Sunday, January 25, 2015

Icing On The Cinnamon Rolls and Such

     Marcile and I look at each other. It is Friday morning. We have been up with a laboring mother for hours. 
     "I can't do it anymore," she declares.
     "That's why we kept telling you not to yell so loud for the last three days, Dear," we reminded her. "Now you are wishing for energy, and you are tired."
     "We will give you an IV," we try to sweetly tell her. But that doesn't help a bit. 
     And then awhile later we added labor inducer to the dripping fluid. Still no results.
    "I think the baby's heartbeat sounds weaker," Marcile stated. That was when we decided to head for TiGoave with the tired woman. 
     As we bounced through numerous market places with lots of onlookers, we hoped and prayed that the baby would not decide to be born there. Needless to say, the lady's continual ear-splitting yells made a wonderful siren for us, and donkies and humans alike scuffled to the side of the road to let us past.
    Dust flew. Julian was driving like a racer, and we hung on hard. "Go Julian!" we yelled. 
    We arrived in TiGoave, where we placed the lady in the hands of some Haitian nurses, who later pursued a Cesarean section delivery. We breathed a happy half sigh, as we mounted the little Husquavarna, and waved good-bye to the family. 
    "Thank-you so much!" they called to us.
    We bounded back up the trail. Four of our normal white staff were gone already, and we felt the responsibility drooping down on our shoulders to hurry home, especially on a busy Friday. Whitney had gone home short notice to attend her grandma's funeral, and both Mali and Kindra were needed to help step our five seriously ill patients through their paperwork in Mirebalais. 
     After trying to help stabilize the patients in our own hospital room, which was filled to the brim, we got news that another pregnant lady was on the way. Marcile and I looked at each other bravely. I think she laughed. And then a girl threw up on the floor. And then another hospital patient's IV ran out. 
    That amount of drama meant another broken up night. Two of our patients were pronounced as fainting out, so we tried to rejuvenate them, between checking on our new pregnant lady. She was not progressing too well, so we decided we all needed some sleep. 
    Daybreak dawned. No baby. Oh, no. Not another trip to town. By now, the dark circles under our eyes were becoming shelves. I guess to catch the tears we felt like crying. 
    We went home for coffee. We came back. We put her on IV. We waited. We cleaned up filthy beds. We gave meds to patients who were waiting on the beds and outside on the benches. Then. we mopped the floor. We took the woman on a huge walk, around and around. 
    "Let's go home," we said. 
    "I am dreaming of a cinnamon roll. Wouldn't that be so nice?" 
    "Exactly," EllaMae said. "And your dream is coming true..."
    That was the beginning of the miracle. I had hardly finished my final bite of that gorgeous pastry, when they called us to the hospital again.
    This was for real! The baby was born. An ugly little thing. Stuck too long in the birth canal. But we didn't care. Hop, skip, jump! It was alive. The bruises would go away. And the shape of a baby's head, can't ruin him forever.

     Then,. off to Laogone with another sick lady. Why? Maybe because we are addicted to the bouncy trail?!
     This poor lady's diagnosis is not quite clear to our doctor. It seemed like she had some sort of whole body infection, along with anemia, and fluid retention. She had arrived with fevers, at times. Her blood pressure held high, for the most part, and she was in a lot of discomfort. We are hoping that she can find a specialist in the Saint Croix hospital in Laogone.
     Please pray for her and her partner. He is not a believer, and seems to be very full of fear. She really loved when we prayed with her, and seemed to relax after we spent time with her. 
    After a day like this, we were all thrilled when Donny and Thea got the gift of a gorgeous handcrafted bread. It means so much when the Haitians are thankful like this!
  Have a good week, everyone! We appreciate all that you do for us. God bless you!
    -Rhoda for the crew

