Friday, 14 February 2014

What a day!

Well. That was horrifying.

Rewind one hour- I had just driven out of the church parking lot headed onto the main road when I heard a loud car horn honking frantically. I saw a van coming at a high speed so I stopped- and he started waving his hands. I realized he obviously had no brakes and he was careening toward a bar with about 20 people outside and/or walking on the road next to it.

One man realized only too late that he was directly in the line of fire and he was hit. Hard.
Hard enough that I watched him fly about 10 feet. I almost vomited... but my "deal with this crisis" mode kicked in and I got out of the car and ran across the street. Amazingly, I have been reading these books a woman from my church in the U.S. sent me on how to deal with any medical emergency when there's no doctor around. Providence.

I found about 30 people crowded around him and everyone was just shouting. He was clearly drunk- and probably didn't feel as much as he would have sober which was good for him because his calf was snapped in two. Two. I saw where the bone was and his foot and ankle were no longer attached to his body by anything but skin. He also had severe cuts and dents in the back of his head and was bleeding at an alarming rate. I watch all these medical shows but real blood, actually flowing, is a frightening colour.

Everyone was shouting and of course- this was Chitulika village so they were speaking Bemba and I was panicking- so I said, multiple times, he needs to go to the hospital- he is badly hurt- he needs to go to the hospital... but no one was listening. Hospital is the same in English and Bemba so they probably thought I was just commenting. Finally I shouted, really loudly, "I AM TAKING HIM TO THE HOSPITAL". The crazy screaming white lady got peoples attention. They got the hint because I was wagging my car keys around and pointing at my car across the road.

The driver of the vehicle who hit him grabbed my arm and said "Get the car." He was the only person who spoke English. Providence. I ran and got the car, calling Sydney to meet us at the hospital. I got my chitenge and put it on the man's head trying to explain to put pressure on the wound but he was wasted drunk and not understanding a thing. 5 men tried to get him in the car on top of my tray of eggs and bottles of water, so I had to rearrange things and help them gently put him in the car. Blood everywhere. His wife and mother both came shouting and screaming and pushing into the car, pushing the man out of the way so they could ride too. I couldn't even tell them to stop jolting his body around it was a lost cause. I made the driver come with us (thanks to Sydney who warned me not to leave the scene without him) and off we went. We pulled into the hospital, but they then decided they wanted to go to the police station. I argued the best I could... but to no avail. We LEFT the hospital with a badly injured man and went to the police station to file a report, while this guy bled out in the back seat of my car.

20 minutes later... we went to the hospital. It took another 10 minutes for someone to find him a wheelchair. Finally Sydney went in and got the chair, and wheeled the guy in, while his wife tried to support his dangling foot.  A nurse was waiting for us (watching everyone struggle to get him inside) and came out reprimanding us saying with an attitude "The person you've chosen to support his leg is just... ugh" as if she was disgusted by our medical skills. It took everything in my power not to ask why she, who is a medical practitioner, stood and watched instead of doing her JOB.

Anyway, we left him there- he was being stitched up then sent into surgery for his leg. It wasn't til we were leaving that I felt like throwing up or crying, or both.... it was also at that point I thought about disease, the car has his blood in it, I had checked his wounds bare handed and Sydney actually carried him at the hospital.

Lessons learned:
I never ever want to have to be treated for a major injury here. It will be part of my prayers daily.
You never know when someone is going to be in need- act. It could save a life.
Life... is so fragile. This man was drinking his day away celebrating Friday not realizing those wasted breaths could have been his last.
I NEED to learn BEMBA. All I could think about while we drove to the hospital was how I wanted to witness to these people and I couldn't. I can only pray my actions spoke of Christ's love. I saw where is wife came from, their house faces the church. so no doubt they know who we are... maybe they will stop in when they've had time to think.

What a day.

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