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I’ve Seen the Needle and the Damage Done

I've seen the needle and the damage done

I have some bad news for you. Last night my wife came home from shopping as she normally does in the early evening.

She usually takes a little tote-style bag that is made out of fabric with small wheels. She rolled it into the house and put it onto the living room rug. She took off her shoes, moved her bag over and stepped onto the carpet.

I was still in the war room blogging when I heard her screams. I came to see what all the commotion was and she was crying on the floor. She told me that she stepped on something sharp and it stuck into her foot.

Whatever it was, it had obviously stuck to the bottom of her bag as she dragged it over the streets and eventually into our living room.

She gave it to me and as I looked closer I discovered a long metal projectile. I still didn’t have my glasses on and it was hard to make out. So I rubbed my fingers over the tip of it and noticed that it was indeed very sharp.

I asked my daughter to get my glasses and as my eyes started to focus better I noticed that it was hollow inside. Then to my horror I realized that it was the throw away portion of a junky’s needle!

I immediately grabbed my wife and took her to the bathroom and washed the bleeding hole, dabbing it with alcohol. I then rushed her to the hospital.

It was busy that evening and we waited what seemed forever in the lineup. The administration people who were doing the so-called triage were yakking and laughing it up, refusing to get out of first gear.

Finally I got a hold of one of them and told her our case was urgent and required immediate care. She proceeded to tell me to sit down and the next thing I knew the local swat team showed up.

Out of nowhere three big security guys suddenly showed up giving me the evil eye. One of them came over to me and asked me to sit down. I asked him to tell them to get out of first gear and help my wife.

He couldn’t answer me when I asked him if he knew what ”triage” meant, and that there was supposed to be a medically trained person deciding who needs immediate treatment and those who didn’t. Not just everyone waiting for their turn. He didn’t seem to care.

I sat down in disgust and immediately someone else came over and said they could see my wife now. Finally!

They put us through the motions making sure that we had health coverage and then told us to go sit in another line. We sat there forever again.

Finally a guy comes out and I asked him if they did not consider a potential HIV contamination as urgent. He told me no, that it was not considered urgent or life threatening.

I asked him if he would consider a snake bite victim as life threatening or urgent, and he replied yes. So I responded that my wife has possibly been poisoned with a life threatening virus, albeit a little bit slower acting than a snake bite. He didn’t seem impressed.

Eventually a new shift of hospital staff took over, and the guy’s replacement must have thought that we needed immediate care because we were the first he let in. Incidentally, all of the people that were ahead of us were minor sprained ankles and the like.

We wait again for hours until a Dr. finally meanders in. He’s seems nice but he flatly tells us there is nothing much he can do except to give us a hepatitis and tetanus booster.

You see, the hospital supplies for HIV are only for the workers. It is not available for the public. He then tells us there is only one city that controls all of the HIV drugs and that it will be next to impossible for us to get any because it costs too much.

So I responded by saying that what he was really telling us was we should just roll the dice and hope for the best, or die. Whichever comes first. He shook his head and said yes.

Please pray for us.

Written March 28th, 2007 by | 14 Comments | Filed under: Personal stuff

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There are 14 Comments so far to “I’ve Seen the Needle and the Damage Done”

  1. HOLY CRAP! I’m so glad healthcare in Costa Rica is more ‘caring’. Is your wife open to reiki?

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  2. Oh, BB, this sounds awful. What a frightening thing to happen. The hospital wait sounded infuriating and frustrating - and then at the end of it, you leave with only a sense of foreboding. I’m so sorry, my friend.

    Wishing your wife and you a calm heart through this difficult time.

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  3. Sorry to hear the news, fella. You were absolutely right to give the medical guy an earful. Incompetent doesn’t sum it up! Sounds like the kind of experience we get in NHS hospitals over here.

    Hope all is well.

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  4. Are you KIDDING me? I usually just lurk and don’t comment, but I had to on this one.

    Call your doctor. Call every doctor you can think of. I wouldn’t take the ridiculous ER doc’s word as the final answer, as he obviously couldn’t care less.

    Best wishes, good luck, etc.

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  5. My immediate response was, “that sucks” and I’m sorry she is going through it (both of you, for that matter.

    (If it happened to me, the needle part, I mean, I would tell my body what I expect of it. . . ie., not allowing the virus, if present, to take hold.)

    My husband sat and sat in a waiting room having what turned out to be a severe allergic reaction. Desperate, I told him to turn and face the door so the nurses coming out could see him. (pure instinct?) The next nurse that came out did see him and recognized how serious it was without our opening our mouths.

    That was many years ago. I thought hospitals were triaging now, it is the year 2007.

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  6. Thanks everyone. Right now we’re busy on the phone trying to get a hold of the hospital that has the drugs and calling our Dr.’s office trying to motivate someone to get off their ass and do something.

    They refuse to fit us in to see our Dr. because “he’s all booked up until next week”. The good news is our blood test results are now available so I guess we will have to go to the walk in clinic to get the results.

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  7. That’s absolutely horrible! The incident of being an innocent victim and then again at the hospital. My prayers are with your wife and you. Teri

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  8. Hopefully by now your wife is ok! Please post a follow-up story when you have time to let us know how it all worked out. You’re both in my prayers.

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  9. Thanks so much Teri and Kuanyin.

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  10. Unfortuneately, even healthcare workers who are exposed only have a 3 hour window to take any preventive medicines. Sounds like you waited longer than that to see a doctor. Call your doctor and have your wife tested for a Hepatitis Panel and HIV screen. They should test her now and in a few months.

    Best of luck and I hope all turns out well.

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  11. Thanks, we got the Hep B shots and all the blood tests. So far so good and we’re keeping our fingers crossed!

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  12. Wow this is so sad. I hope you and your wife are OK. will be praying for you.

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  13. Thanks bro. We are still waiting for the blood tests. It’s good to have you back commenting too. I was wondering what happened to you.

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  14. What an excellent blog, I’ve added your feed to my RSS reader. :-)

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