Wednesday, February 20, 2019

Peace in the unrest

Hello prayer warriors! Once again, sorry for the delay in posting. 
You probably heard of Haiti's unrest and rioting on the news and social media. Being up in the mountains, we're mostly uneffected by it but we hear from our patients and friends in town of all the rioting and people getting hurt or killed and it puts an ache way deep down in our guts. These are the people we strive to help every single day. These are our friends.
Thankfully, the last few days have been pretty much peaceful and we're holding our breath and hoping it'll stay that way. 
One of the challenges that came with the unrest was not having the choice of transferring patients to a  hospital with higher lever care. It was your prayers and the grace of God that gave us wisdom and strength to deal with all the patients we felt so innadequate and yet obligated to treat here at our clinic. 
One such patient was the one pictured below. He came in one morning and from the way he acted, no-one would've ever known that he had a severe head injury. He came walking in and sat down in front of me with a "bonjour Mis" and a big smile on his face. I saw the tel-tale towel wrapped around his head and suspected that his head was injured in some way but with a quick glance at his vital signs and seeing they were fine and a seeing how fine he acted, i asked him if he could wait for me to see a couple other patients that i had made appointments with before i took care of his head since we were in the middle of a very busy clinic day. Upon second thought, caused by an odd gut-feeling of mine, i donned gloves and removed the towel, just to check and see how bad it was. At first glance, i got just a little bit excited in side - it looked like a nice clean and straight laceration, my favorite kind to stitch but then i looked closer...was that brains i was seeing? I looked him in the eye again and asked him if he knew what his head looked like. He said no and that he wouldn't know he was hurt at all if he hadn't felt the blood running down his neck. He proceeded to tell me that one of his neighbors had died the day before and had been up all night partying with the mourners. He didn't say what all happened but at some point another guy took a machete to his head. He said it had happened around midnight (about 11 hours earlier). He had waited until morning and brought a moto to clinic. He was from a couple hours away. I kept looking at him in disbelief and asked him a bunch of questions to see if he was completely coherent and he started laughing. Apparently asking a totally conscious and oriented person questions like what year it is is pretty funny. He looked at me like I had 3 heads, laughed and answered all my questions perfectly. 
All along i was freaking out just a lil bit inside. He was obviously stable at the time but i could see the his scull was fractured and his injury WAS bad, even though he didn't seem to be feeling it at all. Sending him to another hospital wasn't an option. on the best of days, its very difficult to find a receiving hospital for a head injury. All of the roads were blocked due to rioting  and many of the hospitals were shut down. Our Haitian nurses said they wouldn't touch it but i couldn't do nothing. He would die of infection if nothing else. I whispered a prayer and called a Doctor friend of ours from the states who is always so helpful in answering questions and giving helpful information and advise and he carefully explained a treatment plan to me. I was very grateful for the help of Bens sister Hannah Lapp and her fiancé Matt Jantzi who were here visiting Ben. Hannah and I went to MMI together several years ago and had studied medicine together. At the time, we never guessed that we'd be faced with such a big responsibility together in Haiti. We discussed our plan and I took the time to explain to our patient that we were gonna do our best but that we're not brain surgeons. Matt prayed before we started and I felt a peace about doing it. We spent an hour or so cleaning every last speck of dirt and hair out and and I putting things back together one stitch at a time. I knew well that even in the hands of an experienced surgeon, he was at risk of infection that could easily kill him and felt my inadequacies deeply. We talked the whole time and joked with him that I was reading his mind and after taking a good look at his brain, knew everything there was to know about him. He was strong and brave and laughed the whole time, declaring that he felt no pain.    

Here is a look at his head, after shaving around the laceration. 

This is Matt and Hannah and I with him while we were cleaning him up. 

Him and his sister, after it was all done and bandaged. 

Me, doing what you see :) 

And this is a photo of his head, over a week later. I can't stop thanking God that so far, he has no signs of infection and seems to be healing well. He's still here in our hospital so the we can monitor him closely but he's doing well and keeps us entertained with his humor on a regular basis. His risk isn't over though. Help us pray for continued healing and that he could see Jesus in us as we interact with him every day. He's not a christian but we talk to him about God regularly. I know God saved his life for a reason. 

Thanks so much for your prayers and support! Mis Emma







Tuesday, February 5, 2019

Emergency runs.

