...used a littlegreen garden wire...
Ok, I went back into the door panel yesterday. I don't think I did anything wrong, I think there may have been a clip there before holding the rod from the latch to the hole it goes in on the outside door handle.
I jerry-rigged it and used a little green garden wire to attach the two together, made sure it had enough wiggle-room to move, opened, shut, opened the door, rolled down the window... etc. It works perfectly now. No more climbing through, no more opening only from the inside. No more can't-open-the-window stuffiness.