I am married to the most awesome family.
Cholena is the mortar that keeps us all connected. She is so honest, trustworthy, and
able to help me, 5,000 miles away, with all kinds of things. I appreciate her so very
much. Plus, she has 5 of my grandchildren whom I love and miss.
Adrianne, has been a huge help to her dad with how to deal with medical issues (not
with either of us. We are both healthy and doing fine). We have relied on her expertise
Which leads me to my amazing husband.
Last night Sahr Doe, our landlord and Don's good friend, was in Makeni and coming
home (2 1/2 hours away) when his back tire blew. He was going 160 kilometers per
hour and his car swerved and went over the edge of the road, where there was a 6"
drop which caused his car to roll twice, hit a tree, and landed either on its side or on its
top. There was a man in the car with Brother Doe who walked away unharmed.
However, Brother Doe was injured. I do not know how Brother Doe got out of the car.
I do know that the man that was with him and the local villagers turned the car over. A
private car appeared on the scene and they put Brother Doe in it and he was taken back
to Makeni to the Holy Spirit Catholic Hospital. One of the villagers found Brother Doe's
cell phone and called the last number that was called. It happened to be his wife. They
told her "to come". Then he pocketed the phone and took off with it. Brother Doe
always carries a big black thick briefcase full of money because he is a contractor and
has to pay all his employees and this is a cash-only society. The man that was in the car
grabbed the bag and a villager came by to be "helpful" and tried to take the bag away
from him. He said, "No, he is my friend, I will take the bag to him". Which he did. They
got Brother Doe to the hospital and he was in severe pain. They laid him on a bed and
tried to determine where he was hurt. He could move his arms but cannot move his
hands and has feelings in his lower extremities but cannot move anything below his
waist. Sister Doe arrived at the hospital and stayed all night with him. She called
President and Sister Clawson, who in turn called us. Brother Doe is the first counselor
in the mission presidency. Don worried about Brother Doe all night. At 2:00 a.m. This
morning I woke up to hearing Don texting. I asked what he was doing. We had several
important appointments today and he was cancelling them all and told me "we are
going to Makeni in the morning". When we got to Makeni we had no idea where the
hospital was. We stopped every couple of blocks and asked a pedestrian. Then Mr.
Davis's, Brother Doe's plumber and right-hand man, face appeared at the driver's side
window. He was on his way to the hospital and found us so we followed him. When
we got there, they would only let one person in to see Sahr. One person for just a few
minutes for all day. Don said, "I am his minister, I need to see him." He went in and
then, Don worked his magic and multiple people were able to see him. Don knows
how to get around people who uses their limited power to try and control a situation.
Sister Doe came out to where a group of women, including myself, were and she looked
so very tired. When she saw us, she began to cry and quickly got control. The hospital
is quite clean and the staff adequate but not trained. They all wore rubber knee high
boots, latex gloves, hair nets, and gowns but they had no idea how to work with
someone with a back injury. They did not know how to turn him, move him, or to take
proper care of him. The Doctor put off Sister Doe until after 11:-00 when he finished his
rounds. Which turned out to be good. It gave us a chance to get there, assess the
situation and call Adrianne for guidance. Don was armed to visit with this doctor. He
requested Brother Doe be given a blood thinner to prevent blood clots - the hospital
had none. Don requested an x-Ray/scan be done on brother Doe's back to see what
was broken, they had no x-Ray/scan machine, Don asked for some ice to help prevent
swelling, they had none. Don asked for a pain killer - they had none. When I learned all
this, I said to Don "it sounds to me like the humanitarian couple (that's us) needs to
work with this hospital and get them some medications and equipment". Don agreed.
This hospital referred Brother Doe to the big hospital in downtown Freetown. An
ambulance was arranged for and two ambulance drivers came in all ready to pick
Brother Doe up and put him on their stretcher. Don intervened and would not let them
near Brother Doe then he instructed 6 men on the proper way to move someone with
a back injury (thank you Adrianne). They listened to Don because he was quite firm
with them, plus he was making sense. Then another man arrived and started giving
orders and he was saying the same things Don was saying. Don put his hand on that
man's shoulder and said firmly to the six men "this man is in charge, when he says move
you move. Everyone got it?" Six yeses. They managed to get brother Doe moved and
into the ambulance with minimal added pain. The trip to the Freetown Hospital was
beyond wild. I have never seen more disregard for an ambulance. The ambulance
driver was outstanding. He knew the road and where the potholes and the "traffic
calmers" we call them speed bumps are. When he had to, he got in the oncoming
traffic lane and drove fast and made the oncoming traffic get off the road. The traffic
going in our direction, never moved over they just stayed going at the same slow pace
and the taxi's had the audacity to stop on the road to load and unload passengers with
the ambulance behind them with all the sirens blaring. We were right on the
ambulance bumper all the way. When we got to downtown Freetown, the traffic was
horrific. Still the same disregard for the ambulance. We finally got to the hospital.