Friday, January 16, 2015

A Long Night

It was Thursday 
​evening ​
when we got the call, the second lady in labor. T
​his would be our second​
 baby in 2015! 
 The first baby
​ boy​
 was born 
 in the evening. We radioed down to clinic to see how things were going, the only reply was a baby crying! Ro
​Ellamae ​
and I grabbed our stuff and head
 see what was up with our lady. After seeing the new baby boy we checked 
​the laboring lady
 and decided that we could go back home and get some
​ much needed​
o my 
​great ​
disappointment my sleep was interrupted abruptly
​ by insistent​
 banging on the gate.
Off to clinic we 
 not realizing that this 
 be a long night
t was 12:
Figuring by the looks of things
 this baby would come fast. 
​decided to stay and wait things out
​but  unfortunately​
 the baby 
​didn't want to make its appearance into the world quite yet 
​After talking and laughing loudly, and waking up Hans with our rendition of  "Thumbody Special",  we decided that it would be well worth it to try and get some sleep even knowing it was highly unlikely . ​
​Surprisingly ​
Ro and I 
​slept while Ellamae was kept busy ten​ding to the laboring mother. 
​Suddenly Ro and I 
were awakened by Ella
​mae's ​
It's coming
​, the baby is coming​
​" Ro jumped up and ran into the room so fast, she forgot her glasses and shoes leaving her running around the room in her socks. 
I got up so quickly that I felt very dizzy, running into the
​to find
 every thing was 
​in a chaos
      Praise the Lor​d a healthy screaming baby boy was born at 5:45 am.
Three weary but silly, tired, happy nurses walked home ready to get cleaned up and rested before the busy day got started.
 Mis Marcile 

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Another Bonjour

A good day.

I sighed as Rho and I walked together down to the clinic this morning.   Rho wondered aloud what it meant.   I laughed, "Oh, nothin' really, I just don't really feel like going to clinic today."   She laughed too.  What else can you do? :)
When I'm actually working in the clinic, I'm usually loving it, but sometimes looking ahead at it from the morning's perspective, it looks like more socializing than I think I'd love for my day. :]

But, as usually goes, by the time I greet each familiar friend en-route there, the normal handful of return patients, along with a general greeting to all the rest of the patients filling the benches, I've also greeted the day's work and let go of my little morning anti-social grudge.  

That was me this morning.   Enjoying the quiet, beautiful morning at home, lost in a jungle of thoughts while scrambling eggs for breakfast.

Maybe that's why eight o' clock came  more quickly than I expected, hurrying us over to Donny's house for devotions.    

We had quite a chucklesome song-service.  Most of us have colds and coughs cinching our vocal chords together right now, making our singing voices sound more like swelling squawks.

 It wasn't too noticeable 'til we got to the soprano's solo refrain of "When Peace Like A River".  I caught Marcile's smiling eye one too many times and that was the end of trying to be proper.  I think it was the first time I've burst out laughing during that song!  I was just glad I wasn't the only one who did. ;)

But peace like a river had pretty well ran off my mind as we walked through the clinic gates this morning, greeting more people and sizing up the crowd ahead of us.

I wondered if Mali would have to use some more pro-active crowd-control tactics again.   

Monday had been crazy, thirty blood pressure patients trying to crowd in all at once 'til she finally somehow shut the outer grated door, climbed up its rungs, and used it for a podium to preach to her patients about patience.  

And no wonder, there were 100 people that day!  Four of those were brought in on cots, thankfully none of which were critical emergencies. Later that night, Mali and I attended our first birth of the year- a chunky little boy!   And later the same night, actually early the next morning, Rho, Marcile, and Ellamae delivered another baby, a girl.

I guess that's what makes working here both exciting and stressful, the not knowing who may show up and how many may come and what they may have...:)

So back to this morning, now in the clinic and through all the staff greetings, I headed to the hospital room to visit the couple of patients who were still there from Monday, along with a couple new ones from yesterday.

First there was 30 year old Luckson, way too young to have a stroke.  But with a history of a blood pressure up to 230/140, and not taking meds faithfully, we're pretty sure that's what he's had, leaving his whole right side completely limp. 

Across the room is 12 year old Daline.    Her mother says she hasn't slept for two weeks, and won't talk or eat.   Other than a slight fever, she seems to have nothing else to help us determine the cause.   But then her mother tells us that she has some kind of evil spirit on her, and that the dad put something on their house.   

We asked Pastor to come pray for her, and after he did, she fell sound asleep.  These are the hardest cases to deal with, when healing is a choice they have to make.   A choice to repent from sin and accept freedom from a God who delights in freeing us!  

