Today we took Jose back to the hospital in David so that the doctors could take X-rays of his foot, and determine what the next step would be. He was told to be at the hospital before 7:00 am. We arrived at 6:45. Marlene and Dani came with us. Dani wanted to look for a new pair of sandals for Yesi if we had time. On the way down Marlene asked if Dani could stay with Jose while she went to the nearby Women’s hospital to verify her admission next week for a hysterectomy. (She has been suffering for over 6 months with large, watermelon size tumors/cysts, and finally the doctors have found time and space for he to have them removed.) We got them all situated at the hospital, then went off to run errands. Jose had to hang around until 11:00 for his appointment with his doctor after the X-rays had been taken and read.
We ran a few errands then settled at McDonalds to waste some time. At 11:00 I called Dani’s cell phone to find out that the doctor had not yet arrived, but they had taken the X-rays and Marlene had walked to the hospital ( next door) only to be asked to come back after 11:00 am. The hospital where Jose stayed, and where he was being treated is a mad house! There are thousands of people running around, back to back, in lines, waiting on this or that. It really is crazy and disorganized to the North American eye. I told her I would call back in 30 minutes and we headed to the Mall, a U.S. knock-off that is little used, but close to the hospital. We window-shopped and moseyed until 11:40 when I called again. They were still waiting on the doctor. We ordered a pizza and sat at an outside table talking and eating. While we were waiting for the pizza a 50-60 year old man came up to me – me the very white gringa – and asked me for directions to the placed to get his drivers license renewed. Too funny! There were all kinds of Panamanians around, but he picked me! I did happen to know because I had been there recently to pay LYNN’S SPEEDING TICKET! So I directed him to the right place, he said thanks and went on his way. Lynn was behind me just laughing.
We returned to the hospital at 1:00 just in time to see them headed to the second floor. The doctor wanted to remove one of the screws from Jose’s leg. It would involve a small surgery, but would not take long. Visiting hours are from 1:00 to 2:00 daily. There were literally thousands of people in and out during the hour. We sat in the lobby people-watching. This is a favorite past time of Lynn’s, and I love to watch him watch! The people here are all very poor. This is the public hospital. If they have any money they go to one of the private hospitals who charge quite a bit more, but who treat you 100 times faster. Some little girls were playing near us. Lynn started flirting with them a little and they began to get roudy. One of the moms fussed at the little girl and she was sad for a bit. It was all Lynn’s fault – well, partly anyway, so I fussed at him.
As we were waiting we heard a child scream, and then again, and then several screams. We jumped up to see what was going on (it was very near us). A man was lying in the floor. He was using a walker and had fallen. I remember the other two times we have brought Jose down for exams or to get his cast put on, we could not find a wheelchair anywhere so he was forced to walk, though he was unstable, and weak. This guy was evidently weak as well. But this guy had huge metal pins running the length of his right leg. There were pins running through the entirety of his thigh and his calf. As he lay on the floor in agony I could see that the pins had all twisted in the fall. The leg was broken again in at least two places with twist breaks. The screams were a few little girls passing by who saw his face and heard his groans. It took several minutes for anyone besides the security guard to come and help him. When they did get him on a gurney they headed up in the elevator. He was crying by then. He, evidently has just gotten out of the hospital a few days before, and was now returning with new fractures.
About 30 minutes after Jose and gang had gone up, Marlene came back down. She said the doctor had gone off to find a screwdriver. Not joking. He couldn’t find a screwdriver to take the screw out of Jose’s leg. He said it would take a while to find one so she was returning to the other hospital. 20 minutes later she returned with the news that she was all set. She would be first on the docket next Thursday, and she has to be at the hospital by 7:00 Wednesday morning. She is nervous, but glad to be finally seeing the hope of relief from her pain.
An hour later the threesome comes back down to the lobby, where I actually had fallen asleep. It is very hot in David! Jose was in a lot of pain. He had a script for medicine, so we headed for the Mall again and the pharmacy for his pain meds. Before we left the hospital he told me that the doctor had given me instructions to take out his stitches in 10 days. It struck me as odd, but I had been changing his bandages and fussing at him to keep the leg elevated and such since he broke the leg, so he just told the doctor I could do it, and the doctor said “great!, have her take them out in 10 days.” So, I will. We picked up the medicines and stopped in Bugaba for Dani to find some sandals quickly then headed back up to the cool. It was 4:00 when we left the heat of below for the coolness of home.
Another note on Jose and Marlene – she has been in poor health since last November when the pressure of the cysts/tumors caused infection and partial kidney failure. When we returned in April she was just getting out of the house again. Jose had been working as a farm hand, but shortly after we arrived he developed a fungus in his left foot and toe. After a couple of weeks without going to the doctor he showed me the foot and we headed to the local clinic. It was very ugly. I went to his house every day to clean and medicate it for three weeks, and it began to heal, but slowly. It took over two months for him to be able to put a shoe on and another month to be able to work. As he was about recovered he came down with a bad virus that laid him up an additional 2 weeks. He had just healed from that and begun to work again when he broke his leg in two places, requiring a week in the hospital and surgery with plates and pins. They have really been put through the ringer! They have told us repeatedly that they don’t know how they could have survived had we not been here to help them out. We have been paying their medical bills and providing food, as he has not been able to work, for most of the 5 months we have been here. She is a new Christian, and we have talked a lot about Satan’s desire to pull them away from God. They have only become stronger in their faith. Jose wants to be baptized as soon as his foot can get wet. We are hoping the healing will allow him to be baptized before we have to head back to the States. Now they are faced with Marlene’s surgery next week, and 6 weeks of recovery. Please pray that all will go well, and that they both will heal rapidly. The financial support we have given them has rarely been asked for. These are not leaches looking for an easy buck. They are good, humble, gracious folks in a bad situation.