Many, many people over the years have asked us what we do/would do in an emergency. I mean, let’s be honest here. Haiti isn’t exactly the infrastructure capital of, well, anywhere. So, what do you do when you have a medical emergency where bandaids and anti-biotic ointment just won’t cut it? We’ve had lots of plans (a.k.a. possible courses of action) depending on the situation. Last night we got put to the test.
We were just getting settled for a night of sleep when there was a sliding thump from the dorm. At first I thought that it might have been Shane on the roof, moving the hammock. (Shane came to us on Saturday from down the beach. He’s from Indiana and came to Haiti to work with someone else and it fell through last minute, so he’s with us for at least a couple weeks. He had been in a tent on the roof, because that’s the only place we had to put him.) It wasn’t Shane on the roof. A few minutes later Danielle, one of our Vision Trippers, yelled up to Chris that she needed help. She had broken her wrist. She wasn’t all crazy and frantic. In fact she was so calm and almost like she hated to impose. Like, “Hey guys… sorry, but I broke my wrist. I really hate to bug you…”
As she was trying to get up on the top bunk in her room her footing gave way and she fell in an awkward way and landed on her wrist. So not the kind of travel story you want to come home with, especially if your injury involves a cast and you were in the third world. Something like falling down a bank while on a killer hike makes a good story. Falling off the bed, does not.
Our plan of action fell into place quickly. Chris started throwing on his shoes. We got her some pain killers, though I’m sure extra strength Tylenol was really not all that helpful. I started making phone calls to friends at Mission of Hope in Titayen, about 45 minutes away. Left several voicemails to let them know Chris was hitting the road. It was only about 9:30 pm, so not too late thankfully. We got her a bag of ice. We got Peter up and ready to go.
As we met in the driveway to get everyone on the road Sara told us Shane had been blessed with the same flu bug that Noah and I and Sara have all had this week. It came on fast and wasn’t pretty.
Peter, Chris and Danielle hit the road. I called the MOH head of security to let him know Chris was coming and to ask if he could keep trying our friends since we had only been able to get voicemail. He also said to call him back if there were problems getting through the gate that late.
About ten minutes after they left Peter called. The car was giving them problems. As he handed the phone over to Chris they had to pull over because going any further would be a very bad idea. I needed to come and bring them the orange truck. Scratch that. Sara needed to drive the orange truck, and I needed to drive the white truck so we could hand off the orange truck, drive the white truck home and leave the Santa Fe where it sat.
Sara and I quickly grabbed our stuff, and our other Vision Trippers hung out in Sara & Peter’s house to watch their kids (Olivia sleeps like a log once she’s down). We piled in the trucks and headed out the driveway. I was in the lead. It took me three tries and several moments of frustration to get up simply because I was looking for a 4 wheel drive shift, and it turns out it’s just a button on the dash. We had more rain yesterday evening so things were loose and wet. Once I figured that out I was up the driveway, but Sara didn’t have as much luck. The road company has done some work, but with all the rain our driveway now has ditches in it. Our workers had filled them with big rocks, but two days of hard rain and it wasn’t an easy climb. Sara made several very good attempts, but couldn’t quite make it. The ditches kept catching the wheels and throwing her off course. One of our guards, and a worker who lives at a house by the driveway came to help us. Sara asked me to give it a try. It was an intense few minutes, but it worked and after starting way at the bottom and getting a good run at it I was able to get up, but just barely. Sara and I quickly swapped vehicles and started driving. I always feel big and powerful when I drive the white truck, and when I drive it I’m always thankful for my truck driving dad who taught me not to be scared of big vehicles.
On the way there Chris called to check in and see where we were. I suggested they take the white truck and borrow a tow strap from our friends and tow the car back. I was informed that would not happen. If it was moving it would only be on the back of a flat bed. Chris thought it was a driveshaft issue or something big like that.
We made good time and dropped the orange truck off with Chris, Peter and Danielle. They kept going and we came back home. Chris called about an hour later with the news that the team of 6 North American medical people at the clinic could do a partial set but it was bad and Danielle needed to go home where they do finish it properly and she had medical coverage. Out of everything Danielle was most annoyed about having to go home. She so did not want to do that. She was pretty much amazing through the whole thing. I got online at mid-night and reserved a flight home for her. By the time they got her home it was after 1 am. We got all her travel stuff squared away and around 2 am Danielle and I hit the hay.
This morning Danielle got on the first flight to Fort Lauderdale and will land at home later this evening where she’ll get taken right to an emergency room so they can finish fixing her up.
Shane is feeling better. I actually saw him up walking around. He may just live.
The Santa Fe wasn’t stripped this morning when Chris dropped one of our workers off to stay with it. After he dropped Danielle at the airport he called the dealership. We still have warranty, until the end of this month. As in, next week. They had their own tow truck and sent it out to get the car and take it back and Chris was home by 8:30 am. He took the rest of our visitors for a hike up a mountain.
And that, folks, is what we do in an emergency.
We’re so grateful for the people that pitched in last night. We’re grateful for the resources that God has given us and put in our path over the years. I can honestly say that three years ago we would have not handled things so well.