Weekend in Santo Domingo

My days are running together and I can’t remember what I have blogged and what I have just posted on Facebook!  Friday, we went to see the neurosurgeon and he showed me the MRI results.  The mass is not solid and has pockets in the area that makes him agree with the radiologist that it could very well be TB.  I would much prefer it to be Tuberculosis because it is much easier to cure than cancer!  There is a beginning and an end to TB.  Cancer is a maybe type of cure.  Dr. Lozada wanted us to see a pediatrician and have a work up done on Frantina, so he sent us to the Emergency Room in his hospital.  They have an ER just for children! 

IMG_0799The doctor had an IV started, not quite sure why, drew blood, and ordered an Chest Xray.  Frantina was not happy when they were poking her and taking her places, but the rest of the time she did very well!  We spent about 4 hours there and then they released her because we had to go back to CEDIMAT Clinic to have an echocardiogram and EKG run on her and the pediatric cardiologist worked her in between her other appointments.  Everyone has been SO NICE! 

On Saturday morning at 8 AM, we met the pediatric neurosurgeon with all of our test results.  He really didn’t examine Frantina.  We were meeting him before his 9 AM surgery at the city hospital called CECANOT/Morgan Hospital.  CECANOT’s neurosurgery department has the most up to date equipment and facility in Santo Domingo, is what I was told.  But this hospital is for the poorest of the poor.  It is not in a very nice area and we were told not to come and go from the hospital after dark, but it should be safe during daylight hours!  Disappointed smile

Dr. Lozada wanted to send us here to help save some money, makes me wonder how it will be if we have to spend the nights with Frantina while she is in the hospital.  Maybe we will find out more on Tuesday when we return to see Dr. Sanchez, the pediatric neurosurgeon. 

We were very thankful that Joshua Wesson, a missionary in Santo Domingo and college friend of Pastor Brandon’s, went with us to see Dr. Sanchez. He has been planting churches in the Dominican for 12 years and is fairly fluent in Spanish.  It was a huge help having him there to help me.  Dr. Sanchez speaks some English and we were able to talk, but there were some details that he couldn’t communicate to us without Joshua’s help.  Isn’t it great how God put people to help us close when we need them? We had several offers of help with translations and we thank everyone who sent us information.  We may have to use others because Joshua is busy with his church sometimes and will not be able to help us all of the time.

Dr. Sanchez thinks this mass pushing against Frantina’s spinal cord is tuberculosis just like Dr. Lozada thought!  He wants Frantina to see the pediatrician at CECANOT on Tuesday afternoon and get started on antibiotics and possibly TB meds.  Everyone we’ve seen so far here has expressed the opinion that Frantina should have been put on TB meds even if her chest Xray was negative after a positive skin test.  This is not the protocol in Haiti, but we may need to rethink what we do for GLA kids.  Frantina’s case may be 1:10,000, but I don’t even like those odds, so medication started early to prevent something like this from happening to other children may be what we need to do.

Dr. Sanchez says that Frantina will have to have her C7 vertebrae rebuilt because the TB has destroyed the bone.  He says he will probably put metal in her spine to stabilize the bones. He said the first thing we have to do is get her on antibiotics, because she does have an infection.

He sent us back to CEDIMAT which is the new hospital where we had the MRI done on Thursday.  Dr. Sanchez wants her to have a CT Scan done of the same area.  We spent several hours trying to get the CT Scan scheduled, paid for, etc.  I have to say again, “Thank you, Apple apps for my Spanish/English translator app” I don’t know what I would do without it.  I have used it everywhere I go and most people love it!  When I use it in a store, the person always goes and gets someone to show it to them and they laugh, but then help me get what I need!  So it must be working! Winking smile

While at the hospital waiting to check about the CT Scan, we met a woman who spoke Creole.  She said she worked with a company where she deals with Haiti businesses and employees.  So she translated for me for a while.  Then Dr. Delgado who helped us on Thursday passed by and he was the radiologist who we needed to schedule her scan!  He happened to be there on Saturday and said that they could not do the scan until Tuesday at 7 AM.  Monday is a holiday, so nothing can be done until Tuesday.

