Wednesday, November 25, 2015

As most of you must have noticed,I am not an avid blogger. It doesn't help that I have tried blogging  for a nearly a week and the internet is too slow. So here is my final attempt to blog about our 10 day dentist clinic experiance.I wrote one blog and lost it so now I wont be writing much...I will show you pictures and leave the rest to your vivid imaginations.��

Mr.Ewald...ready to start a new day. We usually started at 8:30 am and finished anywhere from 7 to 10:30pm.

Brandon and Aaron assisting need to be quick and precise with the patience to stand still. (Even tho you are in totally uncomfortable position. :-)  
 Ewald,filling a tooth. The finished product,a work of art.
 Is that a look of triumph in Han's eyes??

 All from from one patient?? Yep....major teeth extractions going on. I always have to smile when those patients sit up after it's all over.First thing is to stuff their ears with cotton balls to ensure health and protection from who-knows-what.Next is too hug the dentist....something most dentists rarely get.:-)

 If you notice the angle of the tooth in the upper left xray. ...yah, our hearts sank when the picture apeared on the screen. It was successfully  extracted after hard work on Ewald's part and prayers by the team.
 Notice that light shining out of her eyes???Her dentist might be German, but smiles and eyes alight are international  languages.��

Needless to  say after ten long stretching days and short nights we were all tired and worn out. But happy.. 
A heartfelt Thankyou extended to all who donated towards making this possible. The xray machine was a dream come true....saved us from alot of 'tèt chajé'. Thankyou.
Sometimes it can feel as if we can bless such a small portion of aching humanity. The  world is throbbing with pain. the center of God's will is  perfect peace. He guides our hands and hearts. May His glory spread over all the earth.
Mis Mali

Sunday, November 1, 2015

Full Days, Full Moons, and Full Hearts

If you are one of those people that scoff at the notion that there are more births around full moon, then please disregard my belief in said notion as the result of too many nights with lost sleep due to too many births around full moon.

We have had a rush of births in the last week, whatever the reason.  We had two births here yesterday.  And there is a woman sitting out in the crowd out front that believes she is in the beginning stages of labor as I write.

Yesterday's first birth story actually began the day before yesterday.  A small crowd surrounding a woman with a protruding abdomen came up to the clinic gate just as Whit, Hans, and I were leaving to go home from taking care of a small boy that appeared to be having an allergic reaction.  We checked her to see how far along she was, and, since she wasn't very far along, settled her in for the night with instructions to call us if anything happened in the night.

We awoke to a knock at four o'clock, and were told that she was "decomposing", or passing out, and they wanted to know if we could come check on her.  We hurried down to the clinic, only to find her nearly asleep.  We went ahead and checked her since we were here anyway, and found her to be progressing nicely.  It was her first baby, so we told her to try to get some rest since she would need her strength later.

Mali ran back down to check on her when they came back and knocked again at six-thirty.  She called me on the radio shortly after to let me know that she thought that I should come down too, since it looked like this baby was going to be coming soon.  I jogged down a few minutes later to find that the baby was, indeed, very close.

When the baby was still just "very close" some time later, we made a call back to the house to ask everyone to pray for the woman, the baby, and two nurses who felt a need for additional wisdom.

We tried just about everything in the book - literally.  Duck-walking, normal walking, laying down, sitting up, standing up - we'd have got her on her head if we would have had any reason to believe that that could help.  Our concern grew as time went by.

Donny called on the radio to see how things were going, and I told him that we were discussing the possibility of sending her out.  He said to just let him know when we made a decision, and that they were praying for us.  I had no sooner than got off the radio when I looked up and saw an angel standing there looking at me.

This particular angel's face was very familiar to me, as was his name.

"Michael!  Oh, I am SO happy to see you, what are you doing here?  You wanna help us?  Can you look at someone for us?  What are you DOING here?  Mali, it's MICHAEL!  Oh, we are SO happy to see you.  Can you come in here for a minute??  There's a lady here in labor, andshesbeennearlycrowningforalongtimeandwerestartingtogetworriedandwewerejusttalkingaboutsendingheroutbutthebabysheartbeathasbeenfineandwerejustnotquitesurewhatweshouldobecausewejustkeepthinkingthatshesprobablygoingtohaveitanytime...."

