Monday, June 15, 2015

Life through a Lens

Words fail for me to describe to you our life.
The swirl of color in our lives here is amazing! I hope that my camera lens can give you a small insight of our lives.

Hans working away on Fre Batel's abscess. Our dear old man has much to learn when it comes to patience. HE comes and plops down in the consultation room begging to be done 1st. We send him back outside to wait for Hans. And wouldn't you know but 3 minutes later he is back on the chair complaining about the long wait and how he NEEDS to be taken care of right away!!

What more could Kindra ask for on a Monday morning then a big tight hug from Madame Henri????

The Doc cheered up when he saw his steaming coffee and this bright wreath. Thanks Boukje!!

This is Evna...and yes she is as sweet as she looks. She had a severe case of Kwashikor. The 1st day she came in for a consultation she stole our hearts when she said," Mis, could you please make me all better? I really want to go back to school and feel good again!" I am sorry I don't have a picture of when she left but she looked amazing. Plumpy Nut ,lots vitamins ,and tender loving care....

KNOCK, Knock!!  Someone is hurt and needs a nurse.its 8:30 p.m. David, Hans and I run down to clinic. We bring the patient into the hospital and right away see his bloody bandage. My red flags went up when I saw him fishing around in his pocket . Is he going to take a finger tip outa there?? Sure enough he pulls  out the fingertip and wipes the dust off before he hands it to me. We all started laughing along with him.  And if anyone is wondering,No we did not re-attach it surgically.
This is my miracle boy....the picture you see below is 24 day old Job. He arrived at the clinic tiny and emaciated. He didn't cry. He just stared. With that glazed look. His little shrunken limbs jutted through his Pjs. I picked him up and I loved him. I wanted a beautiful miracle. Donny's had just left for home and we were overloaded with work. I knew that it would be nothing short of a miracle if he lived. After discussing things with the other nurses and promising to not loss sleep over him. I begin his re-feeding schedule. We prayed. His parents prayed. And God heard and gave us a miracle. He is the handsomest boy ever and yes he still brings tears to my eyes every time I see him. 

Job....24 days old

Fiana...cried pitifully and mumbled "Bonswa Mis Mamba."
'Good afternoon Mis Plumpy Nut...' another Kwashikor patient

When your garden is set on steep Haitian hillside loaded with rocks and you lose your footing...THIS is what happens!!!

Whitney and her adoring little Haitian patients. This man showers her (and us) with many gifts of yams, peanuts, bananas,sweet potatoes. 2 minutes of talking with him and you just have to smile. He nods and 'amens' everything you say.
Our 1st successful with Ayiti Air Ambulance. A 14 year old boy that got in a skirmish and someone chucked a large rock at his  head.
Makayla came down with her Daddy to greet everyone. This little girl followed her and Makayla kept saying "tute!!'Cute" until the she  reached for Makayla's candy..:)

                             I hope this gives you a brief glimpse of our life. Thankyou to all of you who pray for us and the Haitians. We need your prayers. Sometimes the weight of the responsibilities that we carry seem heavy but with God...Anything can be done. "Peace not the absence of affliction, but the presence of God. "
- for His Glory,
Mis Mali

Friday, June 5, 2015

Tears of Joy and Pain

Life comes with joys and sorrows, laughter and pain, life and death.. Many times we want to avoid the pain and sorrow and enjoy the happiness in life. However, it is the painful situations that make us more dependant on God and strengthen us. Through these times God can break us and mould us into something beautiful. 
The past 2 weeks have been filled with joys and sorrows. We have had several births which are joyous occasions for the most part. To be exact we had  4 in 29 hours which resulted in sleepless nights. It sure felt like we had a birthing centre thankfully it has subsided for the past few days. Two of the births coincided which was a lot of fun since both teams of nurses where at the clinic. Whit and I in the one room and Kindra and Mali in the other. We would keep checking on each other to see who was progressing the fastest good times.. 
The four of us nurses with our two babies! 
Other joys included, the smile on a patient's face when you tell them they can go home after being with us several weeks... The excited little boy with his glove balloon I gave him and many more. 
Sorrows also are a part of life but, many times hurt and tear us apart. The first incident was our neighbour man who died in the hospital after his health declined. This was hard for those involved. The second was a 2 week old baby who had not eaten in two weeks. Whit and I did all we could by inserting a NG and giving small frequent feeds.
Inserting the NG tube. 
 After supper, we did not feel comfortable leaving the baby at the clinic for the night. We decided to bring him up to the house. Not long after he peacefully slipped away. It was sad and beautiful at the same time to think of a innocent baby not having to experience all the pain and sorrow of living on this earth. While grieving the shock of the baby dying, I got a message from home that my grandma had passed away. Even though I was expecting the call I was very glad to have Whit with me when I got the message. It hurt so bad. How could this baby have slipped away and now my grandma? I loved them both so much. My heart hurt sleep did not come but I had much time to think and pray. God gave me a beautiful picture of my grandma holding the little baby Whit and I had tenderly cared for it gave me a special sense of peace. I was reassured with knowing that Grandma was safely home where she wanted to be. 
Through the pain God has shown himself strong. Walking to clinic yesterday morning I had to smile at the sight of the many people on the path. Arriving at clinic Fre' Noras asked why I was so happy and I didn't know what to say but, I knew that the joy in my heart is what can help me through the day. 
~ Alyssa 