The pediatrician we saw on Friday, ordered a series of sputum collections for TB testing for Frantina.  They expected us to have her spit into some cups!  I told them that this is IMPOSSIBLE, she’s a baby!  Then they said to go get a baby suction bulb and get mucous out of her mouth.  I told them that TB isn’t in the mouth, it’s in the mucous that is in the lungs, deep, and I needed a suction catheter to get it and didn’t they have that?  They then said that I needed to get a pediatrician to get it then.  I left frustrated and a little irritable by the time I left!  Of course, this was all done in sign language, IPhone translator, and some Creole thrown in there too!  I have got to find an easy Spanish language book before I go mad from frustration!  Confused smile

IMG_0817Frantina ate at her first McDonald’s on Saturday for lunch and walked around her second mall in the afternoon!  She ate McNuggets and did really well.  She loves the French fries too!  They have fried chicken at McDonald’s in the DR.  Vivianne was glad to get some fried chicken.  Now if we could find out where to buy rice and beans, we would all be happy!  We cannot find rice and beans anywhere around us!  Any suggestions from people who have been here before???

Today, we went to the Colonial Zone and saw where Columbus’ son lived and the old Fort in that area.  We ate supper at the Hard Rock Café.  I think I might be in American food overload! 

I think we will rent an apartment for our time here in Santo Domingo.  We can rent an apartment for 2 months for what 2 weeks in the hotel would cost us!  This way, we can cook and save money from not eating out, have laundry facilities, and be more settled and have more room.  We are supposed to meet someone on Tuesday to look at an apartment close to the hotel where we are staying.  It is a safe area and very central to all of the clinics and hospitals where we are having to go.  Pray that this will work out since the doctor said we may have to keep Frantina here for 6 to 8 weeks.

Oh, our stroller purchase has been a life saver!  Frantina loves it and is so quiet when we are walking around or sitting for appointments.  I think her back hurts when we hold her and this stroller reclines and it causes less stress on her back.  She has been the best baby and even Patrick is amazed by how good she has been! Winking smile

The old Colonial Zone has buildings restored that were built in 1497 and finished in 1504 restored and open to tourists!  The architecture is amazing.  Bands were playing everywhere in the different plazas.  Kids were playing baseball in the wide open plaza areas but stopped whenever anyone walked by.  They were very respectful to others walking in the plaza. 

I took a photo of some paintings that they were selling on the street.  They were exactly like some I bought in Haiti and I thought you could find them only in Haiti!  Guess I was wrong!  Sad smile  Vivianne said that there are old beautiful buildings in Haiti that people would like to see if only they could be fixed up.  I told her that maybe under President Martelly, tourists will come….

3 comments (Add your own)

1. Graciela Procopio wrote:
Dear Dixie I'm Graciela from Argentina.I speak Spanish and English in case I can help.I hope Frantina and all the other little ones get well soon.

Mon, January 30, 2012 @ 8:46 AM

2. Kim Crickmay wrote:
Hey Dixie, I am hopeful and pray that this little one has TB and not cancer also. I will also pray that rebuilding of the C7 vertebrae will be done well and healing will be swift. You all have a lot of patience in DR, eh? Oh my... My prayers for you also. :) Kim Crickmay

Mon, January 30, 2012 @ 8:46 PM

3. ELiane Gauvreau wrote:
Thank you Dixie for thé update on Frantina. Thank you also for your patience and thé huge work it represents to deal with all This in à strange language. I havé à lot of admiration for you. Sending proyers to you and Frantina and also for thé doctors who words with Frantina without knowing hier language. Will stay tuned for more updates wehnelt you havé Time,

Thu, February 2, 2012 @ 9:12 PM

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