We are constantly surrounded by all kinds of medical needs here. We trust God's leading in each situation. We don't give people money for medicine, but if they give us the prescription, we'll buy the medicine and take it to them. If somebody needs to go to the doctor, we will send them to our doctors and they will let us pay afterwards. Especially when it comes to children, we do everything we can.
A couple months ago a new family started riding the truck to our church from NH: Hadid, Maritza and their five children Paola, Angel, David, Joel and a baby. After a couple weeks Lico asked the church for a special offering to buy Paola some new glasses. She has a degenerative eye disease and needs a new pair every year. The next day Jimmy took her to our eye doctor and 2 days later she had her new pair.
When we gave Paola her glasses, Hadid asked Jimmy if there was some work he could do for us to pay us back for the glasses. Wow... that doesn't happen. I was really impressed with his desire to provide for his family. That's something that comes from God. We then found out that not only is Hadid a metal worker, he's really good at it, so he has paid off the glasses and continued working for us as we finish up our house.
This family has continued to come faithfully to both services each week and all of their kids (except for the infant) have parts in our Christmas drama next Sunday.
This was David at our rehearsal on Friday afternoon. He seemed kind of quiet, but he is always kind a reserved. Saturday, when Jimmy got to our house to pay the workers, he found out Hadid had just arrived to work because he had been at the hospital since the day before with David. They arrived at 6pm but were not seen until 1am. They thought he might have appendicitis, but said he should get an ultrasound to verify before they operate, but no one was doing anything to find an available ultrasound machine on a weekend. Jimmy sent Hadid back to the hospital rather than stay and work of course.
The government offers free healthcare, but just the basics. If you need lab work, you go someplace else and pay for it and bring it back to the hospital. If you need an ultrasound or an x-ray you find a radiologist, get your test and take it back to the hospital. If you need medicine, you go to a pharmacy, buy it and bring it back to the hospital. Surgeries are free, but the doctors on call are resident students that just graduated and you choose your government hospital based on your academic ranking. Of course, Petén is one of the last places chosen, so we are getting the mediocre medical students. There is a "real" doctor that comes from Guatemala City Monday-Friday, but if you are sick on the weekends and need surgery... It's best to suffer through until Monday if you can.
Well appendicitis can't wait and because it was a Saturday the hospital couldn't find anybody that was open to do the ultrasound. At 4:30pm Maritza called Jimmy asking if he had a contact that could do ultrasounds and told him the whole story. (This was when we realized the seriousness of the situation.) Jimmy called our pediatrician, who called a surgeon friend of his, who called a radiologist friend of his who said he was a little far away, but if the family could get there at 6pm, he would drive the 45 minutes back to his office and open up just for that.
The ultrasound was important because you don't want to introduce David to all that risk of infection if it is not absolutely necessary. The resident student was going to do the surgery without the ultrasound, but Hadid was hoping it was some other problem and wasn't comfortable with them cutting open his 10 year old on a suspicion...obviously!
Of course, the family's phone was dead so even though Jimmy found a place for an ultrasound, he couldn't tell the family. So Jimmy drove to the hospital to hunt them down so they would get to the ultrasound. When he got there, the surgeon he had spoken to earlier had already gone to the hospital and hunted them down and sent them to radiologist. Jimmy met them there so he could pay for the ultrasound ($32) and then drove them back to the hospital. Dr. Oliva, the surgeon our pediatrician recommended to us, was still there and he told Jimmy he would stay at the hospital and do the surgery so that the family wouldn't have to pay for it rather than take the boy to his office. Huge Blessing!
I have to say that the free medical care here is horrible. People can say whatever they want about it, but I would NEVER go to one of those hospitals or let my kids have something done in one unless is was a life or death emergency. I think it is interesting that this was an emergency, but they literally could have driven the 7 hours to the capital and gotten seen in less time than it took for them to get attended to at the free hospital here in Petén.
Maritza and the other 4 children had to leave before they found out David could get an ultrasound because the micro taxis stop running at 6:30pm. (Maritza is David's stepmom. Hadid lost his first wife a couple years ago.) Due to the dead cell phone she didn't know Jimmy was on his way. I felt so bad for Hadid begin all alone there with his son and then for Maritza to have no way of knowing what was going on.
Well the ultrasound showed that he did have appendicitis. Jimmy drove Hadid back to the hospital while David road in the ambulance. Jimmy stayed with Hadid while they waited for the doctor and taught David how to play Angry Birds to distract him a little bit. (And it worked!) Jimmy prayed with them both before he left. Hadid broke down in tears, worried about his son. Jimmy left after giving instructions to call him for anything and also to let him know when David would be discharged so Jimmy could give them a ride home (40 min away).
David was discharged the next day at 2:00.
Thank to everyone who knew about this while it was going on and prayed. I am so thankful for the good surgeon who was willing to do it. Please keep praying for this family and especially David as he heals. There isn't clean water or power where they are living temporarily, so that could be tricky when you are trying to keep the wound clean. We are also very thankful that God led this family to our church. Their sweet spirit has been a blessing to us.
CUTE ITEM OF THE DAY:
I told Jonah and Silas to pray for David. They knew that Daddy wasn't home in time for support because he was helping David. I should have clarified a little bit more because Silas later pointed at a David and Goliath app on my phone that he plays with and said, "Daddy's helping him!"