And last night was no exception. We were hanging out in our yard after having a busy day. Our kids, the neighbor kids, and our staff member's kids were all playing on our playground. Nico was having races across the monkey bars with some of the older kids in the neighborhood. And Josiah wanted in on the action. And he did great. Without knowing that he could do monkey bars, he did! I was so excited for him. He said he was scared, but he did it.
Now, here's where it is appropriate to mention that the aforementioned playground equipment is new to us. A few years ago, my friend Sarah had a team come in to install a community playground in her neighborhood. A resident there had an open lot, and said he was donating it to be used for this purpose. Except just kidding, because a couple of years later he decides to sell the land and gives Sarah a couple of days to remove the equipment. She obliges, and knowing we have a big yard and the kids from the neighborhood always come into play in the afternoons after lessons, she offered it to us. We were happy to accept. And this playground equipment has made our yard the happiest place in the Breman zone of Jacmel each afternoon. A teeter-totter, a swing set, and monkey bars. All heavy duty stuff like I grew up with before playgrounds became illegal in America because of accidents and broken bones. And, to lower the bar on safety even further, ours is concreted in to our concrete yard. And the monkey bars are about 10 feet off the ground. (You can probably see where this is going.)
So yesterday afternoon, I was pushing Schneider on the swings when there's this terrible thump followed by a scream. I ran over the source of the scream and it was Josiah. One look at his wrist told me it was broken. It was all deformed looking.
Nick and I grabbed some ice and some money, and ran out the door to the hospital. And here, my friends, is where the adventure began.
We arrived at Hospital St. Michel (the only hospital in the area that is open and does x-rays on a Sunday.) It is also the public hospital for the region. It's nickname is "The Morgue." (I didn't make that up. Check Jacmel's Wikipedia page if you don't believe me.) Let me start off this adventure by saying that the public hospital in Haiti on the best day is a terrifying proposition. But there have been a lot of good changes lately. And we knew this was our best choice, short of traveling 3+ hours into Port Au Prince.
We walk into the ER, and immediately don't have a good feeling, because there are no lights on. It's just starting to be dusk, and so there's enough light to make things out. We head to the front desk and say that we need an x-ray. She told me there was no power and so no way to do an x-ray. I push a little bit. The nurse looks at Josiah's arm and orders an x-ray and says we can wait for the power to come on. She gives us the bill to pay ahead of time (500 gourdes, or about $11.00US.) Before the x-ray can be done, we have to go pay and bring the receipt back to her. We do so. And then we go back to radiology. I am saying silent prayers for power in my head because still no lights are on.
Magically, by the time we appear in radiology, the lights come on! The doors are locked, however, and a piece of paper is taped on the door with a hand-written phone number. Before I can call that number, the guy (to whom the number belongs) came up to us and told us he was the x-ray tech. I told him that we needed an x-ray. I showed him the script and the receipt. And he said that it couldn't be done because of the power. I told him the power had turned back on. And he said that was generator power, not city power. And we couldn't do it on generator power. (As an aside, I understand this concept. One would think "power is power"... right? Not so much in Haiti. You have to be careful what electrical devices are on and drawing power depending on what kind of power you are on. There are between 3-4 options- solar, inverter/batteries, city power, generator.) I showed him Josiah's wrist and he seemed convinced it would be okay to do just one x-ray. And so he did. He shows us as he's handing over the x-ray, that there is a small fracture. But he said it was no big deal and to go back to the ER to see the ortho doc to get a cast.
We head back to the ER, feeling quite accomplished and proud of the fact that we got seen so quickly, power came on at the right time, etc. But as we are heading in, a vehicle zooms into the ER parking lot and a body (dead or alive, I do not know) was carried into the ER in front of us by about 5 running people. We go back and sit down. There is great drama unfolding before us with the patient that was just brought in. There is screaming and pushing and wailing. Josiah starts to shake and looks at me and says, "Mommy, bring me home. I am scared. Bring me home."
I hold him tighter, plugging his ears and covering his eyes. Then a very sick little old man is wheeled in and I wish I could cover my eyes and ears too... the ER is an open ward. No curtains for privacy. Finally the nurse gets back to us. She says she's been trying to call the ortho, but he's not answering his phone. So, they can admit us and Josiah can be seen by him in the morning. I told her we couldn't stay the night, that we'd try to find another hospital/doctor now that we had the x-rays done. She agreed, but said we couldn't leave until we splinted up his wrist for support. She writes me another prescription - this time for a splint. Nick goes off to the cashier and pharmacy to pay for it, but they are out of splints, so we leave without one.
Nick calls an orthopedic surgeon we know in Cay Jacmel-- about 30 minutes away from where we were downtown. He answers and says that since we have x-rays, he'd be happy to see Josiah. Only, his car is broken down, so can we come pick him up at his house and then go on to the hospital from there? No problem. He explains where his house is and we pull up about 40 minutes later (after a quick stop at our house for some ibuprofen). He wants to see the x-ray before we head to the hospital so that he can know what we're dealing with. But it was pitch black. No worries, he heads to the front of the truck and uses the headlights to read the x-ray. He says we can go get it taken care of and off to his hospital we go. It's about 10 minutes from there on bumpy backroads that make Josiah wince and contort with pain. We finally arrive, and upon seeing Josiah's wrist in the light, the doctor decides it's too swollen to cast. So he has us sit down while he goes back into his storage room to look for a splint. The only problem was that he didn't have one that fit. But TIH- (this is Haiti), so he uses the smallest one he has-- an adult medium. We bring him back to his home and then drive home, him telling us to keep the splint on it and come back in about a week for casting.
By the time we got home, we realized that the too-big splint won't be a finished product. But it was all we had. Josiah slept in our bed and groaned throughout the night in pain. I put out the alert this morning trying to find a more appropriate-sized splint. Initially, we got two that were also the wrong size, but then I started getting texts about other options. We headed down to the new clinic in Morne Oge (about 20 minutes away) that is run by some friends of ours. And we were in luck. They had a US doctor in town. (Of course, he was an OB/GYN, but to a certain extent, a doctor is a doctor, right?) Either way, he hooked us up with the new splint which is just slightly too big rather than ridiculously too big. And now, we are all set.
Josiah hates only having use of one hand and he's still in a lot of pain. But we're all squared away for about a week. Then we have to figure out how to get a cast on him. But we will cross that bridge when we come to it.
Can you understand why I don't like adventure?