Please pray for this young girl and her family!   We had a nearly identical case awhile back that ended in the girl dying, but we- and they know that it's a problem beyond our power. 

 That's why we're praying and asking for your prayers too.  Satan loves to steal and kill, and as long as they refuse to choose the protection of the blood of Jesus, they're left vulnerable to demonic attacks like this...

Occupying the last two beds there's 80 year old Joseph (above), a sweet little sick Grandpa, and 33 year old Benadette (below) who's right foot suddenly opened into one big rotten sore that Kin so gallantly addressed despite the stench and sight.  

After Fre Noez ended his morning devotional and we started our normal clinic day, it ticked right along and by 2:00 Rho was mopping us all out the clinic doors.

Back home over lunch, I remembered 24 year old Cilene, a first-time expectant mother who came in nine months pregnant today.  I first noticed her belly, and then her blood pressure of 170/100.  

When I went to measure her, I jokingly asked her, "How many babies DO you have in there?"  She laughed and told me that there's twins and triplets in her family's history.   
"Oh, really?!?"  I was exclaiming, not asking, thinking that was very interesting, especially as I looked down on her very rotund belly again!  

Feeling more than one baby's worth of bumps and hearing a strong heartbeat in more than one place was enough to send me looking for Rho.  

With our ancient sonography machine, we looked as best as we could, and changed our question from "Maybe twins??" to "Could this be triplets???".  
I'm so excited to find out!  And I know they're eager to know too.  

When she went out and told her husband, he came back in and stood there staring almost speechless, shaking his head telling us he doesn't believe it!  :)  

We told them we couldn't tell for sure, but explained the dangers of them staying and gave them orders to get down to town asap, so hopefully we'll find out soon!  

The afternoon passed washing up lunch dishes, seeing Myron and Delwyn Zook off back to the States, along with Donny and Hans going out to Port to do our monthly meds shopping, dismissing three patients from the clinic, bringing in CLEAN laundry, blogging...and in between just about everything, stopping to greet all those familiar friends along the trail again, this time with a "Bonswa!", which I still usually like better than "Bonjour!" :)

Monday, January 5, 2015


 We are basking in the joy of vacation. Of sitting around the table clasping our coffee mugs after breakfast, discussing life and its mysteries. There is no rush to go to work!!
  Out come the scrub brushes, paintbrushes, brooms, mops, rags etc. The spiders flee for refuge against our energetic tearing thru their webbed homes. I am sure the tiles cringed at our scrubbing. The windows are now frames for the Haitian countryside instead of a piece of glass smeared with greasy handprints. The clinic has a fresh, hopeful look. Ready to face 2015!! Three cheers for a new year!!
                                              Marcile scrubbing away with her steady strength that we all love.
                                               Whit looks slightly unimpressed peeking from behind the 02 tanks.
     Manet, our boy that had a  burst umbilicus, nice and plump. Happy to help his 'Mama'(Whit) with the work.
                 While I was on call a young guy came in with a dislocated and fractured knee. I cringed to think of the pain that he was in... he had to bounce the whole way to TG. I held his hat over his face in hopes of at least shielding his face from the blazing, tropic sun. He did amazingly well and Hans drove carefully over the crazy trail. The trail was awful, packed with motto drivers flying up in the rat race of money. It was Dec.31 st and family from all over flock to celebrate and bring the new year in. The dust lay thick on everything by the time we reached town. We got him on an ambulance and sent him to P.A.P General Hospital.
I have nothing amazing to tell you all...finally  the time to catch up with all the 100+ misc. we had to do . We have one more day before we launch in to another year of work.
I loved this little devotional I found on January 1st.
"We are entering upon a new year-surely we cannot but believe, a new age. If we have rightly learned from the past, there lies before us a heritage of unspeakable blessing., which none of these vivid metaphors can too strongly describe ;infinite sources of blessing for the fountains and water brooks are but the figures of God's illimitable grace. Let us claim the inheritance in these coming days, and find the hardest places of lifes experience God's greatest opportunities and faith's mightiest challenge."-A.B. Simpson
Wishing you all a wonderful new year
-Mis Mali