  In comes another pregnant lady with complications, head injurys or some for sickness we can't treat and needs to be sent off to town, so we bump out the trail one more time, some days feeling quite worn out and like we can't go on any longer and then getting called down to clinic in the middle of the night repeatedly to check up on a laboring woman. Here's a verse that has blessed me lately.
      And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.
     It's around 4:00 in the afternoon clinic is  over and here comes a moto bumping up the trail with a young pregnant lady who is coming to have her baby, she happened to be having some pre labor pain and stayed here for about 3 days. After she went into labor there were some things that where abnormal and we needed to head out to town with her for a C-section, so we loaded up on the UTV and bumped out the trail. 
    We arrived at the general hospital in T-Goave and they didn't have any money on them so we help them buy the things they needed to have a C-section then a nurse takes a blood sample and we find out she's anemic and T-Goave hospital doesn't have blood so they can't do the C-section, this is really disheartening because now she has to bump another hour and a half off to a different hospital and we where not planning to need money for a transfer so we scrounge together enough money and we're able to get her transferred to a hospital that had blood and they where able to have a C-section the next morning and mom and baby are fine.

    The baby hear in the picture is a preemie who was born here at clinic weighing just so 4 lb and needed to be kept on oxygen for the first week and then stayed another two weeks to make sure he was steadily gaining weight, once he finally reached 5 lb we sent them home.

Here's a little child who just got put on the plumpy nut program.

This little boy is just too adorable to not post a picture of him. Sometimes after seeing so many malnourished and unhealthy children it's refreshing to see one who is healthy and doing very well.

     So there's just a few things that have been happening around here, thank you all for your prayers and financial support. ~Ben~

Thursday, November 22, 2018

A life of drastic differences

It’s the beautiful...and the ugly.
 The first newborn cry...and holding the hand of the dying elderly. 

The miracles...and the willingness to accept death and the fact that medicine can’t always prevent it. 

It’s swinging and playing games with the neighbor kids...and giving the malnourished  kid with negligent parents some life saving plummy-nut. 

It’s cuddling and weighing the adorable motherless babies who come to get milk...and doing all you can for the almost-dead innocent newborn who comes in because his parents didn’t bring him in soon enough and then wrapping him up tight, putting him in a box-and closing the lid-and handing the box back to his parents. 

It’s waving and yelling greetings to your friend across the mountains...and bouncing across those same mountains in the UTV with a patient in the back and an IV bag swinging from the frame- heading to another hospital. 

It’s holding the scared little patient tight and feeling their heartbeat pounding in their chest...and checking for a pulse in the next one, not being able to find it, double and triple checking, calling for a second opinion and finally, telling the parents that their child has no heartbeat. 

It’s talking and laughing with your friends while you drink coffee and eat bread...and doing all you can for the young patient with HIV, including providing transportation to a location where they can get the life-saving treatment, and having them refuse the help, and watching them walk out the doors toward home, knowing the patient will die. 

It’s going to market and recognizing half the people and being greeted by person after person who reminds you all that you’ve done for them...and being back at home, just getting read to sit down for supper, hearing a knock on the gate, heading to clinic, and not getting back for several hours, and then repeating that same thing at 3am. 

It’s sitting under the palm tree with your toes in the sand and feeling the ocean waves on your feet...and slowing unwrapping the rag that’s tied around your patients extremity and not knowing if you should expect a fresh laceration or a wound that’s been there for months and smells like death. 

It’s life. It’s invigorating and exhausting. Just to clarify, we don’t see all of these things every single day but these experiences, and countless others are all things we experience. I could think of a lot more things but I’ll stop before you’re bored stiff. 
Thanks once again for your prayers and support. We couldn’t do it without you. 
-Mis Emma 




Wednesday, September 19, 2018

Take the time

   Take the time to care, no matter who you are or how busy you are, we should never be too busy to sit and listen to a friend who may be hurting, or just longs to talk with someone who cares.
  People notice when you take time for them and I believe it makes a difference. 
  The last couple weeks and months have been quite busy with big clinic days emergency runs and quite a number of births. 
   Sometimes in the middle of the busyness of life it's easy to not take time for the little things that are so important. So what I'm saying to myself and everyone that's reading let's take the time to care and it can be what makes the difference and draws someone to the light.
   This last week has been really nice with usually a little time in the afternoons to spend with friends.
  Here are a couple radom pics.

   The guy in the wheelchair is Patrick. He works at Clinic cutting goes. He's a really good friend and seams to attract groups of people whenever he talks.
             