See, I know that he was a gift that was heaven-sent, because he managed to not only follow all that was spilling out of my mouth, but to keep a smile on his face through it all.  Michael, if you're reading this, you'll never know how reassuring your presence was that morning.  Really, truly, from the bottom of my heart, thank you. 

Long, stressful story short, a little boy was finally born.  Tears sprang to both Mali and my eyes as we heard him let out his first yell.  Our praises to God for a healthy baby were cut off by the sight of a MUCH larger amount of blood than you're supposed to see outside the body, and were replaced by desperate pleas for the bleeding to stop.

Praise the Lord, it did finally stop.  We got the mother settled in her bed with her small, cone-headed son, and went out to get our clinic day started just about the time that Fre Norès was finishing up devotions with the crowd out front.


It seems like I can never finish up my blogs the same evening that I started them.  This was a post that I started last Tuesday, and now I suppose I can tell you "the rest of the story".

We kept this mother here so that we could keep an eye on her for at least a few days, and eventually ended up sending her out for a blood transfusion.

The lady who thought that she was in labor on Tuesday morning finally had her baby this (Sunday) morning.  A healthy, if rather angry, little baby boy.  Mali and I both chuckled over the way he would scowl at me, and he was letting out warrior cries from the moment he entered the world.  Guess he thought he'd better make sure that we knew who was boss from the get-go.

In other news, Ewald was back doing his thing with teeth again for the past two weeks.  His work is really worthy of a post dedicated to just that, so I think I'll leave that to someone else.  Suffice it to say that there was incredible work done in that time, and an incredible amount of it. 

With the additional dentistry patients, our little clinic sometimes felt like it was straining at the seams to hold everyone, and there were some very long days put in by those assisting in the dentist's affairs.

Full days.  Full of high blood pressures, belly aches, fevers, headaches, and blood.  Full of shared laughter, tears, jokes, encouragement, and prayers.  Full of good things, and some not-so-good things.

Full hearts.  Full of love and pain; joy and sorrow.

Full of life.  And wonder of a God who is good.  Who has bestowed us each moment and each person in our lives.  When you work with the dying, you learn to appreciate life in new ways.  You learn to recognize that every breath is a gift, not a promise. 

So make the most of the time you have been gifted.  Hug your mom, and tell her how much she means to you.  Thank your dad for all that he has sacrificed for you.  Bless those that have blessed you.  Make a coffee date with that friend that you've been wanting to share with.

Leave no regrets.

Glorify God.


Wednesday, October 14, 2015


This morning I checked the calendar  to see who was on call. Realization struck that maybe I should consider blogging again.  All day I have been scratching my brain for an inspiration but, it has been slow in coming. We have had busy clinic days. I should have lots to write about but, it seems the days are starting to run together in my mind. 

The thought I have been pondering the last few days is sharing God's love even when it seems inconvenient for us. Many times a day I am disrupted of a task at hand due to another patient or someone needing something. At times, it can feel discouraging. I begin to think I would be more efficient if I could complete a task without interruptions. I have my schedule and need to get x,y, and z done before the day is over. I want to help people BUT  it needs to work into my schedule or not? 

The question I have to ask myself is what am I here for? Did I come to Haiti and expect to work 7-3 and go home and relax? Did I come here for vacation expecting I could get all the sleep I wanted? ( not that I don't wish nights wouldn't be interrupted at times :)) Did I come here expecting I could help people when I had time? 

The last few weeks have been filled with long clinic days. Most times whatever we had planned for the afternoon didn't happen. People we wanted to go visit had to wait until another day.Plans got changed complex situations arise at the most inconvenient times or so it seems? People need to be transferred out.( Side note the one day we had two air transfers, maybe someone else will update you on that.) It may mean a trip out to town after a long day with a labouring woman. Maybe it means being late for a birthday party because a patient needs help or leaving the birthday party early because a patient has come to the clinic in need of help. 

