Day 17, Lazarus…

The torrent of emergencies at the hospital continues…  I guess that’s what happens at hospitals, eh?

But I’m talking about ‘Code Blue’s,’ which are emergencies that require a special response from everyone in the hospital.  See Day 15 for a brief explanation of the Code Blue emergency call.  

This morning I was sitting in the infirmary, enjoying one of my single greatest pleasures in life:  A hot cup of Starbuck’s coffee.  Heidi and I have gone to great lengths to transport bags of whole bean Starbucks Coffee down here to Honduras.  And the coffee grinder that we received on our wedding day (20 years ago), we brought that down as well.  Finally, we complete the process with a French press, thus creating the richest, most deliciously piping hot cup of Joe that the North Coast of Honduras has ever seen.  Sigh…  Oh man, that’s good.  I love embracing the stereotype of the Coffee Snob from the Pacific Northwest…  *(thanks to all of you who have helped get this coffee down to us!!!)

Anyway, as I was sitting there, I overheard the nurses talking about someone who needed a higher amount of oxygen.  This is not reassuring information.  The nurses hustled off for a minute, then returned asking for my help.  I hight-tailed it into room 5 where sweet Geronimo was slumped in his bed, barely breathing.

Geronimo (not his real name) is an 85 y/o Garifuna man, and the father of one of our beloved workers at the hospital.  I know him fairly well because I had hospitalized him previously in the past for a urinary tract infection.  Like his son, he has a wide, white toothed smile that just draws you in.  Huge hands that swallow up mine, in the friendliest handshake;  and a deep gregarious laugh.  You just can’t not love him.  I remember last time, he was urgent to get out of the hospital, so I kept teasing him that he had a pressing Fútbol game.

I quickly called a “Code Blue,” and our team of docs and nurses converged on room 5.  He stopped breathing, and we couldn’t find a pulse, so we started chest compressions and bag-and-mask breathing intervention.  We got IV’s, labs, and X-rays as we rapidly ran through reasons for his impending death.  When you are 85 years old, and you have CPR performed on you, the odds of recovering are probably less than 1/2 a percent.

But suddenly, we had a good pulse.  And then after a bit, he started breathing some on his own, and then in a bit more, he started breathing a fair amount more on his own.  And still more time passed, and his eyes rolled open.  Finally, we pulled the plastic airway piece out of his mouth, that had been keeping things open.  He continued to do well.

At this point, one by one, we doctors were able to peel off and return to our other business.  We left Liz, our trustiest nurse, to keep an eye on Geronimo, wondering if we would have to return any minute to resuscitate him again.

About 45 minutes later, Liz texted me to let me know that Geronimo was sitting up in his bed, asking for Fried Chicken, and wanted to know when he could he go home.

Dios Obra Aqui!  I am so glad that I still get to see Geronimo’s infectious smile!

Photos of the day:

Missionary boys having a water fight.  It’s so weird how they go straight for the groin…

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All right, see ya tomorrow.  17 down.

2 thoughts on “Day 17, Lazarus…

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