Last Tuesday towards the end of our clinic day, a husband and wife came in carrying two week old twin boys, Mitchye and Senior (Seen-yo).

My heart cringed as I pulled the blanket back from Senior's face and saw what looked more like the aged and weary expression of an old man than a baby that should never yet have known a worry in the world!

They said his mom didn't have enough milk and that he hadn't been able to nurse.
We knew he was a critical case, but we still had a lot of hope for him after recently seeing another miracle survival case similar to his of a baby named Job who lived the first 21 days of his life without milk!

Alyssa got an NG feeding tube started right away and we began with a pediatric ors since he apparently had been fed next to nothing since he was born, and we knew he wouldn't be able to handle milk right away.  

He perked up almost immediately and started experimenting with his vocal abilities, not really crying, but just screeching in a very high pitch!  I've never heard a baby cry that sounded so much like a squeaker toy!  It was quite endearing, and Alyssa and I suddenly found ourselves loving this tiny little squeak! ;)

We convinced the mother to stay the night so we could continue his tube feedings and monitor him more closely.

That night we carried him home to spend the night with us so we could feed him every two hours.  We put a warming pad with plenty of blankets in the bottom of a small pink suitcase and made a bed for him there.

"I think if he makes it through tonight, he'll be ok.  And I think he will make it.  With the way he cried, I think he really wants to live!" I said.   After all, I thought, Job was worse and he lived!

About 10:30, soon after he had finished another ors feeding and we were preparing to leave him to sleep, Alyssa and I both noticed his ashen color.  I felt suddenly alarmed that he wasn't ok. 

"Alyssa! Is he...?  What's that on his clothes...?"
We crouched down closer to look, just in time to see the rest of his tiny liquid meal run from his mouth... 
He had just died.  

We stood in shock for a few minutes, not willing right at first to believe that he had actually died.  Our minds right away searched for anything that we maybe could have done differently that could've made him live.

But we had done everything in our power to do, and he still died.  It would be very hard to not believe in God, whose power is greater than ours, the one who gives life and the one who takes it away...

Hans fetched a little box from the depot for us and we used it for a coffin.   After all that, Alyssa and I sat down to watch the video I had taken of his cute little cry again.   

A couple short minutes later, Alyssa got word from home that her Grandma had just passed away.  She had been expecting that word for a few days, but it was still hard.

It didn't seem like coincidence that at almost the exact moment we watched little Senior slip away, her family was back home saying goodbye to her Grandma too. 

Her Grandma had loved babies and had had 15 of her own.  Alyssa mentioned how it felt a little like she was there for her Grandma's death by being here with Senior when they died so close to the same time...a bittersweet experience!  

It reminded me how much God cares about those small details of our lives! 


Saturday, May 23, 2015

Peace in the Storm

Greetings! Starting with introductions, I am Alyssa Martin the newest member on the Alegue Clinic team. I came a little over three weeks ago with plans to stay for awhile so I am sure you will hear more from me! A little background, I am a newly graduated Registered Nurse from Ontario, Canada. I feel I have much to learn but, am excited about all the learning opportunities ahead. I am blessed to be working with a wonderful team who is willing to teach me and support me in my adjustment to Haiti clinic life. I have already had many great learning opportunities in the past few weeks and am excited to learn much more about the culture and the people.

Myself with a baby at the clinic

I am going to give you a little update on yesterday’s events since it is still fresh in my mind...

The day started out calm and peaceful after morning devotions one of the girls said, “I feel this will be a peaceful day!” The morning was calm and peaceful we had a number of patients but nothing out of the ordinary.

