Thursday September 8, about noon, Martin and Steve were working in Getsamani Church. “I was about to go up the ladder to put on one last conduit strap and the wiring would have been complete,” said Steve. “When trying to climb the ladder I managed to step wrong and twisted my right knee. It hurt real bad, in fact the pain was so bad I almost passed out.” Martin and pastor Reynaldo helped him off the ladder and got him home.
Nurse Tonyia immediately put ice on it and gave him some Tylenol. She didn’t see it swelling so she thought he strained it. “I could not put any weight on my knee, walking normally was impossible.” Martin had to preach in Dieciocho that night and he found a friend there who loaned us some crutches.
When Tonyia talked with Martin they decided Steve needed to see a doctor, maybe for an x-ray. Tonyia, Martin and Steve went to the emergency room at the local hospital. The ER is normally very busy, but not this time. It was around 8:30 pm when we arrived at the ER.
It is very different than in the US. There are guards standing at the door. If you are not a patient or an immediate relative, you do not enter the hospital. The guards brought a wheel chair to the car and Martin assisted Steve inside. After parking the car, Tonyia came in as the triage nurses took some basic information about Steve.
“Because I’m a nurse I was interested in how their medical process worked,” said Tonyia. “There were two triage nurses dressed in starch white blouses and pants. They had their white nurse caps on too. I recall the days I also had to wear white and a starched cap. In the US, this tradition stopped after I graduated from LVN school – over twenty years ago.”
“The triage area was a small room attached to the waiting room, the door was left open. In fact Steve was sitting in the wheelchair in the waiting room. There was no privacy. Every question asked was open to the rest of the people in the waiting room. I assume no there is no HIPPA here,” she added.
One of the nurses took Steve’s blood pressure and temperature and asked a few questions about what happened. He was not examined and he was not asked what medications he was taking or his history.
Once the triage process was complete, they handed Steve a small blue square piece of paper and we were told to wait in the waiting room. We thought it was going to be a long wait. A board stands in the waiting room showing square pieces of paper with different colors representing varying emergency situations. His minor emergency blue color meant an expected wait time of four hours. (Actually the color of his paper wasn’t on the board.)
It was maybe two minutes later when they called Steve’s name. Martin, Tonyia and Steve were allowed to enter a room where the doctor was sitting at a desk. He was a somewhat older gentleman and seemed knowledgeable.
Martin explained his role as the translator and told him what happened. The doctor saw no swelling, and he believed it was just strained. The doctor, as the nurses, never examined Steve and never asked for a medical history or to know what meds he was taking.
The doctor finally decided it would be good to get an x-ray. Tonyia was not allowed to follow. It turned out the x-ray technician was gone until Monday.
“They wheeled me down a hall to the nurses station where they had a shot ready,” said Steve. “I told them no way are you going to give me a shot and I told them about my heart attack three years ago. I told them the Lord had brought me here as a missionary and that Jesus was the best physician.”
They did not give me the shot. The doctor smiled broadly and said, “I’m a Christian too.” He told the nurses “no charge.” Within 10-15 minutes Steve and Martin rejoined Tonyia and we were ready to go.
Tonyia was shocked I was back so soon and she asked, “Did you already get an x-ray? What did the doctor say?” No, the x-ray tech was gone. “I had to laugh. In the US you would have multiple x-ray techs. Here I guess there is only one.”
The doctor told Steve to keep his leg elevated and rest it for 2 weeks. He did recommend a small amount of exercise twice daily. He said if he was not better in 2 weeks we were to return and he would order and MRI.
Each day Steve is slowly getting better. We know that when you are working for Jesus, satan will attack. We will not quit proclaiming the love of Jesus! We will literally stand strong for Jesus! We claim totally healing and restoration in Steve’s body in the name of Jesus! We give God all the glory and praise!!
“And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.” (Colossians 3:17)