Some of you in-country people probably already know about this. It is supposedly all the talk on the streets. Anyway, Saturday there was a big accident in the town of Titayen which is about an hour from us and 20 minutes outside of Port. There were two vehicles involved, one a bigger-sized truck/taptap carrying 35+ people and the other a semi. The story is that the semi honked its horn to tell the other truck to get out of the way, but not in order to give the other truck enough time to move. So they collided. And everyone (at least 35 people) died except one person.
Guess where the only survivor lives? Right down our road - maybe like a 5 minute walk away from where I sit right now. I guess the family moved to Port last spring to find work; they come to the Archaie market every Saturday and go back and sell the stuff in Port. That's what she was doing when it happened, traveling to the market.
Yesterday, one of the family members came here and asked if I could go to their house and do the bandages because the injured person - a 26yr old, five months pregnant lady named Sinyola - cannot walk to come here.
I went expecting the worst but I guess I hadn't imagined it bad enough - it was really bad. Where to start? There are severe scrapes (like road burn) covering both knees, the side of one thigh, on one arm (elbow, forearm, and above the elbow), on the side of her face and a little one on her temple and nose. The major ones are on the knees and arm and face (see photos below). That is all pretty managable, I feel that I can do bandages and get those scrapes healed up in no time.
The scrapes weren't the issue, but what is going on underneath the surface. I spent the better part of today trying to figure out what to do with her. She has swelling in her face and thighs. She is in severe pain. She told me she couldn't walk. Oh yeah and did I mention that she's pregnant? But don't get too sad because there is good news to come!
But there is one part of the story that must be told. After the accident (she doesn't remember the actual accident or how long after it was until ...) she got up and took her bleeding self to a hospital back in PAP. (Keep in mind, this involved post-accident walking.) She said she remembers taking the tap-tap to the hospital. (She went to General Hospital, the one where Mme. Bozor died. I can't say anything nice about it so I won't say anything at all.) But the hospital didn't do anything about all the road-burn/scrapes. Although, they did sew up her lip (which is now infected). And supposedly she had x-ray's done. But not on her arm or legs. On her stomach and on her face. I asked her to show me the x-ray's but they said the hospital kept them. They said there is nothing broken in her face or stomach. I still don't really know why they x-ray'd her stomach but when I think about it I just try to laugh or else I will cry at the insanity of it all. I know I should think positively about the fact that her lip got sewn up and she was able to call her family to come and get her and obviously, that she is even alive at all, but I just can't believe that they did nothing for the wounds below (which explains why they looked like they did).
The good news is: I saw a huge change from last night to today. She seemed to be more coherent, and told me she got up to go to the bathroom, so she actually can walk. The swelling in her face was better than yesterday and after only one day of having been cleaned and bandaged, there is a significant difference in all of her wounds. The hospital didn't give her any medicine 'because she is pregnant' so I brought acetaminophen to try and help ease her pain. I know the below pictures look bad and the story sounds horrible but I am so encouraged by the change that I saw in just 24 short hours. The swelling will eventually go down & nothing is broken or else she wouldn't be able to stand, let alone walk. I am encouraging her to practice moving her leg and arm; she is holding them very stiffly right now but actually does have full range of motion in all joints.
I am still concerned about a few other things but for the most part, I view this as a big kiss from God because I was so worried about her last night and thinking that she'd probably need to go to a hospital that is about 5 hours away from here. There are still threats, I am not unrealistically optomistic, but I am just going to allow myself the rest of the evening to be happy and know that for the most part, she is okay.
These first two are of her right leg which is the worst of all the wounds. These were all taken last night before any cleaning had been done. Hopefully tomorrow I will take updated photo's because they are looking so much better already. Also, the above left photo would make you think that it is pretty deep but it really isn't, just a big layer of pusy infected gum that had to be cleaned off. And the picture on the right is just the side view.
This is the other knee. She has better mobility in this one and can bend this knee with ease. She is going to practice moving the other one. She can move it, it's just that she doesn't especially want to. But she's been getting up to go to the bathroom so we know that nothing is broken or seriously seriously injured. My feeling is that she is just really banged up and sore but given time, will heal. I don't know very much, but I've been discussing this all day with Sharon and the improvement I saw from last night and today is so encouraging and that is what my hope/thoughts are based upon.
Also, before cleaning. Looking a lot better already, but very painful. Road burn goes all the way up her arm.
The left photo is from last night, this is the main scrape on her face. The other is just to show how swollen her face is. It all looks very owie, but again, I think/hope that with time, prayers, and some serious medical TLC she will get better. Please share your thoughts and ideas for the healing process. I know I might have missed a few important facts, but Sharon and I really did discuss it a lot today and made sure we asked all of the pressing, important questions.
So...this little girl needs to head to bed. I am sorry to be soooo long-winded but this story isn't one that you can really cut out the details. I am hoping and praying that nothing new comes tomorrow. But again, when and if I am overwhelmed, I have no problem sending people on.
Thank you so much for the significant change in Sinyola's situation. Thank you for answering prayers and giving us all some needed hope and encouragement. I pray that you continue to help me as I try to complete the tasks set before me and that you would continue to help every one of my patients heal and stay infection-free.
And a special big thanks for blessing me with such capable and encouraging friends, especially Sharon who spent her day off writing back and forth with me while we exchanged ideas. I am so thankful for her and the handful of others who are always there whenever I am medically-stumped (which is a lot). I pray that you would bless their work/ministries and them for taking the time out of their busy schedules to help me. Thank you again for your encouragement and very apparent love for me and others around me.