    Sometimes life can be pretty up and down around here seeing death and pain and then the beauty of new life, just a few weeks ago we had a lady come in with a head injury she had been working in her garden on the side of the mountain when a rock tumbled down and smashed her Square in the forehead breaking lots of Bones and cutting the side of her mouth open. I would post pictures but they're just way too nasty and I can't stand looking back at them. They carried her in on a cot she was pretty much unresponsive but was breathing and had normal vital signs. We weren't sure what we should do, how long can she live in this condition? Will she even make it to town? Unfortunately we couldn't fly her out on the chopper because they won't receive a patient in this bad of a condition and the sky was cloudy, so after lots of prayers and tears and calling every hospital we thought might be a possibility we loaded up on a machine and headed off to town to meet an ambulance, which would then take her to a hospital in Port.      There they spent the next week sitting in the hospital trying to buy what they needed so the Dr could operate on her. It ended up being too late, they were out of money and out of time she couldn't hang on any longer and she passed away.
   When I see this stuff, my heart fills up with pain, it's like my world stops and everything I thought was a big problem becomes so small and I just cry out to God and give him the pain, the disappointment and be thankful that I'm not the one holding this world in my hands but he is and he cares and understands.
    And then there's beautiful things like the sun setting across the ocean and all I can say is thank you God for holding the World in Your Hands and caring about each detail of Our Lives whether it's big or small you care.


     So thanks to all of you who pray for us and support us, we really appreciate it and need it! God bless ~Ben~




Thursday, August 30, 2018

Of Gods grace. 

I stepped into the loud crowd that came rushing into the waiting area. I knelt down over the cot on the ground and pulled the plastic down to expose her face. I resisted the urge to vomit and covered her face back up while I grabbed my stethoscope to see if I could hear a heartbeat. Heartbeat present. I ran to grab a blood pressure cuff and yelled for someone to call for Ben. BP was okay. I ran for IV supplies and opened up the entrances to our emergency room and instructed the family to bring the cot in. After getting an IV started and reassessing vital signs, I stood by her bed, whispered a prayer for wisdom and took another look at her head. It was hands-down the worst thing I’ve ever seen. I could see it was a middle aged woman by the gray hairs I saw on her head. Her face was flat. Nose sunken in, and a large whole in her forehead. Her check was wide open and her whole face moved with each breath. I could see into her forehead and I’m honestly not sure what all I was seeing but the scull was crushed and I could see inside the hole which exposed all manner of things and the thought crossed my mind that I could possibly be looking at her brains. Unfortunately, I couldn’t “read he mind”. She was unconscious and only made random involuntary movements with her one hand. After asking lots of questions, I discovered that she’d been working in her garden with her husband and a large rock rolled down the mountain, crushing her head. Apparently there was an animal up-mountain from her that had displaced the rock. Ben showed up, took one look at her and then at me and said “what on earth are we going to do?” I had no words and felt the responsibility and my lack of experience and ability to help her sunk in deep. I had no idea what I was gonna do. I mentally ran over all the possibilities. I was sure she would die but I didn’t know how long it would take. In the states, with immediate, up-to-date professional healthcare, it’d be a miracle if she’d survive. It’s very difficult to find a hospital here who provides quality medical care that’s affordable. Also, a lot of the hospitals won’t even look at head injuries. It was very cloudy so I pretty much knew I couldn’t get a helicopter to fly in for transport even if I could find a receiving hospital. Backing up just a ‘lil, the night before 5 staff were in an accident that caused me to be the only nurse at clinic and they’d left in our ambulance and were in Port-au-prince so we couldn’t transport any farther than Ti-Goâve (using our UTV) and there is no hospital there who would do anything for her. I felt helpless. I took another look at her and saw her breath. There was life-hence, hope. I had to try. I started making phone calls. I called hospital after hospital and got pretty much the same response. No one wanted a head wound. As  Ben and I discussed our options, she vomited and Ben said “Oh, spaghetti”. My eyes got big and I glances at the meds I had prescribed for her just last Friday when she had come to clinic for a consultation. I had treated her for parasites and it now appeared like they were coming out of her whole face (because her cheek was wide open). I’ll admit it, I cried. The fact that we’d all had a lot going on the evening before with the accident, compounded with the fact that i was the only nurse around, and the fact that I’d been up till 3:30AM delivering a baby, had me tired. The birth wasn’t one of those nice births where a women has a baby. It was one of those come-in-almost-ready-to-have-her baby-pre-eclamptic-and-4-weeks-premature births that ends in delivering a little stunned baby and requires resuscitation. I was tired. I felt terribly responsible as her children looked at me and said “can’t you do something for her?” I explained to them that I felt like the chances of survival were VERY slim but that I would try my very best, I couldn’t just let her die in my hands but I also couldn’t see any way to transfer her anywhere else. I whispered a very desperate prayer and tried again. This time I got ahold of someone who gave me a private phone number for an ER Doctor at a very reputable hospital with a working CAT scan machine. She said they’d except her. I called to check if there was any chance I could get a helicopter in to transport her. It was too cloudy, but I called an ambulance driver who was willing to meet us in Ti-Goâve and transfer her to the receiving hospital. I breathed a huge sigh of relief and we were soon on our way to Ti-Goâve.
There is more to the story but I feel like this is getting too long so I’m gonna leave it at that. By the way, the baby I delivered during the night is off of oxygen now and doing amazing all on her own and I delivered another one last night and it WAS one of those nice ones where everything goes like it’s supposed to.
As I look back at the last 3 days events, all I can say is God is good. ALL the time. In my own strength, I fail. But in my weakness, HE is strong. Very strong. God rejoices in doing the impossible and I rejoice to have been given a fresh personal reminder of that. Absolutely none of what happened was something I could’ve done without God.
Please pray for this lady, last I talked to her daughter, she is still alive. I don’t understand how she’s still alive but I do believe in miracles. And God performed a bunch of those already for her and I don’t doubt that he can do it some more.
Sorry there aren’t any photos this time. I have several but I don’t think you want to see them - even thought the photos don’t look nearly as severe as it did in real life.
Thanks SO much for your prayers. They work. -Mis Emma.

