This blog post has a two-fold purpose. First, it's to share with you some of the exciting events that have occurred over the last few days. Second, it's to show you the great need for a new hospital in Mango.
Last Thursday, Anna felt that she was coming down with malaria. So she started some malaria drugs and rested at home. By Friday night she was very sick. Vomiting, high fever, increased heart rate, general nastiness. Emily and I decided that desperate times called for desperate measures, which meant an excursion to the Mango "hospital" on Friday night.
I had never been to the Mango hospital and from the very outset, one gets the feeling that this place is pretty sketchy. The only way to find the "road" into the hospital is to follow a dark and creepy path, past some rusty old gates that make you feel like you are entering an old asylum. This is no exaggeration, my friends.
And so we helped Anna into the hospital. We sat in "triage" which actually means a creepy little office where she layed on black plastic mattress while someone seemingly qualified took her temperature. (But you have to bring your own thermometer...thankfully Emily knew that!)
After they concluded that she was indeed sick and dehydrated, we helped her into a private room. We were so thankful for that room. The other room is a ward room and it was already full.
Emily and I aren't the strongest in French, so when we were signing her in, Emily pronounced a few letters wrong in Anna's name. Nothing major. But from now on she'll be known as Ana Chebb.
(Her real name is Anna Chubb.)
The medical staff gave Emily and I a list of meds that Anna needed and we walked outside the hospital, around the side to a "drive through" window where you purchase your meds. Once we had filled the order, we went back into the hospital and gave the meds to the staff. The medical staff very competently put the IV into Anna's hand and left us to sit with her.
And here she is. Poor Anna. She was very ill.
You can see that Anna knew enough to bring her own pillow and sheets. Otherwise she'd be lying on a cracked black plastic mattress.
And here's her IV pole, ready to go with all the necessary meds to help her get better. By the way, Anna gave me permission, in fact she encouraged me to post pics of her in this state. She wants you to know that building this new hospital is important.
And here's Anna and Emily. The whole night was somewhat funny, except for Anna being sick. There were no chairs in the room so Emily and I just stood there. We kept asking Anna to move over in bed, but she refused. She's not very good at sharing.
And so we sat on her bed (she finally relented). And waited. And sat and waited. The IV continued to drip and I began to notice what this hospital really had to offer.
Here's the bottom of Anna's IV pole. It could use a little scrub.
And here's the door to the creepy bathroom...(I didn't even want to open it but Emily is braver than me.)
And here's inside the creepy bathroom...
And if you want to have a shower, you can enjoy it with a few little friends in the bottom.
This is the shower head and tap. You can kinda see an old wash cloth hanging there. It's complimentary.
I don't know how you turn the shower on with this little tap contraption.
Once Anna was settled in her room and ready to fall asleep, Em and I sat on very hard and uneven wooden bench in the hall way pictured below. We sat there til about 3:00 am. And not once did we see a single solitary hospital staff person. We heard and saw sick people. But no staff. We did however, see a lot of bats flying up and down this hallway. The hospital is kind of "open air", with lizards and bugs and bats free to roam the hall ways.
At around 3:30, Em and I went home and left Anna there. We truly didn't want to but we just couldn't stay any longer. Her IV was going well and she was resting comfortably.
Anna finished up about 10 in the morning and Emily took her home, but she had to return Saturday afternoon for round two of IV fluids. She got there around 4 pm and I showed up around 6 pm. This time we were better prepared!!
We brought chairs, snacks, blankets, a fan, toilet paper, water, and my real camera, rather than just the camera on my phone. I even brought the game Uno. But we kept the lights off because then the bugs and bats wouldn't enter our room.
So here's Anna on day two. Her colour is much better and the IV was dripping faster. I brought her a burger and some chips and she had an appetite to eat it. This second evening in the hospital was much more jovial.
I made the mistake of looking under the bed. Thankfully, there was a broom in the corner and we decided I should sweep to see what was there.
It was pretty old and pretty nasty. Bandages, papers, wrappers, a yogurt cup....
Here are the three of us. All for one and one for all.
(Okay, that's not exactly true. A bat flew into the room and as dedicated and loyal friends that Em and I are, we dashed out of the room, heads covered, and left poor Anna there. She was trying to drag her heavy IV pole and follow us. I went back for her (kind of) but just told her to cover her head and get out of there. Finally the bat exited the room and we kept the door closed from then on.)
By 11 pm, the IV was finished and we were ready to roll. Now...to find a staff person to remove the IV. After a few minutes we located a woman sleeping under a mosquito net in another room. She woke up, removed the IV, and sent us home. What did this cost Anna? Well, all the meds came to about $13.00 US and the actual stay in the hospital which I'm assuming includes the staff wages was 600 francs. That's about a dollar and twenty cents. No wonder this place could use some improvement!
What doesn't kill us makes us stronger.