It has been a month since H’s motorcycle-taxi collided head-on with a car speeding in the opposite direction down the same dirt road. Four weeks since the curious crowd surged around him poking at his limp body while TQ and J tried desperately to fend them off, call for help, get him to the hospital.

He arrived, shaking in shock, to iganga hospital; his head, unbandaged for at least an hour, leaving a dark pool on the uncovered vinyl mattress. Everything was a struggle. Our staff ran to pharmacies for the necessary medications, pleaded with nurses to bandage his wounds, negotiated ambulance prices to transport him to kampala.

Faced with the decision of best vs affordable care, we erred on the side of stabilizing H – an amazing man injured in the process of volunteering for Uganda Village Project. Even with our best of intentions, private hospitals will only treat you as long as you can pay. And we couldn’t. so H was moved to the national hospital. A hospital, in theory at least, that is free.

But free doesn’t count for ICU or meds or CT scans. And so bills mounted…even now, in the general ward, they continue to mount.

I saw H last week. The general ward overflowing, there are extra beds on each row, pushed against walls in the hallway. People with obvious trauma, others with who-knows- what…malaria, cancer, TB? Mosquito nets hang knotted above beeping machines and family members huddle over their loved ones, administering medications, reading Bibles or Korans softly, staring blankly into the crowded isolation that is the ward.

Semi conscious, H is breathing on his own and can apparently sit up with some assistance. But I don’t know how much recognition he has. I don’t know if there is pain. If this is the begging of better or as better as he gets. I searched out a doctor, to no avail, and in a doctor’s absence pleaded with a nurse to find out how he was doing. She shuffled through his tattered file.

“fever last night.”

That was all there was…no indication of how it was treated, if it had receded by morning. No indication of the CT scan he should have had. Only, “fever last night.”

We wait, because waiting is all we can do. His family keeps watchful vigil over him, washing his face with a cool cloth, adjusting his body so he seems more comfortable. And they wait. They wait because waiting is all we can do.

3 Comments on an accident revisted

  1. Shannon says:

    I hope H healing has progressed since last month, and will certainly keep him in my prayers. Thank you for being so willing to share your private concerns with the world via this blog.

  2. Felisa says:

    How did H’s recovery go? Any updates? Thanks for sharing.

    • linnea says:

      H is recovering much better than we anticipated. he is lucid and can communicate with folks. even more exciting, he recognizes people. a friend went to visit and recounted a story of someone sending him a card with 10,000 shillings in it. he nicked the money and then passed it off to someone else urging her to bring him back chapattis. that always makes me smile. he still can’t use his legs and is in some pain, but him carrying on conversations is amazing under the circumstances.

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