Around 1330 we had a sudden break in the calmness. A woman was carried in on a cot with burns over 75% of her body 50% full thickness and 25% partial thickness. Immediately, we tried to start IV’s in her which was a very difficult task, as many of her superficial veins were burnt. All that was running through my mind was fluid resuscitation STAT, 2 large 18 gauge bore IV’s or that’s what they teach in trauma classes, but real life is never that easy. Kin finally got one IV in and then we decided to attempt an IO, which was successful. We got fluids running and covered the lady with a sterile gown.
Our patient ready to transport

Hans in the mean time called Haiti Air to see if they would be willing to come pick her up. They told us they would try, weather dependent. We loaded her up trying to keep her warm as the wind rushed by. Arriving at the soccer field 20 minutes later, only to discover the helicopter had not yet arrived. We were all silently praying that it would be clear enough for the helicopter to land, knowing it would be in the best interest of our patient. Hans got a call soon and was told it was too foggy for the helicopter to land but we could wait 10-15 minutes and they may try again. We could not wait. This lady needed help and she needed help fast if she was going to survive. We needed to hit the trail for Petite Goave.
Ready and waiting for the helicopter

We stopped off at the clinic gathered supplies, transferred into the land cruiser and off we were to Petite Goave. Kin and I in the back trying to hold the IV’s so that they would run. The patient wiggled herself free from the straps on the cot and was restless. Up and down, up and down, the poor lady could not get comfortable. Our poor IV’s were a hopeless case one was leaking, change the bag, another had occluded what next? Finally, when we thought we had them going and then the patient would change position or the fluid would be empty.  Oh no, now the IO is leaking our faithful IO. We discovered that the connector had cracked. I don’t think IO's are meant to bounce all over the place :).  I was feeling hopeless. All I had ever learned was push fluids into burn patients and now it seemed we had a difficulty whichever way we turned.

It was a welcome sight to arrive at the Petite Goave hospital and see a little ambulance waiting for us. We transferred her to the ambulance. After talking to the driver and son as to where she was going, they were off with lights and sirens. We smiled and were relieved to see she was headed to Port au Prince hopefully in record time. It was a tired and weary team that headed back up the trail to Alegue. We talked of all the what if’s and only if’s but rested in the fact we had done the best we could in this situation.

Was the day peaceful looking on?  I would say probably not in my own eyes but, I can rest in the fact that God was with us and never let us down. He has protected us in so many ways and given us wisdom and grace for every situation. God is a faithful God and I have no doubt in my mind that He was with us yesterday. Knowing that peace in our hearts can give us peace amidst unpredictable situations.

I was planning to post this yesterday. Oops! I guess it didn't happen time ran away. Enjoy!

~ Alyssa 

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Little Shots

...that we've seen recently...

You wouldn't recognize this bright-eyed little face from a couple weeks ago!  She's the one whose distraught mother rushed into the clinic with her cause she was in respiratory distress from a very plugged nose that Mali unplugged. :)  If you remember, she also had a strange mouth condition that has totally cleared up! 

I was quite pleased to see how well this set of twins was doing after their mother had been giving me the report that, "they are just too small and really need formula."   I finally convinced her to bring them and show me, after which I assured her she's doing a super job and that they're growing very well! :) 

This little boy is a heart wrenching sight.  He's the one I'd mentioned that literally seems to be starving to death.  The case is very unclear, but we suspect that he may have a perforated bowel, which could've come as a complication of possibly having typhoid.  

When he came in a few weeks ago with a fever, swollen stomach, lack of appetite, and was passing blood, we had sent him out to a hospital in Port au Prince for care.  They came back with the report that they couldn't do anything for him but give him meds.  

So now he's back, and even though he eats, it doesn't appear that he's properly absorbing anything.   The picture below was taken the day we took him out to town a few weeks ago...

Last week a few of us made a house call to check on a young stroke patient who needed more meds.  This set of twin girls, Martha and Anita, are his half sisters.  A cute little pair.  :)

And here recently we had a second baby boy come to clinic with a unilateral cleft lip and palate!  It's strange to see two exact cases in a month's time like this.  

I think a number of us have passed our designated blogging days by with no blogs to show for them, and now we're all catching up at once, cause I noticed Alyssa blogged last night, and Mali was also talking about doing one...:)  

Anyway, hope you all have a blessed evening in your respective places!  I came across this quote the other day, and since I'm not really in the frame of mind to write anything more substantial for a post tonight, I'll share it instead...:)

"Character cannot be developed in ease and quiet. Only through experience of trial and suffering can the soul be strengthened, ambition inspired, and success achieved.” 
-Hellen Keller

More later. :)