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 

Thursday, September 24, 2015

A Wrestling Match

...albeit not a very fair one, as it involved six people against one hip.  One very stubbornly dislocated hip that took all we had to put back in its rightful place!   

I'd seen this little old man carried in earlier in the morning to the clinic by a rather jolly looking younger fellow who placed him on the bench outside until his number was called.  I thought he must be really weak if he had to be carried in, but I didn't think he looked sick, so I let him wait and kept on working.  "Probably has diarrhea." I thought to myself. 

But that wasn't the case.  By and by he got called in and one of the Haitian nurses consulting him soon called me into her room to help decide what to do with him.  They said a tree had fallen on him six days earlier, but they hadn't been able to find a way to get him to the clinic any sooner.  

We knew that it'd be much harder to relocate a dislocation after so many days had passed, but we decided to give it our best shot!  The alternative would be a very painful ride out to town where they'd have to try the same thing or he'd likely never walk well or at all again. 

We knew we'd need some muscles for this job!  Hans, Brandon, and David were called and soon showed up.  Alyssa, Kin, myself, and the guys all got into position and we started the wrestle. 

I couldn't help but think of the account in Genesis of the angel that wrestled with Jacob and dislocated his hip with one touch.   And the louder our little man yelled in distress, the more earnestly I prayed for God to touch his hip and put it back in place...

We pulled his leg (but this was no-joke! :-0) a few times, the sweat streaming down our faces, and tears down the face of the poor man.   But nothing seemed to change, except the increased discomfort of the man.  

Feeling a bit discouraged, we all took a break to re-decide what to do now.  Alyssa suggested trying just once more.  We all agreed, and found our positions again with renewed determination.

One, two, three... And again we all pushed and pulled, and again came the tears and entreaties to stop...   "Please, Lord, touch his hip!"  And...POP!   Most of us felt it.  Some of us even heard it.  But we all saw it was back in place!  Thank you Lord!
The man's cries changed immediately from pain to praise!  "It's unblocked, it's unblocked!"  He cried for joy, while we all did high fives!  

We kept him bed rest on plenty of pain pills and then sent him home on his own two feet a couple days later!  I love watching people heal!  It's a beautiful thing God does over and over here, and it amazes me every time!  He is good!

-Mis Whit

Friday, September 11, 2015

Broken Heads and Breaking Hearts

Once upon a time....a not-so-very-long time ago....last night, to be exact.  We were sharing a peaceful evening of counting pills around the table, when - in a rather non-peaceful manner - there was a knock at the gate. 

Somebody that was a relative of somebody else had gotten beat up by something somewhere.

Don't laugh.  And don't bother being exasperated by the complete lack of information in that sentence. 

Well, not a complete lack.  We knew somewhere in a general direction was a thirty year old female, who was somehow related to one of our neighbors. 

So Brandon (side note - my cousin arrived with me when I returned home from home ( side side note - I was home for two weeks to see my family and just returned on Monday) to replace David as the mechanic when David leaves next month - yay! - to my cousin coming, NOT David leaving), Mali, and I jumped on a machine to go pick up this wounded person.

We met a crowd on the trail, carrying a wounded person that Mali was quick to point out was NOT a female.  It was actually a young man that is this neighbor man's nephew.  While not someone that I really know at all, his face was familiar to me, since he lives not too far from here.

We loaded him up on our machine to carry him back to the clinic, along with the two rather ashamed shirtless men that had been his chief carriers.  They had apparently been bathing when they heard a cry for help and they didn't take the time to get fully clothed before running to his aid. 

Upon our arrival at the clinic, we were able to get our first good look at our patient.  A young, totally unconscious man, who - if you were to believe the local gossip - liked to fight. 

It would seem this evening's fight got a little out of hand, and that he may have picked a fight with the wrong guy, judging by the size of the lump on his head. 

We were in the midst of taking his blood pressure and doing a quick assessment, when he suddenly started seizing.  Mali and my eyes met, as we both wondered out loud if we should call Donny to ask him how he felt about us making an emergency run out to town. 

Donny said that he thought that that would be fine, if we thought it was the best call for our patient.  We agreed that we weren't comfortable keeping him at the clinic here, so Mali started in on a quick stitch job on the cuts on his head, while Brandon and I worked on getting everything else ready for a run out. 

Most of the rest of our crew showed up before she finished, and were there to see us off as we braved the mob outside the clinic.  Everybody pushed in to see the guy on the cot, and his MANY distressed family members all had opinions about who the two people allowed to ride along would be. 
As I squeezed my way through the crowd to climb on the machine, I saw one of the two men that had been carrying him off to my right (now shirted), raising his hand and saying, "Thank you, God".  I told him he should also tell the pushing crowd to step back a bit, to which he instantly responded by yelling instructions (COMPLETELY ignored) to the crowd to move back; after which he looked back at me, shrugged, and went back to thanking God.

We finally just cranked the machine up and started moving, and people slowly moved out of our way as we went.

Just as we were starting down the trail, our patient suddenly seized up again.  His father (and the rest of the relatives still pushing and pulling around our vehicle) thought that his son had died, and started up a death wail.  Mali, who was on the back of the machine, hollered at Brandon to "Go!", and we took off. 

Once we got far enough away to be out of reach of the crazed crowd, we paused long enough to ascertain that our patient was, in fact, NOT dead, reassure his father, wait for his cousin to show up with his father's phone, and secure the cot to the machine. 

