Thursday, July 12, 2012

A la hospital

Today, I had one of those experiences where I realized how so, very lucky our kids are to live here on the ranch.  And, also, I wish I had my camera.

One of the kids on the ranch, who I will call J, has CP and is bound to a wheelchair.  Occasionally, due to his inability to feel his legs and the poor circulation, he develops some pretty serious ulcers.  When they get really infected, and we have tried to treat them with the resources we have here with no avail, the only other option is to send J to the hospital for further treatment and stronger antibiotics.  So, today was yet another day for him to head to the hospital.

The thing is... no one likes to go to the hospital... especially the public one in Tegus.  Everyone knows "that's where people go to die."  Unfortunately, the Ranch isn't made of money, so we, too, need to send our kids their for treatment sometimes.

So, thus, I accompanied J and another nurse (thank God!) to the hospital and all that it had to "offer."  Here is a look at how the day went:

  1. Leave the Ranch around 10 and arrive to the hospital around 11.
  2. Get my first glimpse of this building... big, ugly, old...
  3. Enter the pediatric "emergency department" (room with chairs, with people all over).
  4. Flag someone down to tell them that we have a reference and that J is an emergency.
  5. Have that person direct us to another person, who tells us (more like mumbles) that we need to see orthopedics.
  6. Wait.
  7. See someone there who says that X-rays are needed.
  8. Get hand written order.
  9. Walk down the long hall to where we need to pay for the x-rays.
  10. Go down another hallway to find radiology.
  11. Get x-rays done (actually a bunch of really nice people).
  12. Wait for the actual x-rays.
  13. Walk them back to the ER and flag down an ortho doc.
  14. Wait.
  15. Get told that the specialist won't be in until 5pm.
  16. Wait a bit, and by God's grace another ortho doc sees us.
  17. Oops, they need an x-ray of the left leg, too!  Oh, and some labs.
  18. Wait for more hand written orders and labs to be drawn (glove used as a tourniquet, not worn, and blood just taken with a syringe with a needle attached.  And, labeled with a piece of tape). 
  19. Go back to the place to pay for those things (which somehow we didn't actually have to pay for.  Woot!).
  20. Take the blood samples to the lab.
  21. Go back to radiology to get an X-ray of the left leg.
  22. Return to the ER.
  23. Flag another ortho doc. down to help.
  24. Wait.
  25. We are finally told that J needs to be admitted (obviously!)
  26. Wait.
  27. We realize we are all starving, so Anabeli, another nurse who was helping, decide to go get lunch.  It's almost 2:30.
  28. Get back, J and Rebeca are still waiting.
  29. Walk to the lab to get the results, but they were not ready.  And, no one was in the lab to ask about them.
  30. Continue to wait.
  31. Finally get told J has a bed.
  32. We go to the room... with 20 other kids (I wish I had my camera).
  33. One licensed nurse for all of the kids.
  34. We were asked if we had sheets and a blanket for the bed.  Um, nope.  They allowed us to borrow a sheet.
  35. Get J on the bed ourselves (well, a few guys helped us.)
  36. Nurse comes over and looks for a vein to get more blood and place an IV.  She is 'surprised' that we never got the results from the first blood that was taken.
  37. Then, I am told that there can only be 1 person that stays.
  38. I leave.  It's a little after 4:30.
I was so sad to leave J there.  Of course Rebeca is there, but that place is scary.  Please pray for him that he stays safe and they provide him with what he needs to heal.

All of the doctors, nurses and other personell are so over-worked, they have lost the compassion for helping it seems.  Everyone seemed to be in a bad mood and what not.  I was shocked that not one single person did a full head-to-toe exam, no one listened to his heart or lungs.  No one did a set of vital signs.  Not even a temp... you would think that at the least they would have thought to do that b/c he has crazy infected ulcers.  But, no.

It also disgusted me how many people (nurses, docs, any random person) just would stare at J.  Look at his legs and even asked Rebeca and I what was wrong.  The nerve!  How incredibly rude.  The kid understands you!  Come on.  One lady (who in all fairness was probably thinking she was being super nice and selfless) even gave J a wad of cash!  Seriously.  Just came up to him and gave him money.  I couldn't believe it.  That lady has no idea how good J has it, and how NOT poor he is.

Another thing that I will probably never forget is of an 8 day old baby.  While we were all waiting, before we found out what room J would have, we talked with a couple who was just waiting, too.  They were there with their 8 day old baby who had pneumonia, so they brought the baby to the hospital, but while they were there, the baby died!  Died.  They were just waiting.  For what?  Who knows?  And doctors and other people were just walking right past... some even looking at the lump of blankets in he crib.  It was terrible.  Heart-wrenching.  Ugh.  Rest in Peace, Baby.  May you be resting in God's embrace.

It was a crazy day.  I am sure that J will be just fine.  He has been there before, and came out just fine.  But, he has a good support system, and we are able to pay for the care he needs.  If you can't pay, then you can't get treated.  So, if you are poor, then you get terrible medical care.  Therefore, the majority of people get terrible medical care.  It's just a sad, sad system.

Like I said, I am so thankful NPH exists and we have a doctor here the majority of the time.  And, we have an amazing surgery center that is able to provide a safe option for surgical needs.  Not just for our kids, but the surrounding community.  Thank God, thank God, thank God.

Please keep all of the sick people that have no other option than to get care at that hospital in your prayers.  And, for Honduras in general.  There are some really good people, and good things here... I just pray that the government and systems will change and things can be great.

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