Monday morning started off fairly normal for my last day in Haiti. I woke up early and got a lot of packing done, did the chores and hung out with all of the kids for awhile, then met John in his office to talk about a project we were doing. I had been talking to Sheila off and on throughout the morning getting updates on Estaphanie and Zeus who had shown up at the gate at 6am. After some confusion they had been sent off to Estaphanie's appt. Sheila had commented on how bad the baby seemed to be doing and around 12:30 we took him from her. He had a fever of 103.3 at 3 weeks old. We could see that he wasn't nursing and she said she had fed him water and some oatmeal type mush. Sheila and I spent the next little while feeding him with a syringe a milliliter at a time but he couldn't even keep that down. He would have coughing fits and throw up everything we had just given him. We knew he wasn't doing good and I suggested Sheila call Dr. Jen. She said to get him to a hospital. (by this time his fever had come down some). So Sheila went and talked to John and when he came down stairs he looked at Zeus and said, "He's dying." what?! I had known he wasn't doing well but convinced myself that he wasn't actually that bad and that he was going to get better. John said he needed to get to the hospital now. As I heard him explain the situation to Junior (John's assistant and the one taking us to the hospital) in creole what was happening I kept hearing him say, "This baby is going to die today if he doesn't get help now."
So Sheila and I jumped in the car with Junior driving and Estaphanie in tow. As we were driving I kept my hand on Zeus' stomach so that I could make sure he was still breathing. At times he would have coughing fits and then not breathe for 4 or 5 seconds at a time. Those were the slowest 4 seconds ever as I willed him to take another breath.
The first hospital we went to wouldn't take us because he was too young. That meant we had to go to General Hospital. This was my first experience there and it was not a good one.
This is how Sheila described the hospital in her blog:
General Hospital is a large complex of many white buildings with forest green trim. It kind of reminds me of an old church camp with a blue and white Catholic church off to the side and people praying at the locked gates. There is one main street inside the complex littered with trash, people waiting, eating and sleeping. While you are there you are responsible to have someone stay with the patient at all times, empty the bedpans and bring in food and water. When you get an actual visit from a doctor and medication is needed you must leave the compound, walk down the street outside filled with pharmacy after pharmacy looking for the meds that you need. There is no a/c, no padded chairs, no clean towels or sheets, you get what you can carry in with you and that is it. So, while you are out it is good to get a bite to eat from the street vendors and a bottle of water and prepare for the long wait.
When you're there, it doesn't matter how sick you or your child is, you wait in line and get seen in the order that you arrived. Let me just say that that is real aggravating when you're holding a dying baby in your arms! At this point Zeus is just not doing well. There were at least 3 times when Sheila and I looked at each other panicking because he hadn't taken another breath.
We finally got a bed for Zeus at around 6 or 6:30 but that doesn't mean much. There were 30 other patients in that room with IVs running everywhere. From the looks of it, people rarely leave that hospital doing better than when they came in.
While trying to decide what to do while waiting for Lynch's house lady Nedege to come stay with Estaphanie and Zeus we watched a new mom with a tear stained face carrying her dead baby around begging for some one to save her baby. Just before leaving we stood in the hallway talking as 2 people carried out the bed of a baby that had just died. As they turned the corner and tipped the bed the baby just about rolled in to my lap. This is the saddest place I've ever had to spend any amount of time in!
Sheila, Junior, and I ended up leaving Estaphanie and Zeus at 7:30 knowing Nedege was on her way. We prayed over Zeus and knew we had to leave him in God's hands. By the way-at this point Zeus still hadn't been seen by a doctor, still had no IV, and seemed to be going down hill...fast.
You'd think our crazy emotional day ended there but nope. Would you believe that 5 minutes down the road the car just stopped working?! So there we sat while waiting for John to come rescue us.
All Sheila and I could do was laugh...it's so Haiti! I also forgot to mention that when we walked into the hospital Sheila took a step in and did quite the graceful move as she slid through a puddle of diarrhea....sick
Finally at 9:30 pm I was home and heading to bed dreading saying goodbye the next morning.
3 weeks after I posted this little man went to Heaven....I'm thankful there is no HIV or pain in Heaven.
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