Monday, March 31, 2014

Gabriella's Health Crisis, New Church

What a weekend it was.  Friday I went to the clinic to do the interviews, and no doctors were there.  Shocking, I know.  I continue to see a trend here.  The strangest part to me is not that they fault on their word to me about when they can meet, but rather the fact that nothing happens if they don’t show up to the clinic one day.  In the US, or, I believe, in the private sector here, not showing up to work when you are scheduled would result in your termination.  Here, it doesn’t seem to be so.  People often don’t show up on days they are supposed to, or they show up late, and nothing happens.  I don’t understand how that’s possible. 

I came home when I was sure no one was coming.  I did some work on my project, then went and ran over 9 miles.  It was a decent pace, I’d guess around 8:30.  Not bad for an altitude of 11,000 feet.  The first 4.5 miles were on a slight downhill.  What do you think the remaining 4.5 were?  Yea.  So I was tired when I got home.  I am happy that I was able to do that without excessive difficulty.  To add to the quantity of my energy, while I was walking my cool down a taxi-driver asked for me help to push his broken car up the hill by my house to get to a car shop.  What am I going to say, no?  So after running for 9 straight miles, I pushed a car up a hill.  All in a day’s work. 

The afternoon was project stuff, then I had to eat out because Tania was taking care of Gabriella, who was still quite sick at this point.  Her sickness started on Tuesday.  My restaurant of choice was the little pizza joint I’d been to before.  Mmmm, pizza. 

The célula was hard this evening, because wheels fell off my Spanish.  My exhaustion from my run took its toll, and it felt like I had just arrived in Peru again.  I couldn’t understand what was going on and struggled to put together intelligible sentences.  I still got something out of it, but with great difficulty.  We sat around afterwards and talked, but I honestly just wanted to go home and sleep.  I ended up leaving my bible there because I wasn’t thinking at all. 

After this struggle, I was met by another difficult circumstance.  My mom’s cat, Toby, had to be put down on Friday night.  He was in very bad physical shape, and the vet advised that he didn’t have much hope of living longer.  So it had to be done.  I lost my dog just a few months before I left, so my mom is now down to a fish and a rabbit.  Not the same as a cat and a dog.  I have so many good memories with both of them, it is very sad to see them go.  Especially when I’m in a foreign country so I can’t say goodbye. 

As if enough hadn’t happened this night, at around 11 PM Tania informed me that they were rushing Gabriella to the hospital.  She had just begun to vomit blood, which is obviously a serious condition.  It is hard to mourn the loss of my cat, as precious and wonderful as he was, when my family here is having a grave health problem with their 3 year-old daughter.

The next morning we heard a little more info on Gabby.  She was diagnosed with acute kidney failure, with the cause being some viral infection.  At 9 AM she was brought to the regional hospital for an operation.  I don’t know exactly what the surgery was because I didn’t want to probe the family too hard, but it had something to do with the kidneys.

To combat the many stressors, I went for a run and lifted in the gym.  I am always surprised by the successfulness of this practice in reducing stress. 

All afternoon was spent in transcription and translation of interviews, while I continued to receive updates on Gabriella.  The operation didn’t happen until 1 PM because that’s just how things are in the public healthcare system.  They were lucky to have it that soon.  Following the operation, she had to be hooked up to a dialysis machine because of her lacking kidney function.  Three year old children shouldn’t have to go through things like this…  Meghan sent me an article about the condition that Gabby probably has, and it says that the majority of children who get this disease recover fully without further problems.  We can only hope and pray that Gabriella has this experience.  Any prayers you can send her way are greatly appreciated.

As I’m learning from my project, my family is lucky to live within the city of Cuzco.  While the rural populations do technically have access to similar public resources that Gabriella went through, travel is very difficult.  No cars, no cash, no nothing.  If they had to first find a car, then drive 3 to 5 to 10 hours to get into the city, the surgery would have been even later, and Gabby would probably be in even worse shape than she is right now.  I don’t want to think about it, but if she lived far enough from a main healthcare center, there is a good possibility that she would no longer be with us.  Such is the disparity between rural and urban care.

In the evening I went to a different church with my Spanish teacher from this week.  It is smaller than I’m accustomed to, with under 20 young people and 40-50 members total.  But I enjoyed the cute, small-town feel.  Everyone greets everyone else when they arrive.  And there are Americans here!  There were 3 other Americans at the small gathering of youths.  I’m fairly certain that the La Vid has less foreigners than that during their Saturday gatherings, despite the fact that they have well over 1000 people there.  It was a fun night with games, food, and a great teaching.  I also told my teacher about my role as a leader of leaders in the US, and she would like me to help a little with the spiritual development of the youth leaders in this church.  It is good to feel like I actually have something to contribute.  Sunday morning I also went to the church for the main service, which was also inviting and enjoyable. 

In the late afternoon I decided to intentionally run up the mountain I discovered on accident last time.  I, by some crazed desire for pain, did stair repeats.  This set of stairs took about 2 minutes to run up once.  I was not able to do it all at once, because I could barely breathe after the first minute.  Despite the breaks I took halfway up, I know that I’ll benefit from that self-inflicted torture. 


Gabriella was awake today, but that was probably a bad thing.  For her behavior at least.  She’s very accustomed to getting whatever she wants at home, and she is not adjusting well to the patient role at the hospital.  She is always crying and yelling about what she wants, and it gets worse when her parents are in the room with her.  This tactic works well at home, but she’s not going to win in the hospital.  So now Tania and Sandro must wait outside in the waiting room.  Harsh, but consistent with what I’ve heard about the level of compassion possessed by many nurses here.  They are both spending almost the entire day there, but they can’t even see their daughter most of the time.  I feel for them, this is an incredibly tough situation.  I do hope that Gabriella is able to get off the dialysis soon.  She would still have to be in the hospital for ~2 weeks more, but at least everyone could rest a little easier.  Again, prayers for her situation would be appreciated.  

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