The Adventure Begins

Forgive me if this is long.  It will have to be, because I am using it to debrief my time in the hospital with our little friend.  Christian is a 15-year-old with epilepsy.  His mind developed about to the level of a 2-year old, I’d say.  He is very observant, stubborn, and has some clear likes and dislikes!  He was lethargic and not very responsive, though conscious, when we took him to the hospital.

We started at a clinic set up by a North American board of directors, with a North American nurse coordinating the efforts.  Some of you have met her.  It is spacious, clean, has a good doctor and nurses that care.  All are Honduran, but donations and coffee sales finance a lot of the work done there.  The doctor had seen Christian a week or two ago, and was concerned on Wed. that his condition had not improved.  In fact, I think it had improved and gotten worse, but the mom’s story was inconsistent, so no one is sure. While they were in with the doc, Wes and the kids bought lunch at the cafeteria that serves the clinic.  Doctor Pineda sent us to the public hospital that works with patients to give them the lowest price they can.  Mom and I ate our open-faced tacos in the car.

On our way past camp, we picked up a change of clothes for the 4 of us (Joel and Abigail were with us), bottles of water and fed the fish.  Then we stopped for clothes for Christian and whatever they might need.  We arrived at the hospital at 2 on Wednesday.

We were sent to pediatric (ped) emergency b/c Christian is 15, but after seeing him, they made us go to the adult ER, saying that they don’t treat anyone over 12 ½.  That meant he was to be treated as an adult – a handicapped boy who can’t answer questions about his health, understand instructions, etc.  His mom had to carry him from that building to the next.  I pushed to make a way through the people.  I checked him in with the note from the local doctor, not realizing that the man who signed us in wasn’t paying attention and wrote the referring physician’s name in the space for the patient’s name!

We were taken in within 5 minutes, so I had hope – false hope – of getting him seen and treated quickly!  We were told to put him on an examining table on our right.  There was a patient being helped off the table as we put Christian down.  Another patient was in front of the table using a nebulizer, and another was on an exam table to our left.  The room was maybe 8 feet wide.  Maybe less.  It also held the doctor’s desk and a small sink, along with a nurse – “Gordo” – (yeah, if you know what that means, you get the picture.  He was VERY large for such a small room) and the doctor himself.  Each patient has to have one family member with them, but often 3 or 4 pushed their way in from the waiting area.  The doctor examined Christian immediately and knew that he was retaining urine.  Right there with everyone watching, we held him down while Gordo inserted a catheter.  Of course, they did not actually have the right size tube, because he really needed to be treated in peds, but the nurse did an excellent job with the tools he had!  Meanwhile, we helped push buttons on the nebulizer, since the doc could no longer reach it, and the patient in the other “bed” was released.  I went to lean against that wall.  There was banging on the door and people BURST through dragging a patient!  I was PRAYING that I wouldn’t see a gun shot wound, thinking of Guillermo and the others all the time!  As it turns out it was an elderly man who was dizzy and disoriented.  He was attended quickly while we watched.  Then Gordo took blood from Christian and told me I’d have to take it to the lab.  Mom stayed with Christian while I wound my way through the whole hospital in search of the lab, which was well-marked, but was nearly half a mile away! (or so it seemed)  When I got back, they had removed 3 times the amount of urine Christian’s body should have held!!  His bladder was about to POP!

As Doc was filling out his paperwork, he asked what Marvin’s other last name was.  We were perplexed, and I remembered that the first doctor’s name was Marvin Pineda.  But I didn’t know his last name.  I told Doc.  He said no, MARVIN, and pointed at Christian.  We said, “HIS name isn’t Marvin!”  And Doc discovered that the front desk had written the wrong name on his form.  Doc corrected it on MOST of his paperwork, and we went on.  They said Christian needed tests run the next day.  I asked about admitting him, because they had nowhere to stay unless he was admitted.  They said they could, but he’d be a “pasillo” patient.  On a stretcher in the hall.  And it was up to me to find a stretcher.  What Doc failed to tell me was that hospital staff guard their stretchers with their LIVES, and I’d have to beg, borrow and STEAL to get one!  Adventure #2 … getting a stretcher….


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