It may be the small things that are almost unseen and yet disrupt my plans. It may be an IV catheter has come out and we have to restart it. The patient is hard to stick and we are tired. A knock on the gate just when we are ready for supper. We have to wait until the needs of that person are met so we can eat. It may be someone who needs something and it is pouring rain. Why did they come to the gate while it is raining? Could they have not waited until after it stopped?
My schedule during clinic hours may be disrupted. I am trying to complete a task but, someone else needs help. These people need to be controlled. A lost dossier needs to be found. The pharmacy needs milk from the depot. A box of protein is needed from the house. An IV needs to be changed and the day keeps going. At times I ask myself what have I done today?

The more I ponder this question the more I realize it isn't about what is convenient for me it is about meeting the needs of others. I can have all these excuses that make sense in my mind why it is inconvenient. However, does God look at my pleas/needs as inconvenient? I hope not. How much more I want to be willing to show Christ to these people even though it may be out of my schedule or interrupt my task at hand.

A few recent pics from clinic...

A little boy on the malnutrition program 

A little girl with Kwashiokor 

A 7 day old baby with meningitis 

Thanks for your continued prayers and support!
                                                                         ~ Alyssa 

Thursday, October 8, 2015

A Day of Rest (or not)

Sunday morning.  A time to sleep in a bit, drink coffee, leisure in the knowledge that today is a day for rest...spend a little extra time reading your bible and praying, eat a good breakfast - maybe just spend a little time on the swing reveling in the beauty of the morning.

That's what I think a Sunday morning OUGHT to look like.  My morning didn't exactly go as I had planned it out in my head this morning.

I woke up around seven thirty to a knock on the gate.  When I saw what time it was, I assumed it was the boys bringing the soup that Pastor's mother-in-law sends for him (and us) every Sunday.  I closed my eyes and willed someone else to please answer it so I wouldn't have to wake the child sleeping next to me up.  Thankfully Janell did just that, and quiet reigned for all of two minutes.  Then Judnay decided to wake up and declare his hunger for eggs, so the two of us tottered out to the kitchen to round up some coffee and food. 

This is where Janell found us when she returned from the gate a few minutes later, with news of a lady in labor who was being brought in on a cot.  I turned the egg-making over to her capable care, and headed down to clinic.

On the way down, a friend of mine asked if it was possible that we could give his sister a ride home from the clinic that morning, to which I replied I would ask Hans about it.  Upon my arrival, I found not one, not two - but THREE woi-ing women.  The one who had just arrived was still on her cot outside the door, since our beds inside were full.  I called her in to see how far she was progressed, while I grabbed a radio to talk to Hans.  It was her first baby, and she'd only been in labor since the night before, so it wasn't surprising to me to find that she was barely dilated.  I sent her out to walk around outside, while I went to tell the family of the stroke patient occupying one of our beds (my friend's sister) that Hans had agreed to take her.

Preparing her and her meds to leave took up the next little bit, and Hans arrived shortly after to transport her on the Husky.  I waved goodbye to them, as I called the next laboring woman in to check her. 

She had been here since the night before, but hadn't been very far along then.  I found her much closer when I checked her now, and made a mental note to keep a close eye on her, while I went to check on the next woi-ing lady.

She was actually only seven months along, but had come in for diarrhea that was threatening to send her into premature labour.

One of our resident bandage patients, St. Luke, showed up at some point in here, ready for his daily bandage change.  And it was also at some point in here that Hans called on the radio to alert me to a young guy he had passed on the trail that was "kinda bloody looking with something wrapped around his head." 

I called Alyssa to ask her if she would mind coming down to bandage St. Luke, and she showed up shortly to help out.  She had no sooner than walked in it seemed, when I heard voices outside.  I figured it was the boy that Hans was talking about, so I headed out to see how bad it was.  He was out there, sitting with something (I think it was a shirt) wrapped around his head.  However, he wasn't the only bloody person out there.  Another young boy from the area here had slipped when feeding his animals that morning, and sliced his ankle.  I gave the one that didn't look as bad some gauze to cover the cut, while I called the one with the head wound in to check it out. 

Upon inspection, I decided it definitely warranted stitching, and since Alyssa finished her first bandage job about now, she offered to do it while I went to start an IV on the lady threatening to miscarry. 

