When it rains, it pours here. Both literally and figuratively. While most of America is digging their cars out of snow, Honduras is in the middle of it’s rainy season. The yearly rainy season brings strong rain storms almost every afternoon and sometimes we do not see the sun for days. The rain and freezing cold temperatures of 70 degrees in the evenings tends to keep people in their houses. There are multiple rivers in the nearby towns that become difficult to cross due to flooding which results in fewer clinic patients and fewer patients coming into the emergency room after clinic hours. December and January have been fairly calm but when it rains, it pours!
After two very calm weeks over Christmas, everyone decided to come to the hospital on New Year’s Day. I was just about to head out the door to church when our new Honduran nurse, Melissa, frantically called me over the radio. “I need your help NOW!” with no other explanation. I jumped onto my cuatri moto (four wheeler) and sped down to the hospital. Our one stable admitted patient had turned into two toddlers who were severely burned in a house fire, multiple other emergency room patients who all desperately needed attention, a hemorrhaging postpartum lady, and the police and social workers wanting info about patients all at the same time.
It was a very busy day trying to stabilize the burned toddlers from the house fire. The extensive burns to 2 year old “Jose’s” face caused great concern that the swelling would cut off his airway. As I moved the toddlers from the emergency room into the pediatric room in the hospital enfermeria (in-patient unit), the doctors gathered all the necessary medications and equipment to be able to quickly put little Jose on a ventilator should the need arise. Thankfully the need never arose.
August through the beginning of October has proven to be the busy season for babies, sometimes delivering up to three babies a day. The last few months or so we have gone 3-4 days without delivering a baby. But seems like when there is one, there are multiple.
A frantic call came over the radio one Saturday evening from my roommate Lizzie who was on shift at the hospital. “We have first-time mom who has come in fully dilated with breech baby.” Breech babies automatically mean that the expectant mother will have a c-section. As I run through the hospital in my shorts and flip flops, I find Lizzie and one of the Honduran nurses frantically running around like their tails are on fire. “This is our third baby in less than an hour!” they exclaimed.
I quickly grab a stretcher and prepare her for surgery before wheeling her into the operating room. It was a whirlwind of activity as we call for Rosanne to do anesthesia, try to find suction containers and lids that match, and prepare the sterile field. Minutes later, Dr Alexander hands me a screaming baby girl! Praise God for healthy baby girls and moms in less than an hour and a half. Pretty impressive for a little mission hospital, I must say!