Saturday was meant to be our last day in America. Our flights to Haiti were scheduled for 8:45 Sunday. We had a long list of things to do: pack, make a Walmart run, wash the dog, call friends, etc.
Around 11:30 we headed to southern Dallas for a family birthday lunch at Ben's grandparents' house. We brought Jefe so everyone could meet him. Ben stepped into the kitchen to begin preparing the hamburgers. While cutting a giant block of cheese, he almost cut off his finger.
I had my back to the kitchen and was sitting with Ben's grandmother. All of a sudden I hear a lot of screaming. Ben's aunt yelled, "Do you need to go to the hospital?". Without a second of delay, Ben said, deadly serious, "Yes."
Somebody wrapped his hand in a towel and somebody else handed me a plastic bag to catch the blood. Ben's uncle Thomas grabbed the car keys, I grabbed my purse, and we raced to the car.
Thomas knew the way to a hospital about five minutes away. Ben was really scared. The white towel wrapped around his left hand was saturated with red, and there was about an inch of blood pooled at the bottom of the bag. Thomas paused and then drove through a red light or two. Ben was telling him to hurry. At one point we were silent and Ben asked to turn on the radio. It was "Penny Lane". Ben started singing, so Thomas and I started singing, too. I thought it was helping to distract him.
We arrived and raced into the ER. I banged on the glass and a blonde nurse took us right back, to a sink area. She unwrapped the towel, rinsed the cut, and then rewrapped it. Then they sent us back into the waiting room to wait.
Ben was in a tremendous amount of pain. The waiting room was packed. I got on the phone with my mom and she called the airline. Then she got my insurance file out and comforted me that this would not, in fact, bankrupt us. I couldn't even remember my deductible- in the States we have a high-deductible plan and I've never even used it in three years. Thank the good Lord that we ponied up the money (which seemed like a waste often) for insurance.
Ok, here's the picture of the cut. It's cleaned so it's not bloody.
|To the bone|
Then we waited for several hours. This part was kind of sweet. I think the grace of God prompted my critical, blaming, controlling side to die temporarily and I felt supernaturally peaceful and loving. This is our first medical emergency together.
If you're not familiar, Care Flite is an ambulance HELICOPTER service. We were horrified. For a finger? She later informed us that they also have ambulances, and that for insurance liability purposes, patients are not allowed to drive in private cars during hospital transfers.
Oh brother. Well, we got a laugh out of that.
|Guns up in the ambulance.|
We arrived at the second hospital and they put Ben in an ER room. His nurse swore a lot and was funny. We explained again about Haiti and how we were trying to have the surgery immediately. I had to make a decision quickly about whether to cancel my flight or not. The nurse paged the surgeon and put Ben in a gown. Lots of waiting. My parents arrived just as OR nurses wheeled Ben up to the pre-op floor.
When we met him, we discovered it was actually Upe ñ as. He said he had done 30,000 finger surgeries. He said he was going to use a fancy new technique involving placing amniotic membranes over the severed tendons. "Um, ok," we said.
A tall, loud Louisiana man was the anesthesia provider, and he gave us a minute to kiss and pray before Ben went in to surgery.
Finally, close to midnight I spoke to the surgeon. All the tendons, arteries, and nerves were severed, but they were all repaired successfully. He will have full usage of the hand back. I then got to go back and see Ben. He was freezing cold and the two post-op nurses were covering him in warm blankets. They were very excited because he had held down a cracker. They said he could go home that night.
His pain meds would need to begin in four hours, the middle of the night. Where to find a 24-hour pharmacy? My dad drove to six different pharmacies before finding one. He filled Ben's pain med prescription. Mom drove Ben and I home. We arrived at 1 am. Ben went right to sleep. I frantically packed and was in bed by 2:00. My alarm went off at 5:30.
I flew all day and God proved so merciful. 15 hours of travel with two bags, a puppy, and a third world airport went as smoothly as possible.
Ben sees the surgeon again Wednesday and will fly back to Haiti Thursday.