Friday, December 19, 2014

Christmas! And Other Miracles

Merry Christmas!!!
  Merry Christmas! We had a beautiful day for a party today. We threw our cultural qualms aside, and invited all of our clinic staff over for a Haitian/American meal. It was sunny and funny. We tried to sing a couple Christmas songs, and ended up relying quite a bit on the piano for the harmony, because the Haitians here in the hills are quite accepting of one part choruses. Of course, Haitians love little speeches, so we stood up and thanked everyone, and clapped, and remembered how special everyone is to us. Doctor Felix reminded us to look for our reward in Heaven, not here on earth, or in dollars and gouddes.

  Oh, yeah, and the gifts! Hats for the men, and scrubs for the girls...In the photo below, Doctor Mainviel won the fight for the only tiny baby present, Mis Leda's newborn.

      So many good and bad things have been happening, I don't know where to start. One morning we woke up to hear that the neighbor, Joatase had passed away. She is a mother of two beautiful children, and a long-standing friend of ours. We walked around dazed and weepy, wondering if Joatase was in heaven. Her mom had been tying charms on her body as her weakness became worse, but we were shocked that death came and claimed her now, at age 25. We had put her on IV numerous times during her pregnancy since the end of last year, and had sent her out to town for various blood tests. All her tests came back clear, but we continued to treat her malnutrition, and visited her in her house frequently. So, now,she is dead, and there are two lovely babies, needing to be loved. Needing a safe place to grow up, away from their Grandma, who is not a Christian...Ouch, and Sigh. Prayer. Tear drop again. And, I can't help but wonder is Jesus wiping a tear today, too?
    That same morning another patient came with an unusual sickness, which we felt was a pretty obvious curse, not a physical illness. It was dragging us down, unconsciously. I told the girls, "I just feel like we need a miracle from God to lift us up again. We know that God is in control, but death and spiritual defeat in too many people can make us feel like there is nothing at all that we do that is helping anyone."
    God sent us that miracle the next day!
    But in a little side-note here, I must insert a quick thanks to Paul Van Hemel, and his friends, Tim, and Lamothe. They brought us Peanut M&M' last Saturday.....and little toy ambulances to hand out to our children at clinic. I have to say that they both are wonderful. I am eating M&M's right now, and wanting to yell," It's Christmas!"
    And. They brought two medals to hang around our necks on days when we need a lift. They say WINNER on the strings. We have been having fun throwing them on our fellow nurses to make them smile.
     So, when we got home after the miracle...Kindra greeted Marcile and I by throwing the medals around our necks...
     Now for the miracle story. Marcile and I were gauging the progress of a birth Thursday morning. It was the mom's first pregnancy, and she had been married for five years. She seemed to be extremely popular in the community. For three hours, even if we did augment her labor, no progress was made in the extraction of the baby. Some of our Haitian staff came and prayed with us, but we still felt we were close enough to losing the baby, that we better hit the trail. The whole clinic was kind of a mess as we pulled out with a popular lady, strung up on IV, and in active labor.
    After we had bounced on the trail for about 10 minutes, we asked Hans to pull off the trail to re-arrange the lady, and make her comfortable. About that very minute, the baby seemed to be unlocked from it's shoulder dystocia, or whatever the hold-up was, and that little girl swooped into the world.
     One wonderful Haitian, who works for our former Doctor, Michael Rudolph, walked up right then and offered to drive our machine into the safety of their property. From then on, he proceeded to get us a bucket of water, string up a blanket in the tree, and be an angelic presence.
     Before long, we were able to stabilize the mom from her traumatic delivery, swaddle the baby in a hunk of blue cloths, and bounce down the trail to the hospital.
    I have never had such a dynamic return from an emergency. Patients and staff alike yelling,"Praise the Lord! Look at the miracle! God is great!" It was such an assurance of God's work again. Our clinic was basically rocking with joy. We just walked around smiling.
     We still have to smile when we think of it. I echo the words of Fre Nores, "Be careful. This is God's clinic! If you are going to come here, we are going to be praying."
     Merry Christmas to everyone! God is so wonderful! Love to you all, Rhoda