Monday, August 13, 2018

Be Still

You're in the middle of a medical emergency. Heart pounding, adrenaline pumping, and hands trembling. (If you're me🙄) Your mind runs through all the possibilities and you're doing the best you know to do. Without making any mistakes. In the middle of it all, your patient grabs your bloody hand and says, "please mis, pray with me." And you stop. The words be still come to mind. And you realize that that for a moment it won't hurt to simply be still. To not do anything.  To lay down your stethoscope, strip off your dirty gloves and hold your patient's hand. I often forget that nursing isn't just about caring for their body. But for their mind and spirit too. If it makes them feel better to clutch me around the neck till I feel like I'm choking, then I'll do it😌 Nursing is hard. And down here it's sometimes quite difficult. If it's not the language barrier, then its a cultural belief or practice.  Or simply not having been educated about medical things. I so often get frustrated at how patients deal or not deal with things. But then I'm reminded that I'm lucky. It wasn't my choice or from anything I did that I was born in America where I got a full education and went beyond to become a nurse. It's not their fault that they were born here. And it's probably difficult for them to understand a white nurse who cant even speak their language properly 🙃 I have to let it go. If I've done the best I can, then theres nothing more to do. I hAve to learn to be in peace.  Not pieces.  Life here isn't all sunshine and beach trips. But it comes pretty close to that most of the time🤗❤ I've been here 8 months now and love it more each day. Running the prenatal program has definitely become my favorite job at clinic.  I'm going to put some random photos up of different things . I don't really have any wild stories to share. We've had busier days at clinic. And quite a few births and some emergency runs. Otherwise life can be called "normal". We're grateful for those of you that read our blog and support us. Even though we're not very faithful in posting 🙈 
Till next time❤
When the oceans rise and thunders roar. I will soar with you above the storm. Father, You are the King over the flood. I will be Still and know You are God. 
❤Mis Autumn 


Sunday, August 12, 2018

Every day Life

 Hey everyone it's been awhile since I've posted and a lot has happened! It seems I should have no problem thinking up something interesting to tell you all but I find it kind of hard to put things into words 🙈  So here we go it was last Saturday we where in Peiti-Goave at a wedding while back home in the mountains there were two ladies in labor the one being preeclamptic, so when we got home we made the decision to transfer her out to Peiti-Goave where she would have the option of having a c-section if necessary and where we had just come from😕 we loaded up in the ambulance and prepared to deliver a baby on the way if necessary.
     Off we went bumping out the trail smashing into each other and trying to keep the mom as "comfortable" as possible, we didn't make it much more than quarter way out the trail when Emma hollered that the head is crowning so we stop the machine and delivered a baby, almost instantly the atmosphere changed inside the ambulance and prayers of thanks to God were ring out of our mouths, after evaluateing mom and baby we decided to turn around and headed back to clinic, meanwhile the other nurses were busy delivering the second baby and everything went well so we tucked them both into bed and headed home knowing we could have a good night sleep. (Thank you God)
    Here's a pic of the two babies that were born, I believe Emma is holding the one that was born in the ambulance and Kayla the one that was born at clinic.
             Here's a very proud big sister
     This past weekend with the help of Grampa Lewi and eveone around the mission here we got two pigs butchered and processed into all kinds of good stuff!
       Here's a pic of Derek and Grandpa stuffing sausage's.
               So that's just a little bit of what's been going on around here. I want to thank everyone out there for your prayers and financial support we really appreciate it!!!
                   Until next time ~Ben~

Peace in the unrest

Hello prayer warriors! Once again, sorry for the delay in posting.  You probably heard of Haiti's unrest and rioting on the news and ...