Tuesday, June 6, 2017

In Ugandan Hospitals

It was a normal day.  The kids were all out playing and having a good time when I heard crying.  I knew right away that it was Jonah.  I wasn't super worried, even when I got to him and saw that his leg was definitely broken, I wasn't worried.  These things happen and I figured we'd go get it set, casted and be home before dinner!  

Well that wasn't the case.  He developed Compartment Syndrome which is massive swelling that often requires surgery as well as plastic surgery.  There was even a portion of time that he was at risk for amputation!  Praise the Lord that didn't have to happen and he is recovering well now.  

After the break, everyone was running here and there for different things, some stayed with Moses, got Eva ready to go, splinted his leg with one of my mingling sticks (a long kitchen spoon here), grabbed some pain meds, stopped for prayer and went out the door.  He was in great pain with every bump of the African roads for the 1 hour it took to get to the hospital.  Upon arrival, they pretty much got us right in and xrayed... but not without laughing and photographing our handy splint first!  haha

Immediately they knew it was compartment syndrome and that he'd have to be admitted for surgery the following Monday... 3 days away.  So some people drove the full hour home and back to get Moses and supplies to stay the weekend in the hospital.  Katelyn came to help take care of the babies when I had to tend to Jonah and Shalom came as interpreter/friend for moral support.  We made a pretty good team and had a lot of fun despite the sad reason we were there!

Our first "guests" came in right away.  This should have been an indication of what was to come.  Even though this particular hospital is only one hour away, it's a different language altogether and none of us had any idea what they were saying.  I assumed the first "guests" were nurses or staff of some sort, but when they just stood in our room talking with each other, staring at us and laughing, I finally guessed what was going on and tried to get them out a quickly and politely as I possibly could!  

We enjoyed quiet times of coloring by the fresh air in the hallway, having coffee on the balcony at 9:00PM, watching all the many different lizards, rats, beetles and a giant, red-eyed pigeon, eating brownies and watching movies on Katelyn's computer, having wheel chair/IV pole "races" (think snail pace) down the abandoned hallways and eating delicious Ugandan dinners brought in from a restaurant nearby!

We didn't have consistent water, but there were 2 spigots outside where people collected water and did washing.  The first time we did washing we apparently used the wrong spigot!  One was for filling jerry cans and one was for washing... they both look exactly the same and there were no signs, but everyone just knew this somehow!  Oops!

We also got quite a few more "visitors" (aka- people who come to stare and laugh at the muzungus unashamedly).  One evening it was so bad that we went to extreme measures.  3 women had walked in and stood there talking and laughing.  Used to this routine by now, I greeted them while trying to bar any further entrance to the room and say goodbye.  Which they did... although not without a bit of a hard time.  But it didn't stop there!  They went to the window proceeding to talk, point and laugh!  So we, as politely as we could given the situation, lifted the mattresses to rest against part of the window.  You'd think they'd get the hint, right?  Wrong!  They then climbed the stairs outside to peek OVER the mattresses through the small opening on the top!!  So I raised one of the mattresses to cover it until we couldn't hear them anymore... and went and got a room key!

Did I mention the beetles are HUGE and sound like mice scratching at the door?  Well, they do!
His first surgery went very well and was performed by a great and well known surgeon here, but we soon realized the level of nursing care wasn't quite cutting it.  In fact, it was so bad we were worried about being able to save his leg.  They never once checked his vitals, left his massive open wound for hours with flies etc, hardly checked on him and couldn't care less about the massive pain he was in.  Even if I could find a nurse, they often wouldn't do anything.
    We were able to transfer to Corsu Hospital near the capitol and received INCREDIBLE care!!!
It was THE LOOOONGEST ride to Kampala ever!  It usually takes 5 hours, but it took a whopping 11 hours!  Needless to say, the driver didn't get a tip.  Because he drove so slow, we arrived late at night and missed our chance by far to get Jonah to see a doctor.  Without my even having to ask, the nurses took his vitals, weighed and measured and brought him pain meds!  Thankfully the plastic surgeon was understanding and kind and made a special trip in on a Saturday to see Jonah!  Such vastly different treatment from the first hospital!  He was thoroughly cleaned and re-bandaged every single day, kept tabs on his vitals, they kept a proper pain/antibiotics routine and even fed the patients!  We were SO beyond thrilled with the incredible care Corsu gives!
It was a hopping place and I was able to meet a friend I had only met on our Ugandan Missionary Community FaceBook group.  She has a special needs orphanage I've long desired to see.  We got to be friends with the other people in the wards including a very discouraged and worried Mama Elizabeth who I had met when they were at Cure Hospital here in Mbale!  In Uganda it's a bit unusual to see those with special needs being loved and well cared for.  Parents are often ashamed or embarrassed and keep their kids more hidden and in their houses.  It was wonderful to see SO many children getting the help they need!  It's tough in any culture to care for a child with special needs - as I know because of all that my parents do for my sister Abbie!  These parents need encouragement and prayer for sure.  What a blessing they are to these little ones of God's!
Another blessing was the visitors we were able to have!  Katelyn's family came, bringing Jonah's other brothers and since we were near the airport, some friends who had just returned to Uganda stopped in on their way back to Mbale, as did one of my friends from the US as she was there for a week's visit!  She came bearing pepperoni, American cereal and cinnamon gum!  Such a fun (but sadly, quick) time with her!
After Jonah's plastic surgery, it was just a quiet time of recovery and having to be so gentle to make sure the skin graft took.  I sent Shalom home with Katelyn's family and kept one of Jonah's brothers.  The family has been broken, but are being reunified.  The brothers haven't known each other until recently, so it was a blessing to see them truly start to become brothers!
So!  After 2 1/2 weeks of hospitals the time came to allow Jonah his freedom ticket to go back home!!!
He was slightly happy about this (even though Corsu really is quite awesome).
He had to miss the first week of school due to the skin graft still being so fragile, developed an infection that is now gone, got his pins removed and his stitches taken out!  He is still on crutches, but is expected to make a full recovery!!! 
 We praise the Lord for His strength and patience and protection while in the hospital.  I am thankful for all those who kept the home side of things so well and even took in 3 of my kids!  There were so many blessings that came out of this time and I am, in a strange way, very thankful to the Lord that Jonah broke his leg!  I know that sounds funny, but it's true.  God shows His power in the gazillion gifts and blessings He showers even in the harder times!

Pray that Jonah will see this time as a gift, that he will come to know the Lord and that his heart will continue to soften, that his leg continues to heal, for his stamina to increase and also for the funds to come in to cover the cost of his surgeries and hospital stay.  If you feel led to help in that way, we'd be so grateful!

This boy's laugh and smile are back and he's only sad that he doesn't get to sit and watch Spiderman anymore!

No comments:

Post a Comment

I love hearing from you!