Friday, September 28, 2012

Our Big Hospital Adventure

We live FAR away from a hospital. This is something that keeps me on my toes. It dictates certain aspects of our lives - like not playing extreme sports, that's something people near hospitals can do, not us. One of my worst nightmares is having to rush out in the middle of the night to make the very long trip to the hospital, especially if I'm going there because something is wrong with my son. Two hours to get to a hospital, when you are scared for your child's life, seems like eternity.

Our week started out like any other week

 with a very productive Monday -

Lots of work with Probability in Math Class

 Vocabulary and Spelling 
with games instead of worksheets =
much more fun.

We started using the very effective method
of covering fingertips in aloe vera goo to stop nail-biting. 
It is really doing the trick. Soooo bitter.

Lu finished his book on Ancient Egypt.

We learned lattice multiplication.

I'd never learned it. It's great!
And Lu loves how much easier it is than the old way -
much clearer, and less mixing up carried numbers.

Why didn't they teach me this in school????

Then he sat down to his research report on Hawks...

and that's when the headache started.

So I thought we would take a little break
by throwing a blanket down on the floor,
closing our eyes, 
and listening to some Chopin.
And call it Music Appreciation Class.

After 20 minutes, the piece ended,
and I opened my eyes to find a very asleep Lu next to me,
which was strange because he's not a napper.

When he finally woke up, he wanted to go straight to bed.
The headache was bad. He didn't even want to eat.

On Tuesday morning he didn't want to get out of bed.
The headache got stronger and stronger.

I started thinking about meningitis.
We're hours away from the nearest emergency room,
so things like meningitis and appendicitis 
make me especially jumpy.

I looked at the meningitis checklist,
called a doctor friend to see what he thought.
He said it would be best to go.

I packed a bag, 
Cha called us a driver - cars are obsolete around here
because everything is so close, so we don't have one.
But there are lots of local drivers with cars
who can get us where we need to go - 
a pricey, but not impossibly, service.

We left our house at 3pm
and arrived at the hospital at 5pm.

I'm not going to go into too much detail about 
the conditions in Guatemalan public hospitals.

I'll just say that we were in one big room 
with a dozen other children, 
many of whom were screaming in pain, 
and there were blood stains on the sheet 
covering Lu's hospital bed.

I really don't like being in hospitals.

We were there for a total of 10 hours.

There was no chair for me to sit on.

By 11:30pm we knew it was not meningitis.
The headaches were being caused by sinusitis.
He was okay.

But we still couldn't go home,
because being on a Guatemalan highway
at midnight, is not where you want to be.

I squeezed into the hospital bed with Lu a few times,
my butt hanging off the side,
and even got a bit of sleep.

We waited until 3am to leave, 
and were home by 5am. Wednesday.
Lu spent the rest of the day in bed.

By Thursday (yesterday) morning,
the antibiotics kicked in and Lu was able to 
participate in his Youth Group's special activity
for the mothers.

The kids danced and recited poems for us,

and then we all played games together -
mothers and children,
it was lovely.

Today is Friday and I still feel dazed
from our big hospital adventure.

But I am grateful, so so grateful, that this was the first time in his almost decade of life, that I have ever had to take Lu to a hospital. Having to rush off to an emergency room 2 hours away when accidents happen is one of my biggest fears, as well as one of the biggest downsides of living where we live. We do all we can to keep healthy with natural medicine and preventative measures - safety, healthy diet, good hygiene... We also try to avoid antibiotics as much as we can. But when you really do need a doctor and an antibiotic, it's so good to have them. 

Happy weekend!

We'll be taking it real easy.


  1. Uf. Me alegro de que fuera sólo una sinusitis. Salvo por el tiempo entre la casa y el hospital, los servicios de urgencias en Madrid también funcionan regular. Hay tanta gente que el mínimo en ellos suele ser de 2 horas y de ahí para arriba. Y hablamos de hospitales grandes.

    1beso para Lu.

    1. ¡Gracias María! Sí que fue un susto.

  2. Oh man, when you started describing headaches and sleepiness, I'm all "OMG, meningitis!!". So happy that it's not :-) And thanks for sharing a bit of what it's like to live somewhere different. Our hospital is 10 minutes down the road - something we take for granted (until now!).

  3. Wow! I'm so glad he's OK and starting to feel better.

  4. On my goodness! I am so sorry you had to go through that but so grateful that your boy is well. Whew! Hugs to you Mama!

  5. Thanks ladies!
    It was a good reminder to celebrate our health :)