Sunday, October 5, 2014

Broken Bones - Days 2, 3 & 4

The day after Hope's accident, Marc took the day off of work and we drove back to the clinic in the morning. The clinic sent us over to a hospital nearby, called CCBRT. There we waited in a crowded room for the doctor to see us. He reviewed the X-rays and agreed that the bone could most likely be set without surgery. The schedule was completely full that day, so it would have to be the following morning. After visiting the lab for a blood draw, and another stop in the Doctor's office to give him lab results, we headed home after about 6 hours at the hospital...and Hope still had a broken arm. For those of you who have broken bones, how long did it take after it was broken until you were in a cast and back into 'life'? Here we were about 24 hours after the fall & nothing had actually been done yet. At this point, I was greatly missing DeVos Children's Hospital in Grand Rapids. During this whole day, we were so thankful for a few different friends who watched Geneva...she's not a sit still type of kid, so 6 hours of crowded waiting rooms would not have gone over well.

The next morning we arrived, ready to be the 'first case of the day'. We were brought into a private room and were left to wait there for almost 3 hours. Thankfully there was a TV in the room, so we had our fill of Nickelodeon. I was surprised at how nice this private ward was. It had it's own bathroom, a small little loveseat, a bed, a mini-fridge and the TV. Not at all what I expected, and likely, not what most Tanzanians every see. This private ward at the hospital had maybe 10 rooms, most people stay in any many large rooms with dozens of beds in each. I suspect we were put in a private room because Hope was a child, or because we were assumed to have the money to pay for it. Maybe both.

The nurse finally came and we wheeled Hope on the bed through the outdoor hallways into the 'theater' where they would put her under. We waited in a tiny waiting room with a few other people waiting to go in. They came and gave her a small dose of something to sedate her and after a few minutes she was a rag doll in my arms. I had been apprehensive about this part of things. I had asked the day before if I would be with her while they sedated her and they said no. They said they would need special permission from the director of the hospital for me to be with her. I thought this was a bit ridiculous. There was just about no way I was going to hand off Hope to a doc to go back for sedation...she would've scream having to go off with some stranger for a reason she didn't understand! I think in the end, they misunderstood my question or I misunderstood their answer, as it was no problem to let me hold her when she took that med. I was so thankful. They took her back and set her bone while we waited outside.

This is where Hope's proceedure was done.
After it was set, the doc came out and told us it went well, "more or less". WHAT? What does that mean? Those are not words you want to hear. He said we needed to stay overnight to watch for swelling and we were taken back to our room. We were not anticipating staying overnight. So after Hope got settled a bit, Marc and Geneva went home to get us a few things for our stay. While they were gone, Hope's pain started to get worse, so I asked the nurse for some pain medication. She came back with a shot. I was a bit surprised that for a child they didn't have another option. I've since come to realize that injections are extremely common practice for everything here.
So, after the nurse attempted 5 times to stick Hope and Hope pulled away, she gave up. Hope was in tears. I was almost in tears. The nurse left, leaving the needle in our room. I was half tempted to do the injection myself, as I was almost certain I could do it quickly and not stop just because Hope was crying. But I didn't. My kids have had shots before, but never did it take this many failed attempts. At one point the nurse asked, "Oh, is she afraid of injections?" Um, YES. She's 4. And you're poking her in the butt with a needle. And it hurts. And she's scared. And everytime a person comes in to see her, they end up hurting her.
Another nurse came in, gave her the shot and Hope slept for a bit after that. Marc and Geneva came back with our things, including food. We were not sure if the hospital would actually provide any food, as often family members are responsible to care for patients needs like that (they did bring us a plate of chicken, chipsi and mchicha around 8:00pm). We had an uneventful evening, a bad nights sleep (we shared a twin bed and I work everytime Hope moved), and a quick X-ray in the morning to make sure things looked good and then we were home! Both the German doctor and his Tanzanian collegue said the cast should stay on only 3 weeks. I was expecting 6-8, but because she is so young, they believe she will heal quickely. We were so thankful to hear that!
The cast will come off this coming Thursday already and she'll have another set of X-rays to determine if it has healed/set properly. Will you take a minute to pray for this? If the bone has moved at all, we will likely need to go to South Africa for surgery. I want to go to SA, but certainly NOT for this. We don't want Hope to have to have surgery, and it would obviously be quite a large expense for us, which we do not currently have funds for and our insurance will not cover.

All in all, we were happy with our care here and are so thankful that there are resources here for this type of injury. Medical care was a major concern for us as we anticipated moving. It's hard to put your children in a situation where you know there isn't a DeVos Children's Hopsital 10 minutes from home. I have been thinking about the many missionairies who have even less than we do in regards to medical care. Will you take a minute and pray for some missionaries you know, especially those in rural/village areas? Pray for their physical safety and protection, but also their spiritual safety and protection.

This ordeal has cost about $400. After 15 months of being in Africa, our monthly giving has yet to reach our monthly goal. Over the past year, we have used all of our savings to subsudize the gap in our budget. If you'd like to donate at all to help with these unexpected expenses, please visit

Thanks for praying for the healing of this sweet little one!