This all began a few weeks ago when the decision was made that Elder Sidal needed to have his wisdom teeth removed. His x-rays showed 4 impacted wisdom teeth as well as a darkened area on his lower jaw referred to as a “pathology” . It definitely needed to be looked at and removed and/or biopsied. It was decided that Elder Sidal needed to have surgery under general anesthesia to take care of the problems he was having with his wisdom teeth.
As Mission Nurse it is my responsibility to arrange for this surgery. My heart was sick, not to mention my stomach at the thought of Elder Sidal being admitted to the Colonial War Memorial Hospital for treatment. I looked at other options but none of them seemed possible. After much prayer about the matter I came to peace that he would be fine and that he would recover quickly from the surgery without complications.
I continued to feel calm about it and after waiting several weeks for the surgery to be scheduled it was time for his admission to the hospital.
The surgery was to take place Thursday am which required him to be admitted by 10 o’clock am on Wednesday! After getting him checked in and having him sign the pre-op consent, the check in process was completed. Now 11:00am.
Well that was it, now we just wait til Thursday am. As I sat with him and looked around the reality of what I had just gotten us into sunk in. Wow! What a place! Florence Nightingale would have been proud of the nurses although they worked in deplorable circumstances. Starched white dresses, caps and all. My colleagues from Cottonwood and Alta View would have wondered what happened to all our years of training earn magnet status which was indicative of our high quality of care we had recently been recognized for. Not to mention our skill at being patient advocates with the pursuit of “Excellence of Care”. I am sure Sister Bohman would have wondered if I was still jet lagged when she went over the “Safe Hospital List”.
I could not deny the confirmation that I received regarding Elder Sidal’s surgery but the surroundings made me physically and emotionally sick.
As I looked around I realized they did not provide toilet paper, towels, soap, wash cloths, pillow cases or clean sheets,. No water pictures, cups or Kleenex. The only shower was a common shower for everyone to use at the other end of the hall. The Nurses Station was yet another story to be told another time. However the Nurses were clean in their White dresses and nursing caps. I think we got rid of those in the states in the early 70’s.
My final breaking point was when lunch was brought in. It was the worst looking food I had ever seen. Never in all my years of hospital food or my weeks in Fiji had I seen anything so disgusting. I had no choice but to excuse myself and tell Elder Sidal I needed to go make a phone call. I stood outside of the main entrance of the Hospital and the flood gates opened. I cried the better part of the afternoon and through the night.
What had I done? I felt I had betrayed everything I had ever been taught in nursing. If cleanliness was next to godliness why had I allowed myself to bring one of the Lord’s missionaries to this place.
Elder Seare picked up some necessities such as toilet paper, hand wipes a large bottle of water and some snacks. We later brought him back lunch and had a picnic right there on his bed. His sister brought him a home cooked dinner as permitted by the President.
We stopped by later that evening to make sure he was okay then went home to a restless, sleepless night.
I arrived at the Hospital at 8:30am on Thursday morning. Surgery was scheduled for 8:30 am sharp. At 10:30 they came to get him and wheeled him down a long hallway to the surgical “Theater” I waited with him to be wheeled into surgery. After almost 2 hrs the doctor came out to tell me all went very well and he had no complications. 2 hours later he was wheeled back to his room.
When I arrived that morning I asked him how he slept. I found out that he didn’t even lay down because his sheets and pillow gave him the creeps. While he was in surgery I ran back to our flat and found some clean pillow cases and a sheet to cover the one already on the bed.
All went well in spite of my greatest fears. I always had a really good feeling about the Surgeon and his staff. I later found out that the surgeion was from New Zealand. He travels with his entire crew to the different Islands and spends a month at a time doing surgeries. Now that explained the confirmation I received that Elder Sidal would be well cared for and would recover without complications. As I left him sleeping and went home that afternoon I was a peace in my heart that he was in the Lord’s hands and that all would be well.
Elder Sidal is a special missionary and took advantage of the opportunity he had to share the gospel with the other patients in his room. He set up an appointment with one of them to teach the lessons.
The Lord blesses His faithful servants. I believe that Elder Sidal is one of those servants.