to fly down to be with her and help her recover. There is nothing as horrific as having a medical emergency happening 1000’s of miles from home…….. Wishing you all happy healthy days! xoxo

  4. Use the Healthy Travel Packing List for Brazil for a list of health-related items to consider packing for your trip. Talk to your doctor about which items are most important for you.

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