Monday, November 1, 2010

Trip to the ER

Friday, Oct 29

It’s 5:00 a.m. and I slowly open my eyes. Our room is still dark and I wonder for a moment what woke me. It is then that I hear Jason in our bathroom and it’s obvious that he is sick. I close my eyes for a moment and get this sinking feeling in my chest. We’ve been back in Haiti for less than 48 hours. Can he really get sick that fast? With Cholera on everyone’s mind any sign of sickness is scary. Still half asleep, I slowly get up to see if there’s anything I can do for him. “Can I help you?” I ask. “I’ll be okay,” He replies. “I just need to get back in bed.” Once he’s back in bed I go back to the bathroom and spend some time washing and rewashing my hands. I then find the bottle of hand sanitizer and use that as well. “I guess I’d better call and tell the guys you won’t be going to work,” I tell Jason, and he nods. Once I’ve placed the call, I find the Gatorade powder and make Jason something to drink. After drinking some of it, he dozes off and I go help Jayden get dressed.

Later that day, Jason comes in and out of bed, drinks more Gatorade and tea, and also eats some toast. Although he still makes many a trip to the bathroom he doesn’t feel really sick.

Saturday, Oct 30

1:00 p.m.

Jayden is napping and Jason had been keeping food and drink in for several hours so I decide to make a quick, much needed run to the grocery store. Just after I arrive, Jason calls, telling me he is now vomiting as well, and has fainted in the bathroom. “Please hurry and come back Will. I don’t know if I can get back in bed and I feel so sick.” I make a quick phone call to Dr. Ed, who, since all the hospitals we would normally go to have shut down after the earthquake, finally suggests I take him to the Bernard Ves hospital. Back at home, I find Jayden still sleeping and Jason back in bed. When I suggest taking him to the Bernard Ves Hospital, he refuses. “We’ve never been to that hospital and who knows what kind of level of care there is there.” He reasons. Unsure of what to do, I decide to call our Program Manager who tells me if we do decide to go to the hospital, he will drive us.

6:30 p.m.

Jason’s stomach is now cramping so bad he is in terrible pain. He’s also hardly keeping any fluids in and is bleeding. Right then I make the decision to take him to the hospital. Jason no longer protests, and seeing how weak and sick he is, I know it has to be bad. I make a quick phone call to our Program Manager who promises to be right over. I then call my friend and fellow MAF wife Christine to see if she can take Jayden. While on the phone the seriousness of the situation hits me and I can hardly make myself understood through my tears. After hanging up I pray again to God for Jason’s health and also for peace and calm in my heart to deal with the situation. Feeling better I quickly get to work packing my purse with water, snacks and money. I then get Jayden changed into his pajamas and pack an overnight bag for him. Shortly afterwards our Program Manager arrives and I help Jason and Jayden into the truck. We leave a very worried Anoud behind, who is currently taking care of his three kids on his own since Denise is visiting her parents in Jeremie. The streets are dark since there is little street lighting. Christine lives close by and it only takes a minute before we’ve stopped at her gate. I call her cell phone and a few seconds later she opens the gate. I pass Jayden to her who at first is very happy to see her but then begins to cry as I leave without him. After giving him a quick hug and kiss I head back to the truck. Since none of the other MAF staff has ever been to the Bernard Ves hospital we now rely entirely on the information that Dr. Ed had given me earlier to find it. Thankfully we are able to find the hospital with little difficulty but are surprised to see the sign that says “University of Miami Field Hospital” attached to the gate. At the gate we are let in and immediately approached by an American Doctor. After several questions he determines that Jason does not have Cholera and does not need to be isolated. In the emergency room there is one bed open so Jason is immediately admitted. American Doctors and Nurses mill around inside and we are greeted in English. Nurse Brad gets to work filling out paperwork and getting Jason comfortable.

Shortly after Dr. Jeff Daniel hooks Jason up to an IV. After asking numerous questions the Doctor decides that Jason has a bacterial infection and prescribes Cipro. While waiting for the prescription and for Jason to get pumped full of two bags of IV, we get a chance to talk to the Doctors and Nurses and examine the ER a little more closely. We find out that this team of Doctors and Nurses had just arrived that afternoon into Port au Prince and are here to work for 7 days before getting replaced by another team. Because they just arrived they have a hard time finding where everything is stored and kept. A team of translators work with the Doctors, so patients can be diagnosed. In the bed beside Jason lies a man who we find out has Typhoid and Malaria. After getting his prescriptions he is helped by a friend out the door, and a teenage girl is led in with a deep cut in her knee cap. Apparently her boyfriend was jealous of her talking to some other guy and attacked her with a broken ceramic plate. She’s all alone and I feel really sorry for her. Looking around the ER I watch with interest as one Nurse spends all his time trying to organize paperwork. Observing him I’m certain he has a “C” type personality and has a difficult time functioning in a disorganized environment. Nurse Brad who keeps checking up on Jason has a bandanna tied around his head and with his tattoos and little dance moves reminds me more of a Rock Star than anything else.

“How you doing Bro?” He keeps asking Jason, and I do my best to hide my smile. Doctor Jeff offers me a camping chair to sit on beside Jason’s bed and I note that it is one of the only chairs around. From my vantage point I carefully observe the ER. Duck tape labels are pasted all over the place and hastily scribbled descriptions explain what is supposed to be in the various cupboards and drawers. The floor, although not terribly dirty, does boast its share of muddy foot prints. Under Jason’s bed I spot a small container of spit, or is it vomit? All in all though, for a Hospital in Haiti, I’m impressed. The care really is just incredible. The Doctor himself even walks over to the pharmacy to fill Jason’s prescriptions. While he’s gone, another Doctor spends some time telling us more about the Cholera Epidemic. So far they’ve narrowed the source down to the Artibonite River and have warned people to no longer use that water for drinking, washing food or bathing. Cholera is not spread from person to person, but from eating or drinking contaminated water and food, or touching contaminated feces. So far the only five cases reported in Port au Prince are from people who had traveled from the Artibonite River area. Cholera is treatable simply by hydrating the patients. “If you stick with bottled water, and boil your vegetable, you should be fine.” The Doctor finishes and we thank him for the information. Shortly after Dr. Jeff Daniel returns with Jason’s medication. After explaining when to take them and how often and when to return if symptoms worsen or change, we are free to go. All medical care and medicine is given free of charge. With fluid levels back up, Jason is feeling much better and is even able to walk back to the truck unassisted. Driving home, I thank God for his care and for the wonderful care Jason received at the hospital. After picking up a sleeping Jayden at Christine’s we head on back to our house. We find an anxious Anoud pacing at the gate who when I tell him Jason is doing better raises his hands and says “Mesi Bondi, Mesi Bondi!” I whole heatedly agree. Back inside I’m happy to note we finally have city power again after over a week, and that it’s only just after 10:00 p.m. What a day.


  1. Wow I'm so glad to hear that he's going to be okay!! Praise God! I'll be praying that all of you stay healthy through all of this!

  2. To God be the glory - Praying for Jason's complete healing!

  3. How remarkable is the providence of the Lord. He provides in so many wonderful ways! How remarkable that the Lord knew that you would need that team of medical staff there at that location for your needs!

  4. So thankful all is well, it shows how quickly things can change and how dependant we are on God every single day. We know it, but most of the time don't think about it.

    Take care all of you, please know you are in our thoughts and prayers!

    Love Henry and Jenny