Monday, January 7, 2008

How I Made it Home for Christmas-ish...(part 2)

So...after we got back to the orphanage, we started discussing our/my options. I was quite sure that I had a tendon issue, yet was not totally sure, and thus was not very keen on the idea of flying home only to discover it was nothing. My travel insurance people could not yet confirm they would cover things, and I kept coming back to the issue of the airfare. One thing that also kept nagging me though was that the risk of infction in Haiti is quite high, as you are competing even against the water!! Then a couple emails came and some people at home told me not to be so silly as to worry about the airfare, and to get my butt on the next possible flight!!! This is also what I was gently but seriously being advised to do by those discussing things with me in Haiti.

We went to bed late, after deciding that we would pack things as if we were flying out the next day,and if we found out at the UN there was nothing significant, maybe that would change. So, after a short, itchy, sleepless night, we got up at 5:30a.m. and finished getting ready to go. I had quite the fast organizing job to do, as Kristy's delayed luggage and all its treasures were still all over my room, and as I knew I may not be around for the kids Christmas, I had to get my end of that organized. Nuts! Thankfully Christmas(as the kids liked to call Kristy) was around to help!

Then I headed up to shower. And cried the whole time. It was kinda not so fun...haven't cried like that for a long time. The thought of leaving Haiti really hurt.

I managed to get everything organized as best as I could, and it was time to go. I had to get Melinda to tell the kids what was happening, as I was too emotional. They were all really quiet and serious, and I could see many of the older kids thinking "I thought Lori said I was going to be leaving before her...". It was so weird saying goodbye and knowing that I would be coming back to a different house as at least 6 kids will be leaving before I return. I know that reality was a large source of my tears...not that I'm not happy for them, but I love them a lot and will miss their beautiful mischevious faces. After lots of hugs and re-hugs, we headed out the door.

We arrived at the UN hospital in Port, and proceeded to learn through my friend Cedieu who translated from Spanish to Creole to Melinda who made sure that I knew exactly was being said, that no, they could not see me. They asked us to get out of the truck, and back in the truck, and we waited. Kristy noted how funny all the translating was...and it was quite the sight I'm sure!!

Finally, a somewhat English speaking guy came back and said they would see me. So, off we went to this very interesting building made of a maze of panel boxes and other materials I had never seen before. It was quite neat to be in this totally temporary, sanitary modular hospital...and know that they treat some pretty intense injuries there.

This is somewhat what it looked like.

So, they took me into an examination room, where I was introduced to a Haitian interpreter who spoke English, French, Creole and Spanish completly fluently! Amazing! Some form of nursey type doctor of sorts who had a very sour expression came in and asked what had happened. After she got the story, second hand of course, she proceeded to poke and prod and bend and straighten my thumb. It hurt. She didn't notice. Or maybe didn't care. Either way it started to bleed again, and then she was a bit gentler. Humph!!

Then she called in another gal, who proceeded to follow in her colleagues painful footsteps, all the while vehemently discussing the situation with the first kind gently nursy type doctor. I was amazed at how much I understood, and knew that they were skeptical as the wound by this time looked a lot more superficial. Over the next 1 1/2 hours, I saw 4 more nursy type docs, who all hummed and hawed and poked and prodded, but seemed to come to no conclusion. At one point, they were even mixing up the flexor and extensor tendon anatomy, and then I jumped in and tried to help them out. They just looked at me and then continued speaking 3000 miles an hour in Spanish so I had no chance of understanding...I know that's what they did!

Anyway, they finally decided they could do nothing because they too were unsure if the tendon was cut, and were unable to do more than stitch it if I wanted, as I was not UN personnel. But they said they could refer me to a well-respected French hospital, which you cannot go to without a referral. We sat and waited for the referral, only to have the interpreter come back and tell us they had decided they could not even do that as I was not part of the UN. So, we had just spent almost 2 hours hoping for some direction, only to be exactly where we were before. I didn't get it stitched.

At this point the reality of needing to go home became more of a reality, and we decided to try my travel insurance company again and let then know the walls we were facing as far as getting the info they needed to cover any of the expenses. The was nice and told me to just fax the medical note from the first doctor. Just fax it. Obviously she's never been to Haiti. I had never seen a fax in Haiti, and Melinda didn't even know where to find one. But thankfully we know people, and our adoptions guy, Mathieu came through and saved the day. We managed to find this little random place that als sold hot-dogs, and for about $4.50 and 1/2hr of wait time, the fax went through. By this point we had called and gotten Kisty's mom to change our flights...she managed to get us on the 5:15 flight that night, together. Amazing. Totally a God thing.

We were checked in by 3:30 and had some wait time, so Kristy perused the gift shops for things she had missed the chance to get(and for which I will be shopping for when I get back) as her time was cut short by 4 days, and I got on the phone with the travel insurance guys...again. I have to admit that they are very nice, and the reality is that their hands are tied without documentation. Anyway, I told them that they had told me to do whatever was medically necessary, and I had tried to pursue a variety of things to get them some paperwork, but I had decided it was necessary to fly home. He was surprised a bit, but just said he hoped I got home safely and got things looked into.

And the rest of the story will be in the next installment.