Inpatient Jeanne

No, not impatient Jeanne. But inpatient Jeanne.

The Peipon/Kotiash connection had another encounter with hospital care in Kyiv.

This time Jeanne had spent an entire night throwing up any contents not connected to her body…from her big toe on up. It was rather pitiful to watch when there was nothing that we could do to help her. And a little disturbing as the dry heaves wouldn’t let up. And from time to time…well, you don’t really want to know all the details. Suffice it to say that she was really sick.

Of course, this happened on the eve of their flight back to America. Our friend Doug was due to pick them up at 6 a.m. and much packing still needed to be done. Stretched out on her bed with a white plastic bowl close at hand, she directed me regarding what needed to get into suitcases. They were taking things back for others as well as trying to fit in as many of their books and pictures, Ukrainian food items, and gifts as the weight allowance permitted.

Probably close to 1 a.m. it became very apparent that Jeanne would not be on a transatlantic flight in just a few hours. Who would want to sit anywhere near her? But do you really call your ride at 2 or 3 to say NOT to come at 6? Kolya kept hanging on to the possibility that just maybe she’d recover in time to fly. He had to get back to work in the States. So Doug arrived, poured a steaming mug of coffee and drove Jim and Kolya to the airport. No one at the airlines answered the phone and Kolya wanted to do everything he could to prevent having to repurchase tickets. Can’t blame him!

Aeroflot was gracious and suggested that they get a letter from a physician stating that she was too sick to fly and possibly the main office would waive the ‘change’ fee. Worth a shot. Jeanne, meanwhile, was building a love/hate relationship with porcelain and plastic.

Jim held a conference years ago where he met a physician who is now the director of a local hospital. A couple of phone calls and she had an appointment to receive IV fluids. Dehydration was the danger, and certainly not good for a developing baby. Our language tutor offered to drive us to the hospital — can’t imagine public transport when so sick — and she stayed with us to be certain that we were understanding everything that was going on.

Upon arrival at the hospital, two hours late due to traffic, the head doctor was waiting for us. We were all ushered into the inner sanctum of his office and he listened to Jeanne explain her situation. He made a quick phone call and we were escorted up and down stairs, through an underground passageway, and eventually to a very pleasant hospital room with two beds.

Semi-private room hospital bed

Jim and Kolya were given the list of items that needed to be purchased at the drugstore downstairs — six bottles of IV fluid and miscellaneous other items. The doctor in charge of Jeanne didn’t want to wait for the fluids and so she immediately started her on an IV. (When Jim and Kolya arrived with their purchases, she just reimbursed herself with the supplies.)

List of supplies needed for Jeanne's stay

Not wanting to get into every detail of her care, I’ll just highlight some moments. First of all, the only liquid that appealed to Jeanne was Sprite. This was nixed by Kolya, our tutor and the staff. Water was recommended. Jim purchased some oral rehydration fluid (like pedialyte) and added that to the water. Not so tasty, but Jeanne obediently drank small quantities on a regular schedule. (And when no one was looking, I would pour her a little glass of Sprite. What’s a mom for??!!)

At one point, a nurse came into the room carrying two glass jars. Looked like pickle jars. And she was carrying them with her fingers on the inside. When she put them down I realized that these were for urine samples. I thought to myself, are you kidding? How do you know what germs might already be present on the jar? Jim smiled and reassured me that if they were doing the urinalysis immediately it wouldn’t really make any difference. Hmmm.

Jars to collect urine samples

Then came the realization that Jeanne would be staying overnight. Even trying to draw on the ‘my dad is a doctor’ card, she was going to have to stay. Needless to say she didn’t want to stay by herself. So she asked Kolya to consider staying. Not likely that they would let him stay in the OB/GYN section. If they said no to him, she asked if I would stay. What’s a mom for? Jeanne’s doctor reluctantly called the head doctor, knowing that he would not go for a man or a mom staying with the patient. Her face showed the surprise before she hung up and she said that Kolya could stay. Heh. He scurried back to the flat (an hour each way) to get a few supplies for an overnight stay — including some food, drink and his laptop. Smart guy.

IV therapy

The following day Jeanne was scheduled for an EKG, an ultrasound of her gall bladder and kidneys, and, finally, an ultrasound of the baby. All was well. She would be free to leave the hospital as soon as they had one more doctor’s signature on the paperwork. But he was in surgery. If she were not released that afternoon, she would be stuck at the hospital all weekend. Prayers and a tenacious aide finally caught up with the doctor in between surgeries. She was finally discharged at 5:00.

When we looked at the diagnosis, we were caught a bit off guard. We thought she was there to prevent dehydration…the initial tests put her at the beginning stages of dehydration. But she would not be able to be released from the hospital for several days if that were to be the diagnosis. So her forms showed that she was there for chronic gall bladder disease. Whatever. Reminds me of the forms in the states — if you want the insurance company to cover the admission or test, the coding had better be specific.

Thankfully the IV fluids had worked their magic and Jeanne was feeling a bit weak, but healthy otherwise. The next day was Saturday and the next Aeroflot flight was the following Thursday morning. Kolya beelined back to the village and Jeanne stayed close to home. What a marvelous gift to us to have her those extra days. Nothing on the agenda for her to do because she wasn’t supposed to be there. I loved those days. She was even able to visit with a few friends who were unavailable at the beginning of their trip.

God is so good. The mom who secretly wanted more time with Jeanne than she was admitting actually received the desires of her heart. I didn’t want to prevent Kolya’s family from getting maximum time with the two of them because they would not see them again for another year. I knew that we would be heading to the states to meet our new grandson in the fall. We would have additional time with them then.

Thank you, Lord, for those extra moments.

(We even had Jeanne here for her birthday. Sweet, eh?)



  1. I love it when God interrupts our plans to bless us – even in the most unexpected ( and even uncomfortable ) ways!

  2. Me, too!

  3. (Ummm. . . mind if I ask why y’all didn’t go to Boris clinic and their private hospital? ‘Cause we did the state hospital route when T had pneumonia and after one night. . . I couldn’t do it. . . It was really difficult. . . and Boris was just so good. They had all supplies on hand!)

  4. A couple of reasons, TulipGirl. First, Jim is a physician, as you know, and he knew that what she needed was IV fluids. Not too tricky. He also has spent years meeting physicians and gaining their trust, and by having Jeanne (and Jamie earlier) using their hospitals he was showing a measure of trust in return. Another factor is the cost of many of these private hospitals — they are really outrageous! (I doubt that any of this would have been very comfortable for us without Jim being a physician…he knew what was happening every step of the way.)

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