The Adventure Continues… Getting a Stretcher

The Doctor said to start at the 4th floor and work my way down to the morgue, searching for an abandoned stretcher in a hallway. I PRAYED I would not have to search the morgue!! I started on the 1st, figuring I’d rather work my way UP than DOWN. But the first trick was finding the floors! They are in a different section of the hospital! I found them, and asked a guard if he’d seen a stray stretcher anywhere. All the while I was praying that God would show me who to ask for help! Guard #1 was NOT the one. No help. 2nd floor. Pediatrics! I wandered through praying and found 3 BEDS with no mattresses. I tried to talk them into letting Christian be up there on a bed in the hall if I could find him a mattress. NO WAY. Apparently peds has a reputation of being FIRM. When their beds are full, there is NO making room for more! BUT we found 2 stretchers unattended. Since I hadn’t seen an elevator yet, I asked how I could get one of them to the ER. “You have to find a Stretcher-Pusher.” I see. And how does one go about finding a Stretcher Pusher? And how do you know what one LOOKS like? “Look, I don’t know.” BACK to the ER. I found 2 stretchers, but they said I need a Stretcher-Pusher to take one. Where do I find one? “You don’t. You’ll never find one, and peds will never let it go! Find another.” Lord, WHERE do I find a stretcher that can leave? And a comfy one – some were barely holding together and would not have room for Mom to sit down. I saw a female guard and thought she would help, since she’d seen me go by at least 5 times now. She did. She pestered everyone who walked by her as we went in search of a stretcher. Some were evasive, some said they didn’t know. An evasive woman said, “What you need to do is follow someone leaving ER and grab the stretcher when they transfer the patient to a bed.” Sounds easy enough! I started to follow someone, and with that an elusive Stretcher-Pusher stepped off the elevator! Ah HAH! I grabbed him! I need a stretcher for a poor little epileptic boy who doesn’t have a bed. “Oh, no. I can’t give you MINE, but I’ll help you find one.” He walked right through the doors Evasive Lady came out and there was a row of 3 stretchers! He grabbed one. Meanwhile Evasive Lady returned from her errand yelling, “Hey! You can’t just walk in there! You can’t have that!” But it was in Stretcher-Pusher’s hands, and he said, “No, it’s that she needs it,” and walked out as the doors closed on her. YAY!!! So Female Guard pushed took the stretcher (he’d chosen the nicest one, by the way), and pushed her way back to ER – enjoying the authority she had – and put the stretcher outside the door of our friendly Doc. He had Christian admitted as a “pasillo” patient, and we stood there waiting. He gave us orders for an X-ray, a CAT scan and a referral to a neurologist for later. Mom didn’t know who Christian had seen in the past. I have a feeling it was MANY years ago. After standing for a long time, I asked Gordo what to do next. He said we could do the X-ray. It’s just down the hall. I went to find it – through glass doors labeled radiology and looked around. No one. No sign. Nothing. 2 ladies were sitting in a corner and told us to go down the hall to a glass door and stick my head in to see if anyone was there. Someone was. She looked at the doctor’s orders, stamped the paper and sent me to get a “statistics number”, pay and return with the patient. On my way, I saw the doctor and asked where to get a statistics number. He sent me to the cashier, where I had to pay before going to statistics. I asked at the cashier how to get to statistics. She said it was there “en el fondo”, and kind of waved her hand. Normally that means like all the way down the hall – literally the deep part – or at the end of something. I was in a big rectangular room. Where was it deepest?!? Did not compute. Where was the back? Well, where was the FRONT? So I looked for a hall to go deeply into. Nope. Nothing. I asked another guard, and he left his post and practically took my hand to take me there. It was right where I had been but did NOT have a nice pretty sign like so many other places. It was actually the same desk that had written Christian’s name wrong. Armed with all my papers, stamps receipts AND numbers, I went back for the patient. We wheeled him on the stretcher (a big comfy stretcher is NOT recommended for navigating an over-crowded hospital with patients in every nook and cranny) to radiology, where getting the x-ray was simple. But then the technician disappeared. We were standing there wondering what to do next when another patient told us to where to wait for the results, which we took back to our friendly Doc. He was with 3 or more other patients by then but was patient with me. He and Gordo had a good sense of humor and treated everyone very kindly. So we stood for another hour or so waiting, but not knowing what we were waiting for. At some point I heard someone cal, “Marvin Pineda? Marvin Pineda?” but it didn’t mean much to me at the time. Food was delivered to the patients, but there was nothing for Christian. He wasn’t on the list of patients. But I happened to notice a Marvin Pineda at the bottom of the list! I grabbed Doc the next time he stepped out of his room, and told him. He slapped his head and grabbed a pen! “I’m so sorry! It’s my fault! I must not have corrected it on THAT form!” So the kitchen staff gave Christian “Marvin’s” food, and the nurses pointed out the door and said to line Christian’s stretcher up at the end of the row of stretchers in the hall. He was the 10th, and soon there were 2 or 3 more. Mom and I were weary, and Christian was doing significantly better but was still lethargic. After a new doctor saw him on his rounds, we tried to get them settled for the night. I’d brought Gatorade and water. I gave Mom my sweater, since all she had was a tank top. They weren’t going to let her stay with Christian because it’s against policy with “adults”, but we convinced them it was necessary because of the seizures and Christian’s tendency to wander. At least one doc confirmed that it was a good decision. I searched high and low and couldn’t find a chair for Mom to sit on. They were all rows of chairs hooked together. So she stood by the stretcher and leaned on it. It was hard to leave, not knowing if they’d be able to find what they needed. It was a sad place to be, with so much sickness and people moaning everywhere. But I wasn’t allowed to stay if I wanted to! Wes picked me up. He had to pay a guard to let him in to get me. The guard apologized and said he hadn’t been paid in two months. It was probably true. We went straight to a mall that has a good bathroom, and I scrubbed myself as best I could to be able to eat. After dinner, we went to stay with the first host family we ever had in Honduras – “The Twins”’ house, if you know who they are. We had a nice time visiting with them, but I was yawning the whole time. As I tried to go to sleep, I felt like I was still in the hospital with those patients. I felt bad for having a bed – more comfortable than my own – to sleep in! But I prayed that I could get some rest, since I knew Mom might not! I also prayed for a chair for her. Day 2 to follow


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