Thursday, May 23, 2013

Just Another Day

"Mama Mama, waaa." I lift the sobbing Justin into his car seat and strap him in. "You'll be all right sweetie," I whisper into his ear as I learn forward and kiss his clammy forehead. Tucking his blanket around him I pop his pacifier into his mouth. It's 9:50 a.m. on Wednesday and he's been sick and feverish since early Sunday morning.  Since I still haven't figured out what is causing the fever I've decided to take him to see the Pediatrician today.

Once he's safely strapped in and comfortable, I back out of our driveway and head out to the main road.

Thankfully traffic on Delmas is light at the moment. Glancing up I can't help but admire the new solar powered street lights. Progress in Haiti; it's great to see!

At the stop light, which even works today, I turn right and snake my way through the windy roads up to the Pan American highway. Although the name sounds impressive, it really is just a two lane road.

To merge in, I cut in front of a pickup. Smiling I give the driver an apologetic wave. He smiles and waves back. We are all good! To get anywhere in Port au Prince you have to be a somewhat aggressive driver, but I've made it my mission to be nice while I'm at it!

Cruising down the Pan American I pass rows of concrete planters, painted to look like wooden ones.

Further along, tin art covers meters of brick walls.

The Pediatrician's office is located in Petionville, a somewhat nicer area of Port au Prince.

At the National Gas Station I take a right, pausing for a moment to snap a photo of the houses built up on the hillside.

Five minutes later I pass the Pediatrician's office.  It doesn't have a parking lot so I spend the next 10 minutes cruising down side streets trying to find somewhere to park. I finally find a spot 5 blocks over. It's in a quieter area, so for once no one comes to try to sell me flowers, or replace my window wipers, or demand payment to guard my car.

Before unstrapping Justin, I sling my diaper bag over one shoulder and my purse over the other. My key chain has a small flask of pepper spray attached to it, so I hang that around my neck. Then I lift my almost 20lb son into my arms and begin the trek back to the Doctor's office. Stopping for a break, I snap a quick photo of the newly painted homes up on the hillside.

One of Haiti's paint companies has been distributing paint to make Port au Prince more beautiful. Although there has been some controversy over this, since plumbing and sewage systems would fulfill a much more practical need, I do think it looks pretty!

At the Doctor's office I find a chair to sit. My lethargic boy sits quietly beside me playing with his bottle.

About ten minutes later he starts to liven up a little and wants to get down to play. When the nurse finally calls us, it's difficult to tell he even is sick. Dr. Mevs, a French Haitian Female Doctor, checks him over thoroughly but comes up empty.

"I will write up a note for the lab so you can get some blood work done so we can rule out things like Malaria and Dengue Fever," she tells me. She draws me a quick map of how to get to the lab and off we go again.

Since the map reading software in my brain is malfunctioning, like usual, it takes a little while to find the lab.

Once inside, the lab technicians insists on speaking French rather than Creole to me, as Creole is considered a lower class language, so it takes a while for us to understand each other.

Justin is not impressed at all when she makes a small cut in his finger and then squeezes the blood out into ten tiny vials. I do my best to calm him, but am also very relieved when she is finished. After paying for the tests, we head back outside.

On the way home I spend a few moments talking with Jason who tells me he's suffering from severe back pain. "I was just sitting at my desk and stood up! Now my back keeps having these horrible spasms."

I offer to pick him up, but he tells me he will wait it out. It won't be that long before the other pilots head home anyway.

When I'm finally home, three hours later, I lay my exhausted baby back in bed.

At 3:30 Jason hobbles through the gate and up the stairs. He looks terrible. His whole body is bent at a very awkward angle. I help him into bed and then call my friend who is a physiotherapist. She's in a meeting but promises to come over as soon as she is finished.

At 4:15 I call the lab for Justin's blood test results. Once again the lab technician insists on speaking French to me. After repeating the same questions several times I finally come to the understanding that the tests showed no signs of Dengue Fever or Malaria. Other than a rash that is now forming over his body he seems to be acting like himself again, so I am thankful for the good news.

As I prepare a simple dinner of beef and veggie wraps, the sky darkens and thunder rumbles. A little later the sky opens and torrential rains hammer the city. Looking out the front door, I notice that once again I forgot to take our shoes in on time.

Lightning and thunder flash and rumble simultaneously; the sound is deafening. To protect our home from electrical surges I head out into the rain to switch city power off.

When the rain finally begins to diminish, our friends arrive. I quickly convert our dining room table into a massage therapy table and Mindy gets to work. The mix of rain and heat has meanwhile transformed our home into a natural steam room.

When she's finished working, Jason's back thankfully feels a little better.

That night, as darkness falls we thank God for His love and care.  Although trials may come and the journey gets harder, our Heavenly Father is always with us.

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