We had just climbed into bed around midnight. We heard the gate open, and listened quietly to evaluate what would happen next.
They had used the female version of the word, and Stephen turned to me,”That’s you.”
A girl of about fifteen had been vomiting for over an hour; it had now turned into a dry heave about every three to ten seconds. They asked us to take her to the hospital.
We asked a few questions to evaluate the situation, but agreed she couldn’t continue like this for long. We asked if the motorbike was okay or they’d prefer a car; and which hospital. They chose the motorbike and to Mae Tao, a local hospital serving Burmese migrants and illegals.
I climbed onto the motorbike and they helped her on. She grabbed me, fell against my back and laid her head on my shoulder. And then the Karen translator joined us, too, ushering her to scoot forward. By the time we pulled away I was pushed to the very front of the seat, and with my helmet on couldn’t even see the speedometer. My arms were pushing against the handlebars to hold her up, which left my biceps shaking by the time we arrived.
And we left, on the longest motorbike ride ever.
It was only across town, but before we left our street I was praying we’d make it, particularly with only one of us throwing up.
Her dry heaves continued, but now she was pressed against me. Every few seconds I could feel her stomach pull in and her chest thrust out. Her mouth was so very near to my ear, as she groaned and heaved, spitting every few minutes.
Such a long ride, I can’t even tell you.
Once we arrived, we went into the inpatient area where there were a few doctors awake. They didn’t ask her name, nor did we fill out paperwork. They sat her down and observed her, asking a few questions here and there. It was shortly after we arrived that another patient admitted previously sat up and began vomiting, just a few feet from us.
Between the two of them, it was just so much vomiting.
I tried to focus on the language: an opportunity to learn right, even at 1am? But really, I just wanted to go home and sleep so badly. I wanted to get away from the vomiting.
They gave her some medicine to calm her stomach and had her re-hydrate with ORS. Within an hour or so, she had stopped heaving and they sent her home to rest. She nearly fell asleep leaned against me on the way home.
I was putting together dinner last night when I heard my name called more urgently than usual. There was a distinct tone difference, so I dropped what I was holding and ran to the door.
There were two ten-year-old girls carrying a seven-year-old boy between them. And he was bloody. His right foot was covered in blood and dripping into a significant pool on the tile; his left foot and right hand had enough blood to scare me.
So much blood.
I tried to determine what happened and learned he had stepped on a nail. And after stopping the blood, giving him some paracetamol to dull the pain, and cleaning him up I could see the blood only came from one wound. I suppose it was just a challenge for the girls to get him over here and he managed to get blood all over himself and our porch.
I didn’t pass out, which I was proud of. And I know tetanus is running through all of your heads: we’re working on that. We actually have someone who will be funding tetanus shots for all the kids, we just need to arrange it. Due to the three-shot series they’ll need, we’ll have to wait until we get back from furlough. We’re just hoping they don’t step on too many nails or get too many dog bites before then.
This might be hopeful, though. About an hour after we finished the previously mentioned dinner, there was more banging on the door. This time a little girl had stepped on a rock. There was certainly less blood, which I’m thankful for, but still blood all the same. Still a sliced foot that will be very hard to keep covered and clean to prevent infection.
We’re now considering shoes for next years’ Christmas gift.