Friday, June 24

Right Place, Right Time kinda Day

You cannot truly understand the healthcare system of a country until you have to use it.  (posted with permission).  Hi-C and I left placement a few hours early today since all of our clients and our supervisor had already checked out.  Getting home early I tiptoed past Auntie* since she was napping in her chair.  After 15 minutes, I was crouched in the bathroom scrubbing my gitch when we started hearing snoring.  The snoring soon became snorted moans coming from Auntie.  I tried to wake her: nothing.  Hi-C rubbed her sternum: nada.  Uh oh.

Long story short, she was unconscious but, thankfully, breathing.  That is when it hit me:  at home I would immediately call 911.  There is no 911 here.  You have to call an ambulance company, of which we knew none.  So we called her daughters who rushed home.  In between attempting to wake her, checking her blood sugar (she is diabetic), and shining a light in her eyes (pupils reactive! woot!) her daughter called an ambulance.  No answer.  That is right:  NO ANSWER!  She called her doctor who agreed to come.  Still no answer from the ambulance.  Eventually about a half hour has now passed since realizing she was unconscious and daughter N sends me in a taxi to the hospital down the road to find an ambulance.  I had to FIND AND AMBULANCE. 

I asked at the desk about some medical transport and was sent to another desk - where I was promptly told to wait my turn.  I was finally told that the hospital did not, in fact, have ambulances but they could give me a number to call one: just give them five minutes to call and find out the number.  I got fed up waiting and decided to approach the drivers of the ambulance I had seen sitting at the entrance.  Success!

Then there was the issue of payment.  No ride without 5500 shillings (about $60) - in cash.  Fine.  Not exorbitant but we are talking about 5500 shillings in a place where a significant portion of the population makes less than 10 000 shillings a month.  Thankfully this family could make it happen.  So off we went to the house.

I lost track of time but it was over 1.5 hours from time of discovery to hospital entrance and the hospital is a 15 minute walk away (ie. a 3-5 min drive sans sirens). 

Moral of the story: if you plan on having a heart attack, don't come to Kenya.

Auntie is home now and doing just fine. 

*The mom in the house we are staying who cooks the most awesomest Indian food.

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