Saturday, August 27, 2011

What price do you put on a friend's life?

Well it’s been some time since I have updated on my life here. It continues to be crazy but good!  So at the funeral of my friend Ronald, another friend Abbey fell and cracked some ribs and damaged his spleen. He sat in a clinic in the slums of Kisenyi for several days internally bleeding. He of course was not answering my phone calls wondering if he had wanted to hang out (I did not know that he was in the clinic). Finally on Monday a mutual friend picked my call and informed me that Abbey was impending surgery the following day. The next day I went to the clinic and spoke to the doctor of his condition. He recommended that I take him for a second ultrasound before we make any decisions. So we piled into a car and spent a long afternoon waiting for him to be taken back. (You see here in Uganda if you give a small bribe things move along quicker for you.) I however am not willing to play the game. That evening we went back to the clinic and showed the results to the doctor. He said that Abbey needed surgery asap. We asked that he be admitted to the hospital that evening and the doctor would not agree. He kept repeating let him spend the night here. We began calling surgeons all over Kampala and hospitals to make sure there was a bed. It was decided that he would have surgery the following day or the day after. (Don’t forget this man is internally bleeding.) I was sent home with all the ultrasound pics ready to go to the hospital the following day. Late that night I got a phone call from the clinic doctor saying that Abbey was admitted to the hospital and the surgeon needed to see all the ultrasounds. I rushed them immediately to the hospital. When I arrived it was already decided that Abbey would be having surgery that night-it was an emergency. NO DUH!! I wish that you could all see the hospital, and it was apparently a nice one. Abbey was going into shock and they were letting him fall asleep on the bed. Then they told him to call his family to have someone be there when he awakes. I went home and prayed like I had never prayed before. I was not able to sleep a wink until the surgeon and doctor called me and verified that Abbey made it through the surgery.
Going into the hospital that week to visit was always an adventure. Some days there was blood all over the floor, other days there was a man with 2 broken arms trying to escape, and there was always people crying and screaming for help.  One evening when Abbey was in a lot of pain his family called and asked me to come in. Upon arrival I discovered that there was only 1 nurse on the entire ward and no doctors. What was the purpose of being in the hospital?!
Abbey is now doing well. They were able to repair his spleen and not remove it. He had his stitches removed and is able to eat more and more every day. I keep being asked how I spent the money or be  careful and don’t get too involved. Is $375 too much to save a great friend’s life?! I don’t think I would be able to live with myself today had I thought about another day or had him try harder to find the money. What would you do?
Did I mention that I was in the Uganda newspaper today?! Picture and all! The entire article may be false or should I say the truth was stretched. 

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