Monday, November 21, 2011

A Great Ending To A Not So Great Morning

Blackness crowds around me and with my last strength I try to fight it before it overtakes me.

I can’t see.

Barely able to put one foot in front of the other I lean heavily on the French man holding me up. “I can’t see,” I whisper hoarsely, the words barely forming through stiff lips.

Saturday morning had started early. Fasting for twelve hours for a routine glucose test wasn’t my idea of fun, and I was hungry. Since Medlab is open 24-7, I wasted no time filling my water bottle, grabbing a few snacks for later, slipping a book into my bag and heading out to the car. Turning the key into the ignition the numbers on the dashboard clock glowed 6:10.

The roads were thankfully quiet, and the short trip to Medlab took under 10 minutes, nothing like the previous day when Jason and I spent 2 hours battling traffic to get there. No signs indicated that where I turned in was a hospital, but it was. Although Canopy Verte Hospital suffered from earthquake damage it was still functioning.

Early morning sunshine added a serene glow to the surroundings, but I barely dared look up to enjoy the beauty. The cobblestones on the parking lot had sprung loose during the earthquake and I now focused on not tripping over the convoluted parkway.

Paying no attention to the cracks in the walls I pushed open the door to the lab. At this time of morning the waiting room was deserted. Looking towards the back I was thankful to see that the French man that had been working there the previous day was there again. At least he spoke a little English since I didn’t know very many French or Creole medical terms. Recognizing me, he headed over to the desk and helped the attendant fill out the correct paperwork for my glucose test.

Once the forms were filled out he directed me to a chair inside where another attendant jabbed me with a needle for a blood sample. Thankfully she had no trouble finding my vein and after a few minutes she was finished.

When I was ready the French man passed me a bottle of orange colored glucose water and instructed me to drink it and wait one hour. Checking the time on my phone I obeyed his instructions and prepared to wait. Pulling my book out of my bag, I relished the thought of one hour of uninterrupted reading time. As I read my attention strayed every now and then to the increasingly busy waiting room. Mom’s with babies, husbands and wives and men in various uniforms joined me, waited for their turn to do various tests, and then left again.

From behind the pages of my book I felt the occasional curious stare. Both my white skin and the fact that I was reading made me an object of interest. Looking around I noted that there was no magazine racks or any other reading material in view.

When my hour was up, the waiting room had emptied again and the only people left were one man and two pregnant women. The French man seeing I was ready for my second test, directed me to a new attendant.

This time around things didn’t go so well. Not being able to find my vein the attendant began to dig around my arm with her needle. Feeling intense pain in my arm, I bit my lip and grimaced.

“Sa fe mal?” (That hurts?) The attendant questioned, concerned.


She pulled the needle out, loosened the ribbon around my upper arm and massaged the area where my main vein was located. Then she tried again. No blood filled her syringe the second time either and I tried not to cry as she hunted around with her needle.

Weak with lack of food, the intense pain in my arm now caused my head to spin and my stomach to turn. Noticing my discomfort the French man was beside me in a second and tried to reassure me.

“Why don’t you try her other arm?” He spoke in French to the attendant. She nodded and thankfully this time it worked. By the time she was finished I felt really sick and nauseous, so the French man offered to help me inside the lab to a bathroom there. What I wanted to do was lie down, but noting the dirty floor, I decided against it.

As the French man helped me up and back out of the waiting room, the tiny still functioning part of my brain noticed the shocked expression of the Haitian man still waiting for his blood test results. I must look really bad.

To get to the bathroom we had to make our way through the hallway and barely conscious I stumbled along.

Now, darkness crowds around me and with my last strength I try to fight it before my eyes are overcome and my world goes black.

Why did I not ask Jason to come with again? I groan, not remembering the last time I felt this miserable.

Thankfully, by the time we reach the tiny bathroom my vision begins to clear again and I find a place to sit. The French man pushes a garbage can towards me and then steps out to give me some privacy. Laying my head down on my lap I slowly begin to feel better.

A few minutes later the French man returns with a kind smile. “You look better!” He says. “Your lips were white but now they are red again. Don’t go home yet though. Just wait in the waiting room till you feel better.”

I nod my thanks and then slowly make my way to a bench. After a few minutes I felt better and head over to the car for some snacks. The food and water restore me and when I feel ready, I carefully drive home.

Walking up the stairs a concerned Jason meets me at the door.

“How come you’re walking so weird?” He questions and I grimace.

“I don’t feel so good,” I mutter, collapsing on the couch. I tell him what happened and he shakes his head and then quickly gets to work making me some breakfast.

An hour and a half later I feel much better and head over to my friend’s house for the baby shower she is hosting for me. Fresh fruit and delicious apple cinnamon cake is laid out on the table, along with assorted muffins, juices and teas. We play games and then my friends spoil me with baby gifts and money to purchase things for him/her in Canada.

“A great way to end a not so great morning!” I sigh, sharing my Medlab incident with them.


  1. Those glucose test are so yucky!! been there - done that! Glad you look like you're back to your normal self again.

  2. Hey, you guys could use your Airplane and get some kind of Equipment to survey the geology of the country to see if their is oil. that would be great if there was petroleum reserves. if you guys want to do that i could donate to help you guys get whatever equipment would be needed. give it some thought