6/26/2012 permalink tell a friend
I was part of an especially difficult home visit today. We have known for a while that Rodrigo's health is failing. He's been a diabetic for 7 years and has never had the proper insulin that he needed, forcing him in and out of hospitals frequently. Upon entering his small home today, we were led into a small bedroom where an extremely thin, frail man lay in a bed under 3 blankets. He was surrounded by his wife and other family members, many people were crying quietly.
Rodrigo hasn't eaten in 3 days, and he has been in his bed since Saturday, mostly unconscious. He does not want to return to the hospital. In Guatemala, if someone is admitted to the hospital, they are not ensured access to medicine or adequate care. Visitors are only allowed to be with patients for 1 hour every few days. Being readmitted to the hospital only means that Rodrigo will worry about expenses and be alone. The family is also concerned that if he dies in the hospital, they will have to pay for a specially licensed car to transport the body back to their town which is very expensive. Between the hospital bills and funeral costs, many families go into great debt when a loved one dies. Rodrigo did not want to put his family in this financial turmoil, so he was confident that he didn't want to return to the hospital.
After about 45 minutes of talking with the family, we decided it was time to go. Rodrigo appeared asleep, or unconscious, during our entire visit. We were about to leave when the family called me to quickly come back. Rodrigo had woken up. We returned into the room and the family immediately ushered me to Rodrigo's bedside. Rodrigo slowly stretched his hand out toward me and I held his cold hand in my own. It appeared to take him much effort and time, but he slowly told me that he was worried for his four children. He looked me straight in the eye and said, "Please help my family. They need food. I worry for them." I told him that I would do everything I could to help them. He slowly raised his other hand and painfully told me thank you.
We were able to bring a doctor to his bedside, who says that he would have a chance at survival if he would go to the hospital right away. Rodrigo refuses and his family supports his decision. Deep within they know that he is dying and they cannot afford to have him die in a hospital.
Please consider helping Rodrigo's family during this extremely difficult time. Rodrigo's dying request was to find help and food for his children. It was extremely difficult to see him so frail, weak, and so worried for his children. Please join me in offering food donations or financial help for this struggling family. Thank you.