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Sunday, September 2, 2012

Hospital Visit #2 (a.k.a. Alisha's final hospital visit)

On Saturday, August 25, Christina and I had made plans for her to pick me up at our apartment and go over to their house for a bit to do some inventory stuff that needed to get taken care of. She picked me up as scheduled, but informed me that there had been a slight change of plans because she had just received a phone call saying that Prisila, the little girl we had initially gone to visit with the intense headaches who had been hospitalized for 3 months and no one could figure out what was wrong with her, needed a ride to the hospital. Between my first visit to the hospital and the second visit, Prisila had improved drastically. So much so, that she had been discharged from the hospital to live with family in town, been to a check-up a week or so after being discharged from the hospital, and received the ok from the doctors to return to her village in the bush. She began deteriorating before they even got to her home, and things quickly got worse. She ended up back in the hospital, but again, no one could figure out what the issue was, therefore were lost as to how to begin treatment. She ended up going home for a couple more days, and then it was Saturday morning, last week. I was good with it! Excited to go back to the hospital and give it another shot. My first visit was the day after we’d arrived and I was still struggling with jet lag/climate change/etc. This was gonna be a good day! We went to the house where Prisila was staying to pick her up. She was, what I’m pretty sure my nurse/doctor friends would call non-responsive, with her arms and legs flinging around, not like a convulsive seizure, but more like a constant involuntary movement. Christina had warned me that she had gone to see her a couple days earlier and her left side was completely paralyzed, but she was awake and talking at that time. Saturday morning it was good to see her moving all of her limbs, but she seemed, to me, to be unconscious. Lou (not sure on the spelling) was the one who had gone to check on Prisila Saturday morning and the one who had called Christina to tell her that she needed to go back to the hospital. She’s a physiotherapist who has been here since January and is going back to Australia (I believe) in December. We drove past a house to find Prisila, with Lou, in a small shed behind the house. Lou carried her to the van, and we drove a short way to the hospital.
Upon arriving at the hospital, Lou carried her into the Emergency Room, which is when I started feeling a little queasy. The nurse who was trying to get an IV into Prisila’s arm left the rubber bandy thingy on for so long her hand was turning purple/blue. And then, because she was so dehydrated he just had to poke and “search” (read as sticking the needle in and fishing around).
And that’s when I started feeling sweaty and light-headed and walked my self right outside for some air and a sit down. I stayed out for a few minutes, deep breathes, deep breathes, and then tried it again. When I went back in to her curtain, he had gotten the IV started, so I was good! Until her poor little flailing arm pulled the tube out of the IV and blood started dripping…outside I went. Deep breath, deep breath, and back inside. Only to find out the blood never got cleaned up and people were just walking through it, smearing it all over the floor, and that’s when my germaphobia kicked in full throttle. My thoughts went something like, “No one knows what is wrong with this little girl. No one can figure out why she’s so sick! She could have some weird blood-born illness and now people are just walking through her blood and spreading it all around.” Yeah…it’s craziness in there. So, I went outside again. And then back in again after I had collected myself and prayed away the weirdness in my head ; ) This time, though, I stayed on the outside of the curtain, peeking through every once in a while to see what was going on, but I focused on watching others around me…watching the daily workings of the only Emergency Room on Santo Island. I saw what we Americans would consider to be appalling, and it was difficult to NOT allow myself to go there. I saw a patient drink a glass of water, a nurse take it over to the sink, rinse it out, and set it aside to dry. No washing with antibacterial anything. No sanitizing. Nothing. I saw 4 separate patients use the same nebulizer/breathing machine without changing masks. No cleaning. One person comes in coughing, wheezing into the mask, finishes the treatment, and they move the nebulizer to the next person. I see that and think about the germs that are being spread from person to person. Thinking about the person who might possibly have pneumonia or some other type of upper respiratory communicable disease spreading it to a person who really does only have asthma, but making it even MORE difficult for the asthmatic person to be able to breathe due to contracting a sickness on top of the asthma that already exists. And I notice that it costs 100 vatu (approx $.90) for a nebulizer treatment. I was able to stay inside the remainder of the time that we were there, just outside the curtain. The doctor who was on call said that she thinks the possible reason of Prisila’s condition is an infection that began in her ears 3-4 months ago, and now the infection has progressed into her brain. Last I heard, she was able to get out of bed to go to the restroom, with assistance, but that’s amazing progress considering the condition she was in when I last saw her. Please continue to remember Prisila as they are worried that if she comes out of this illness, she may have some permanent damage that has been done to her brain. I’ve also heard more about the little girl I mentioned in my first blog. I believe her name was Musa (sp? MOOSE-a). She was four years old, and I think she’s already back in her village! She had been playing in the yard with her 2 year old brother, tripped, and fell onto her mom’s bush knife (machete) and cut open her stomach. They had walked 8 hours to get her to the hospital, had to wait on a doctor, then a surgeon to arrive, but luckily when she fell she didn’t puncture any organs! Her insides (I’m led to believe, her intestines) were on the outside of her body, but they were able to put everything back, sew her up, and she was doing well! Definitely not the outcome I was expecting for the end of that story, but loved hearing about the miracle that God so clearly performed on her! So…I think that was most likely my final hospital visit. I would love to be able to go up there every week, but I just don’t really think that’s a gift that God has blessed me with! While I love hearing about the amazing miracles that can occur in front of your eyes, and I love praying for healing, my insides just don’t handle hospitals very well…or maybe it’s just 3rd world country hospitals that I don’t handle well, seeing as I’ve never had an issue like this in the States. Who knows? What I do know?! I’ll still be praying for all of the people who are up there, who I hear about second-hand, because I know first-hand the miracles God is doing up there : )

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