On the way there, I radioed Whit to ask her if she wouldn't mind popping in for a bit too, to which she replied that she'd be there in a minute.  I started the IV on my lady, while she went to start one on the lady that was close to having a baby.  I finished mine, and gave her a round of meds that was supposed to be followed by a second round fifteen minutes later.  By this time, I felt like I should probably be in the room with my other laboring woman, so I asked Alyssa, who was finishing up her stitch job, if she could give her her meds when my timer went off, since I figured I'd still be in coaching this lady. 

It had just a hair over twelve minutes left. 

Whit was finishing up this IV when I came in to check her again, and I found her ready to have her baby.  I explained this to the woman, but she told me that she felt like she was too tired.  I encouraged her to try, since I felt like if she would just give a few good pushes she could just have this baby, and, with her next contraction, she did just that.  And, to the surprise of everyone - including us two nurses - she really DID just have her baby right then. 

A little boy - a fact that his father couldn't stop grinning about.  They had a girl already, and had been wishing for a little boy.  We were cleaning up afterward when I heard my timer going off in the other room.  My head whipped around in surprise, as my eyes met Alyssa's equally surprised ones.  Funny, sometimes, how much can happen in such a short time. 

Well, this is a post that I started Sunday evening and fell asleep before I finished.  A lot more has happened since - David left on Monday, along with Judnay, who they dropped off at his new home at IFM.  We sent the girl threatening to miscarry out to Petit Goave with them as well, and last I heard, they were considering giving her something to "make her have the baby".  Whit, Alyssa, and Hans also made a run out to town with the other girl that had come in Sunday morning, where they did an emergency cessarian.

We've been busy the last couple weeks.  Fre Adolph told me the other day that the reason we've been having so many people at clinic is because people are getting done with their bean harvest, and they now have a little time and money, so they're all coming to the clinic now.  That, coupled with the fact that we're short one nurse since Mali is back in Canada spending two weeks with her family right now, has kept us hopping.

As always, please remember to keep us and the people here in your prayers.  I can't tell you how much they really do mean to us. 

'Till next time!


Oh, and for anyone who was paying enough attention to realize that I forgot to tell you what happened with the poor fellow I had left sitting outside with a gauze on his foot - Hans bandaged it when he got back from taking the stroke patient home.  So no worries, he's not still sitting down there waiting for me to come. :o)

Saturday, September 26, 2015

Creepy, Crawly creatures

..... and smelly wounds. This is what Mali and our crew were greeted with several days ago. Fre Noras came to the clinic Monday morning very disturbed about a little old man he had went to visit on the weekend. He described to us how he had worms crawling out of his wound. That very afternoon Brandon, Mali, Judith ( Mali's sister, our domestic girl while Janell is on furlough) and myself along with Fre Noras made a visit. We did not know what to expect when we arrived. 

We were greeted by a friendly old man who welcomed the sight of nurses. 

Mali and I donned on masks and gloves then set to work. The growth was crawling with creatures. It was unrecognizable as part of the human body. We worked diligently to pick each little creature from its home. Thanks to our additional staff who held bags, handed us supplies, and played music to calm the environment. It was hot and sweaty the smell was beyond description. Mali and I plugged away. It seemed like a never ending task as we kept finding more and more maggots. 

We finally concluded to tie the growth off again and see if it will fall off. We scrounged up what we had "IV tubbing" making a tight knot. I left with mixed feelings hoping the treatment would be effect. What more can we do? 

A few days later, found a second group of us back to visit. This time Hans, Fre Noras, Whit, and I came to checkout the progress. It had not changed much. Defiantly, less maggots but something needed to be done. We decided to start debriding  the dead tissue. Whit and I were pleased with every piece that disappeared. We cut it all off. It was a satisfying feeling to see live flesh. Mesi Bondye!! The dead ball of flesh was gone. How much better our little man will be able to survive. 

I had to think of my morning devotions doing everything cheerfully for the Lord. Many times we have tasks that may not be what we would choose. However, do everything cheerfully as unto the Lord! 

~ Alyssa