First World Frustrations
Many of you know that our family has been dealing with a long road of medical issues. For those of you that do not, here is a quick recap and update on that:
Late this last summer Jeremiah started having aches and pains in his back and hips. He thought it was maybe just his body catching up to all the strain he has put on it over the years. When the pain was becoming more persistent in the fall he did go in to check for lymes. He was tested and given the positive diagnosis for lymes disease and treated with a long course of strong antibiotics. While on the antibiotics he felt great! The pains had disappeared and he felt normal again. About a week after his treatment his body rebounded and the pain came back only worse. He went back to the doctor and many tests and many months they had no diagnosis. The pain was only getting worse, and Jeremiah was immobile. There were days that he needed help getting out of bed. The one thing they did know from his blood work was that his inflammation levels in his body were very high, and they attributed this to the pain. He was on an anti inflammatory and pain medication that made life tolerable, but he was still unable to participate in daily activities, even bending over to give the kids a hug was a painful task. Finally in February after visiting with a specialist he was diagnosed with a type of arthritis that usually only affect the spine. It is called ankylosing spondylitis. Was the inflammation triggered from a tick disease, and that triggered the inflammation, causing the arthritis? Did the arthritis cause the inflammation? We may never know, but after a long road he is on prescription medications that are allowing him to resume normal life activities. The prescriptions are causing a whole new set of issues, but nothing near as debilitating. We are in prayer that some natural remedies may allow him to eventually not be on the prescriptions, but we are patient. God has shown us many many things during this time. Taught us some very valuable lessons. I found myself incredibly frustrated (ok, that is a fib… I was down right MAD) with the doctors and clinics that were supposed to be helping us through this time. Why, in this day was he waiting so long for results and treatment. Why did it seem like no one really cared about what he was going through and how it was affecting our family? This is what I needed to remember, and this gave me hope.
The Lord is my rock, my fortress and my deliverer; my God is my rock, in whom I take refuge, my shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold. Psalm 18:2
This leads me to my struggle over the last few days. A whole new test of my faith, and a whole new appreciation for American medical providers and facilities.
I have shared a lot about Madam Datilus over the last three years. The Lord used her to soften my heart and grow a love for Haiti. Here is a photo of the first time that I met Madam Datilus:
She is the single mother of 5 kids, 2 of whom are crippled. When we met her she was homeless and struggling to feed herself and her children. With the Lords help 7:10 Foundation was able to help her find and purchase a home and property.
On Thursday of this week I heard from a very close friend of mine in Haiti. He called to tell me that Madam Datilus had taken her 11 year old Bettina to the clinic that day. Bettina is one of her daughters that is crippled with a yet un diagnosed problem. She is unable to walk. At this time all JP could tell me was that she was very very sick, so sick that the clinic could not keep her and told her she needed to go to a hospital.
JP had sent Madam Datilus with his phone number and asked her to call him with any updates, knowing that we would want to know. At the time of his phone call he could not tell me anything other than she was very very sick and needed prayers. Later that afternoon Mdm had called JP and asked if he could arrange for a ride for her and Bettina to come home. Bettina was going to die and she did not want her to die in the hospital. JP had arranged with Lifeline a driver and was waiting to go with the driver to the hospital. When he called to tell me this I was just beside myself. What is wrong with her, is it so grave that they can do absolutely nothing? Would a bigger hospital have other alternatives for her? JP didn’t know any of these answers but assured me that he would go with the driver to pick her up. I pleaded with JP to please talk to Mdm, and if there was something, anything that we could do to help to please let us know.
Anyone that knows me personally knows that I can not sit idly very well. I sent a message to another dear sister in Christ, Elizabeth. Partly because I was so upset and I knew that if anyone would understand my fear and anxiety it would be her, and partly because I was reaching out for any help I could get. She was able to contact the doctor at the clinic that had seen her that morning to find out that Bettina had severe pneumonia, that was left untreated for far to long. She was sure that she could be treated though, and that the answer was NOT to send her home to die. She recommended a different hospital. When JP arrived at the hospital things were made a little more clear. The hospital wasn’t not treating her because there was no hope, it was because Madam did not have any money. Without money, you will remain without treatment. What are we supposed to do? We know that Mdm works as much as she can to try and provide for her children. We are part of the church and this is when we are supposed to step in and help. Do you want to know how much money it took to keep her for the night? 20$. You read that right, 20$. This child could have been sent home to suffer a painful death over 20$.
