Monday, May 2, 2016

When Johnny's Eye Started Bleeding


Yesterday evening, our friend Mark and his daughter were over to watch the big game (Leicester vs. Manchester United, for those of you who appreciate these things).  Gil was trying to get the internet to work, and the kids were horsing around in the projector light.

Johnny had on a pair of plastic sunglasses, and he was pretending to rap the way his brother had in a class assembly last week.  Suddenly, we heard him scream.

Kids get hurt and cry all the time, but in those few moments, we realized quickly that this was not just a whiny cry.  And blood was trickling out of Johnny's eye.  He had jabbed himself with the sunglasses.

Gil and I quickly rushed him to the bathroom.  His eye was bloodshot, and the blood was coming out of the corner.  Seconds later, his eyeball filled with blood.

I snatched my phone and called the emergency number for the medical clinic where we are members.  The doctor asked a few questions and then told us to bring him in.  Mark offered to take our other kids to his house, so we grabbed their toothbrushes and sent them in his car.  I was wearing shorts, which I have never worn out in public in this culture, so in a frenzy I found a wrap and my purse.  Five minutes after the accident, we were out the door.

I held Johnny's head on my lap in the car while Gil frantically tried to push the car through the ever-present traffic.  About 20 minutes into the 45 minute trip, Johnny stopped crying.  I checked his eye, and it had stopped bleeding.  It was bloodshot and red, but the Darth Maul look was gone.

The doctor confirmed that he would be okay.  The accident had burst a blood vessel, and the blood had come out through his tear ducts, making it look a whole lot worse than it actually was.  We have to watch for infection, but he should be fine.

Though I don't think about it too often, I've always had those what if moments thumping around in the back of my consciousness.  Last night, I wondered if one of those moments was actually happening.  Johnny's adoption is not yet finalized.  Which means that he is not on our health insurance.  Which means that he doesn't have a passport, so we would not be able to evacuate him in an emergency.

Though it is improving significantly, high quality healthcare is really limited here.  We are members of a great clinic, which allows us to use their 24-hour emergency number.  This is important because there is no 911, and if you want an ambulance service, you have to pay a hefty monthly fee.  Plus, we've never been convinced that an ambulance can get through Dar's legendary traffic much faster than anyone else.  Anyone who can afford it gets evacuated to Kenya or South Africa in an emergency.

So even with my other children, who are on our insurance and do have passports, I've always wondered what exactly we would do in an emergency.  What if there were only minutes to spare?  What if even medical evacuation wasn't fast enough?

Our kids have always been remarkably healthy, and this was our first semi-emergency for any of them.  In fact, the only other time we've used that emergency number in 12 years was for Gil.  But what if.  There's a family serving in Mongolia--friends of friends--who are dealing with that reality right now with their sweet baby.  It happens.  It could happen to us.

I don't have much choice, do I?  I can fret over all the things I will never be able to control, or I can trust the God who brought me to Tanzania, who gave me these children, and who knows every time a sparrow dies.  I know that he doesn't guarantee that my children will always be healthy and safe.  But he does guarantee his presence and his goodness.

So today, I am thankful.  Thankful that we can afford the best clinic in town, that Johnny will be okay, and that my God is good.  All the time.  Even if the ending hadn't been happy.

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