From there we headed out for town in earnest, and made good time due to the completely - and somewhat eerily - empty trail.  We called the ambulance just before we reached town and asked them to meet us at the Ti Goave hospital to transfer him straight to Port. 

We arrived to find the ambulance waiting, and after a smooth and swift transfer, we found ourselves back on the trail for home.  We once again made good time and arrived home sometime after midnight, where we all made beelines for our waiting beds. 

We were on our way to the clinic this evening when we saw one of this young man's cousins on the road.  Mali asked him what he had heard about his cousin today, and he said that he had started talking, so we are thanking God for that. 

Oh, and what the fight was about?

A phone. 

Not a $500 smart phone.  No, not even that.

Just a cheap, tiny little phone. 

Sometimes the absurdity of what the people that we risk our lives for risk THEIR lives for....just doesn't strike me as funny.  Mali and I were discussing it this evening and she made the comment that seeing these young guys get themselves in situations like this is heartbreaking.  And it is.

They have so much potential, and yet they choose to throw it all away for the whim of a moment, or in a sudden flash of anger. 

Please join us in praying for a revival in these mountains - that our small community here could be a beacon of light, piercing the darkness around us and proclaiming Christ to everyone who sees it. 

That when they see us, they would not just see blans; but that they could see the light and love of our heavenly Father shining in and through us.  Because THAT'S what we're here for. 

For HIS glory.


Thursday, September 3, 2015

The Still Small Voice

Be still, and know that I am God” (Psa. 46:10). The crashing thunder, the stars in the evening sky, the creeping caterpillar, are all signs of God's creation. He has created these for His glory and honour but do I take the time to stop and enjoy it? Do I stop and listen to what God is saying through His creation. 
Today during clinic, I was thinking of how God speaks in a still small voice. Is it through the small boy who comes in with blood pouring down his tear stained face? A little, boy who needed a hug before I started his bandage change. When I finished the bandage change, he gave me a much-needed hug in return. 
Nene after his bandage 

What is God telling me through the little grandma who came in nearly fainting. She was very weak due to not eating recently. She has no one to take care of her and can barely provide for herself. I examined her and found nothing medically wrong. I gave her two protein shakes and let her sleep. When she awoke, she bounced off her bed with new energy. She wanted to talk to anyone around. She was seeking company and one who would listen. Even though I could not understand nearly everything she had to say, I listened to her stories. When she had finished, I gave her a few things and sent her home.
The little grandma 

A few hours later, I returned to the clinic to check on a few patients. I was surprised to find the little grandma back again but this time curled up on the floor beside her now occupied bed. She awoke. I asked if she was planning to go home. She told me she would leave after she had a little sleep. Since it was getting late to send her home, we made her little bed. My heart longed for her to have company and someone who would take care of her.

God also shows us His care by answering prayer. LW Clerment the little boy I mentioned in a previous post will be meeting with the Cardiac Team next week. Thanks for your prayers and continue to pray that he can receive help.  

Thanks for your support to the work in Haiti. 

P.S. This is a little glimpse into clinic life through my inspiration. Maybe someone else will be inspired to share more soon :)

Monday, August 17, 2015


Thursday morning started out calm and in routine. Walking to clinic, I felt genuinely excited to see what another day holds. I went to clinic early to restock the pharmacy and prepare for my day. After stocking the pharmacy, several of us were chatting in the exam room, when Mali came running in with little Clerment. Laying him on the bed, she said he is not well. I turned and looked instantly seeing the child was in Respiratory Distress. The child has a history of cardiac issues and is currently awaiting surgery. 

The tension was high as we all waited to see what would happen. Will the child survive for his surgery or not? Just a few weeks earlier we had got word that the first child on the list for cardiac surgery had died. We could not bear the thought of another child dying before he had surgery.

Immediately we tried to stabilize the child. When it had calmed down, Whitney turned to me and said, “Alyssa would you be willing to care for the patient?”

“I will do my best."

I felt so small and insignificant. Everything I tried seemed to be a failed attempt. The outcome did not look good and I knew that an action plan needed to be in place. We warned the mother her son may not make it through the next couple hours. The mother understood. She was very aware of her son's condition. 

Suddenly, I could take in no longer. All the strength I had was drained out of me. I knew that only God could give me the strength. A prayer meeting was called for the situation. The faith of the mother inspired me the most when she kept repeating, “Bondye konnen, Mis, Bondye konnen” (God knows Nurse, God knows.).

After prayer, I knew that God was in control of the situation and I was only a tool in His hand. I am very incapable of doing anything in my own strength. With renewed strength, I continued to hold on the non-breather oxygen mask and monitor the child.

The mother loved her child so much. She clung to him as he desperately tried to breath. As I bathed him and tried to calm him down, she would sing lullabies. The morning dragged into early afternoon with little progress. When in a matter of minutes, he seemed to turn around. He was breathing with little difficulty and was actually smiling at me. Through tears of joy I smiled back as he started laughing and cooing.  The mother was so happy. She immediately asked if he could start eating. I told her to wait until he was a little more stable.

Throughout the day, I continued to check on him. He was progressing with each passing hour. I could not help, but sing praises of thanks  to God for the miracle He had performed.

The next morning during discharge, I was overwhelmed with the greatness of God and how small I am. It's because of His love and compassion that I can be a tool in His hand. 

"Moments like these are what a nurse longs to see."
Please pray for Clerment. He is 16 months awaiting cardiac surgery. Pray that things would work out for surgery soon. 

Mesi Bondye!

~ Mis Alyssa 

P.S. Sorry no pics this time :(