Fast forward to Friday. Madam does not have a phone of her own, so we were not able to call her for updates, and she had yet to call JP with any updates. Late in the afternoon our Director Ronald messaged me to say that he had went to visit Bettina and her mom in the hospital. He said that the situation was not good at all. Bettina was barely conscious and could not be off of the oxygen at all. He also learned that she had not received any pharmacutical care since she had arrived. She was on oxygen and receiving IV fluids but no medicine. The reason given for this was that when Mdm Datilus arrived at the hospital, she did not have any paperwork from the clinic stating what her diagnosis was or if she had received any treatment before she left.
Ok, now this is where my mind is BLOWN. This child has now been in the hospital, struggling to breathe, and she has not gotten any type of medicine yet because of paperwork. Let’s wrap our first world heads around that! What would you do? Well, first the hospital would call the clinic right? No. Ronald drove all the way back to La Digue (about an hour and twenty minutes) to try and catch the doctor there and see if she would write something for the hospital in St. Marc. He missed her… she had left for the day already. Can you say defeated? This is how I felt. Ronald had asked me if I would call the doctor and ask if she would write or call the hospital in St. Marc so that this child could have some medicine. At 9:30 last night (which is 10:30) in Haiti, I was able to talk to the Doctor. Dr. Carmel (wonderful, sweet, kind, loving Dr.) was also upset at the lack of care this child was receiving. She did not have a telephone number to call any doctor at this hospital, but reassured me that I could give her phone number to Madam Datilus and that she could call her any time last night or today so that she could talk to a doctor. This is great, except Madam Datilus does not have a phone. There isn’t a phone by every hospital bed that is free to use, or that we would have a number to even call. Dr. Carmel had gotten another call before mine last night, from someone she said she didn’t know, that had asked about treatment and diagnosis. The only thing left for me to do was pray. I asked God to lay his hands on Bettina, stabilize her, heal her. Make the connections between the doctors and provide the necessary medicines for this child.
Today… Saturday. JP called me about 9am. He had heard from Madam Datilus again. Some miracle happened over night and they had given Bettina a prescription. Now the next obstacle. She could not get this prescription without paying for it first. JP and Ronald are both in Port-Au-Prince on Saturdays for English school and were not able to get up to St. Marc to bring money to her. JP already had another plan though. God is so good. He had talked to his girlfriend, who happens to live in St. Marc and she was going to meet Mdm at the hospital and give her money for the medicine. JP will go and visit her after church tomorrow and see what other needs she may have.. He was encouraged that Bettina had made it through the night again, and that she was more awake today.
I have also been praying and ask you to join me in prayer for Madam’s other 4 children. Madam is required to be at the hospital or have another adult there at all times. She is a single mother, and this is not easy. Ronald was able to bring food to the other kids at home today, but they are fending for themselves right now.
Long story… Did you make it to the end? I guess I could have just gotten to the point right away, and that point is that I should have never ever been upset with the way things were happening here when Jeremiah was in need of medical care. One doctor can see what another doctor has done or is going to do with the click of a few buttons on a computer. The pharmacist can see what medicines we are on and what might interact with another medicine, even if they were prescribed by different doctors at different clinics. Payment plans are readily available, and treatment is never denied due to the lack of money in your pocket. Communication can be achieved so easily, and almost everyone can get a cell phone. (for as little as a dollar a month, I know, I use to work in the cell phone industry) Finding an internet connection to send records or an email? I would be willing to bet if we didn’t have internet that one of my neighbors or friends would have it for me to use. How about something as simple as a dial tone? Do we even use land line phones anymore? Not often, but that is a luxury that is not readily available in Haiti.
If you made it this far I thank you. I ask you to pray. If you are feeling lead to help with this road to recovery financially, please click on the following link and mark your donation “Bettina”.
Blessings to you and yours,