When the ambulance was pulled into the hospital underground entrance, they asked
for 15,000 leone just to be there. (15,000 Leon's is $2.50 to us but it is a huge amount
to an African. The people work hard doing construction in the hot heat 10 to 12 hours a
day for $10,000 Leon's which is $1.70 to us). Sister Doe paid it - she had Sahr's big black
bag. It took them at least an half an hour to get him out of the ambulance. When they
did, they took him into this small side room where there were a bunch of people, they
closed the door and left Sister Doe out. Don wasn't going to have that. He asked her if
she wanted to be in there. She said "no". She was so very tired. Don said, "I will go".
He opened the door and went in. Sister Doe looked at me and said "why can't they
stabilize him before they do that - They are killing him." I did not know what they were
doing. When Don came out he was beside himself. What they did was take his
temperature, pulse, blood pressure, and Oxygen level and nothing more. They rolled
Brother Doe to the bottom of the stairwell and six men picked up his gurney. WHAT
were they doing!? They have no elevator. They hauled him up to the 3rd floor, jiggling
him all over the place and when they got him to the bed they dropped him 8 inches.
Don yelled. The damage was done. The bed had no bedding. The family has to supply
everything and I mean everything. Brother Doe had on a neck brace that was too large
for him and it was interfering with his breathing. They would not take it off because he
needed the neck brace. They told Sister Doe to buy him a soft one. Then this stupid
male nurse, who was running the floor, told Sister Doe before they would do anything
for her husband she had to pay 645,000 Leon's (which is about $110) for one week of
care and for 3 meals a day. Sister Doe pulled out the money from her husband's
briefcase and paid him. We have learned the hard way of many of the ways Africans
steal from each other. When I saw him count the money and put it in his pocket, I
whispered to Sister Doe to get a receipt. She asked. He said something to her in Kreo
and she responded in Kreo. Don asked what was said and the man quickly said "she can
get a receipt on Monday from the finance department". Don looked horrified and said
"my wife has a receipt book with her, she will write out a receipt and you can sign it."
He had no choice. I do carry a receipt book with me at all times because as we pay for
things that pertain to our humanitarian calling, we get a receipt for everything. The
money we spend comes from the donations of members of the church. We consider
them sacred and we use them wisely. The hospital is filthy, the man was the only
nurse, the women were aides and sitting and joking and not paying a bit of attention
to any patient. There were 2 wards with 6 men in each Ward. Don forced the nurse to
take care of Brother Doe. He asked where the Doctor was. "He will be here
tomorrow". REALLY! TOMORROW? Can we get a blood thinner for Sahr Doe? "The
Doctor has to order it." Well, call the doctor. "You do that." Frustrated, Don asked for
the Doctor's phone number. He called the doctor and the doctor wanted to know why
he wanted a blood thinner and why Don was asking. Don explained he was not a
medical person but he knew that needed to be done (thank you Adrianne). The Dr.
Agreed and spoke to the nurse and before he ordered it he asked the nurse if he
collected money and how much. The nurse then asked Sister Doe for money to buy
the blood thinner. She paid him. Later, Brother Doe was in severe pain and Don asked
if he could be given some pain killer. Again the nurse said "you call the doctor." Don
did, the Dr. Ordered 40 mg of something. A few minutes later the nurse came to Don
and told him to call the Doctor and ask him if they could give him 60 mg instead of 40.
Don made the call and Don told the nurse "yes you can give 60 mg." Do you see
anything right with this picture? The nurse came to Sister Doe and asked for money to
buy the pain killer. She paid him. The hospital is not at all well kept. Sister Doe was
beside herself with the lack of patient respect, family respect, the filthiest of the place,
the lack of upkeep, the lack of training the women workers exhibited, the stupidity of
the nurse and most important the lack of care for her husband. She and Don and a
good friend of Sahr's met privately and Sahr's friend had done some research and found
that there is another orthopedic/neurosurgeon in Freetown at a hospital called
Standard Charter. They are going there tomorrow to check it out to see if it would be
better for Sahr. They want him out of this hospital ASAP! I came home with Sister Doe
and Don stayed at the hospital a couple more hours before coming home.