Faith the size of a mustard seed can move a mountain. But, moving mountains does take time. That is what we are learning.
This morning´s update from the hospital: After helping Jose and Rosa get dressed and ready, the team was at the hospital by 8:35. When the trauma doctor starting seeing patients (9:35), they were indeed first in line. But, after a brief conversation, they were told tomorrow to get the first prelim test. After pushing and getting the head nurse who helped us yesterday, they finally agreed to do the test and give us firm appointments for the remaining tests Monday. They also told them that there was one additional xray that needed to be obtained from a private clinic.
Once making contact with Jeremiah, we decided it was time to talk to the Executive Director at Vozandes, the private hospital we started at. Jeremiah left Miguel enough money for their lodging, meals, taxis, and the private clinic. But we assumed that Miguel et al would just go home after lunch, since it had been such a long morning. Turns out they got the xrays today, so no more public hospital visits until Monday! (If at all...) The clinic tried to make Miguel wait for 2 hours for the results, but he insisted immediate service. And won.
So once Jeremiah and I met up, we spent some time preparing what we were going to say, we decided that although we all still raising enough to cover the home ect and surgery (like I explained, this morning we announced that we still need $1500 even if the surgery is at the public hospital), we were going to tell this man that we had raised $2000 for the surgery. Our plea was to therefore get him to have the hospital cover the rest ($2000 on them, $1000 on social workers, $2000 on us, making a total of $5000). As we entered the hospital, it felt like we were going to war. We saw the social worker who wouldn´t even say hello back to us. We went straight to the executive office, where I earlier met the Medical Director.
··yesterday, we announced a need for $1500. Today, that might have changed to $2000. Still, today we raised an additional $840!!! Thank you all donors!!! We are almost at the $3000 mark and are only $660 to $1160 away!!!··
We told the receptionist that we needed to see the Executive Director. She asked why, and Jeremiah explained the story, in perhaps the most eloquent way yet. She told us that if the social worker and Medical Director said that they couldn´t help, then they couldn´t help. Jeremiah said (in Spanish), ¨I believe otherwise. I believe the Executive Director has the power to change this decision. He is a pastor, yes? And this is a Christian hospital, yes? There are verses from the book of Jeremiah all over your website, your walls, and my name is Jeremiah and believe we came here first because we thought you would be able to help when public system hasnt been able to. Please let us see the Executive Director.¨She looked pretty emotional and told us that if we had a seat, she would ensure that we spoke with him.
35 minutes later (light speed compared to other progress so far!), the Director, came by. I was in the bathroom! When I got back, I thought I was going to have to break down the door to be a part of the conversation, but everyone helped me to his office, no problem.
Before I got there, Jeremiah began to explain ours and Jose and Rosa´s story. He also explained that a friend of Jeremiah's brother that is associated with the organization that helps fund the hospital on an international level and recommended we come there. He explained that we were offered a $1000 discount but that we didnt have the remaining 4k and told him what had all happened at other hospitals since we left.
Once I came in, I had to listen for a bit, to gage how it was going. The director was more compassionate than the medical director, explaining that Vozandes does indeed give about 1 million dollars worth of medical care to the poor every year. I told him that that statistic is exactly why we came, hoping they would help. I thanked him for all that they do for the poor, and asked him to consider adding Jose and Rosa to the list of lives they have changed. I told him that we both understood, and have seen suffering, world wide. But still, we believe that God, the Universe, put Jose and Rosa in our lives for us to help them. Jeremiah explained that if they didn´t get help before they leave, they never will. He agreed. I told him that when we met Jose and Rosa, we took a step in faith. We have friends and family that are walking with us, but still, we NEED someone HERE to answer our prayers, our cry for help. After listening, he finally told us that he wanted to help, but needed to talk to a committee to see if they had the money... and that he would let us know tomorrow their decision. As he was getting up, I told him there was something else on my heart to share.
I told him about the conversation I had on Monday with the Medical Director. I tried to be as diplomatic as possible, and admitted that I don´t know that man´s own story or why he responded that way. But I told him that as a hospital that seems to base itself on biblical principles, and scripture from the book of Jeremiah, I hope that mine and Jeremiah´s emotional attachment would help our case tomorrow, and not hurt it. He seemed to be very receptive, also saying that the Med. Dir. is not a bad man, but that yes, I was right. We shook hands and left his office.
After taking a short 20 minute break on the sidewalk, to regroup in the shade, we headed home. After a few steps, we heard someone calling Jeremiah´s name. We looked up, and it was the Director from the window of the 3rd floor, motioning us to come back. We took each other´s hands and braced ourselves, as we went back to his office. He told us to get in the elevator with us and come down to social work. On the way, he explained that Ecuador has a law that covers $2500 in medical car for victims of car accidents. As Jose was only stitched up the first time, he most likely did not use all of that coverage up. He took us into the social workers office and she clearly was surprised to see us, and this time with our new friend.
He had her explain exactly what we need to obtain to prove that Jose has indeed not received those funds. If we can do that, and provide the additional money that we said we had, they will do the surgery, and soon! Ideally, we will track down the receipt from someone, Jacinto, a distant relative, who knows. But if nothing else, if we can just get the name of the hospital that Jose went to 10 months ago, the hospital would call and get all the information they need.
So, Miguel is currently calling every number we have in Tabuga, trying to get the information. Turns out Jacinto has been calling from Cabinas this whole time, as he doesn´t have a cellphone. If we can´t get the name of the hospital tonight, Miguel is taking the overnight bus back to Pedernales to find Jacinto.
The director told us that if somehow the first hospital ¨spent all of that money,¨then he will work with us to find another way.
Potential Outcomes, we think, are:
1. name of hospital tonight, Jose admitted tomorrow
2. name of hospital tomorrow, Jose admitted tomorrow or Friday
3. no name of hospital or records, but still the director will get the hospital to cover at least $2000.
4. no name of hospital or records, we stick with the public hospital and keep trying to expedite as many steps as possible.
Either way, between Jeremiah and Miguel´s success this morning and afternoon, and our conversation with the director, we feel the mountains finally being jolted, and about ready to start moving.
¨Es una situacion muy dificile, pero no es imposible¨ --Miguel
(It´s a very difficult situation, but not impossible.)
Let´s prove Miguel right!
PS as I finished the post, Don Eduardo, Tabuga´s tienda owner and icon, called with the name of the hospital. Jeremiah called the director and he said they would get the information they need first thing tomorrow morning. Here come the plate tectonics. We hope.