Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Hope! for the Penniless!

    "Come in," I said, as I welcomed our first evening visitor in the door. "I will make a bed for you." It was Thursday evening, and I was just leaving the clinic, after getting the first two people comfortable. Two more patients came, needing beds for themselves and their chaperones.
    I pulled a mat down from the attic, and then, ran out to the wash line for a sheet. This was like having company. What fun! By now, every single bed was being filled, and there were at least 13 people in our little hospital room.
    The reason it was fun, was because it wasn't any emergency. We were gathering our appointments together to take to Mirabale, five hours away, where there was a beautiful, up-to-date hospital. We were hoping they could fix our problems!
     By the time we got done getting everyone settled down, and making sure they all had someone to go along with them, it was time for the people to get to bed if they were going to get any sleep before midnight.
    At the strike of twelve, our trip was to begin. We handed out Dramamine for carsickness, and got everyone awake. Soon we were  stacked somewhat sensibly into our Landrover.
     Then we bounced and rocked the five hours to our destination. When we arrived, somewhat sleep-deprived, we stumbled out of the machine, and toured the beautiful Mirabale site. It was like a dream hospital come true.  Black metal woodwork stood out brightly against a clean white hospital wall. The fresh morning air flowed through the open windows. Lines of patients already waited at the walkways to the entrance.
   We wondered around, and I grasped a life-saving cup of coffee, by the street side. A sweet girl came to talk to me while I drank it. "I don't need Haitian friends again," she said. " I have a White."
     Then we bought a spaghetti breakfast with chicken for all our starving patients. Our poor little old mountain men didn't see anything wrong with just throwing the chicken bones anywhere. It made for some good grins, and a couple embarrassing stories, until they got it all gobbled up. The spaghetti, smeared with ketchup, and mayonnaise, needed to be  sufficiently swiped off the tile floor after the repast. Along the way, the importance of using the public restrooms in the provided places needed to be enforced. You can only imagine. Or, please don't!
     Finally, after hours of trying to lean on benches, and drape our eyelids over our eyeballs, we actually were allowed to see the doctor.Our brave little grandpa, with one good foot, hopped along bravely into the doctor's office. It was now 1:30 in the afternoon, at least, and we had been at the hospital for seven hours. Our two little girl patients looked pretty normal, but the large wounds on our two old men, were oozing, dirty, and fly-tempting by now. It was humiliating to present them to the Doctor in this way, but he was very gracious!

                                    
    One by one, they diagnosed the wounds, hernia, and lumps. They labeled them as operable, for the most part. It was not the time to be depressed! We had a place to go with our big, long-term cases, and we were getting EXCITED. Steve helped set up appointments with the doctor and his assistant for the 10th of June. They hope to continue the treatment plans, make more biopsies, or tests as required.
   Then, we waited some more, until a CAT scan could be made for our bed-sore man. He was so sweet. His sore hurt him so bad, and they had even taken a biopsy. By now, he must be in unimaginable agony!
   "Are you all willing to come back for your appointments," we asked.
   "Oh, Doctor," they all chorused, "whatever you say!"
    Steve smiled and shook his head.
    It was, at this point, edging on 4:30 pm, and we were hitting the trail home. Such throwing up as commenced to ensue. The smells, lack of sleep, and overwhelmingly full vehicle added sensations you may not wish to imagine. We were asked to take two patients from another party along, who were leaving the hospital, to their home in Port-au-Prince, since we were passing that way. As we went that way, we were able to get stuck in traffic. That block-up lasted for an hour or two, which for me, was the longest stretch of sleep I had since a long time ago.
   By now, it is dark, and we thought "Happy Hour" as we pull into a restaurant. It WAS great food. And, then, as we pulled out onto the highway, they pulled out the tin vomit cans again.
    We got home about 11:00pm. After tucking our remaining patients into bed, we said to ourselves. "Bed? or Blog?"
     Shall we sleep over it, or tell the world about it, so they can help us make this happen and change many more lives in Haiti?!

     P.S. To those of you who donated to the hernia girl--she is getting her operation on the 10th of June.
   
   
   
     
   
   

Friday, May 23, 2014

Three Haitians...




Three Haitians whose lives could see significant changes; because of God's grace and the prayers and generosity of YOU! 
We've spent the day in Mirebalais, about a six hour drive from rural Allegre. We have four patients with us; the little 8 year old girl in yellow needs a hernia repair, the 15 year old girl in the striped shirt needs a biopsy for strange lumps on her arm, and older man needs foot surgery. Lord willing they will  all be receiving the care they need in 2 weeks, here in Mirebalais! Today they were all getting checked out for potential surgery. The fourth one, also an older man, was biopsied today and also received a CT scan for a bad abscess at the base of his spine. We will be waiting the biopsy results.

The exciting thing? That we were able to find this kind of sympathetic, professional care at the highest surgical levels- right here in Haiti! And this hospital does the work 100% free of charge! Granted, we need to spend about 12 hours on the road for a round trip out here, which is difficult to arrange. But it is worth it for this kind of helpful service!

I think Rho will give a more complete report on our trip today (hint-hint Rho:) but suffice it to say that we're very excited to have developed a connection with this newest, largest, most modern hospital in Haiti, and we'd love you to join us in praying that this connection would grow and expand- allowing us to reach out and help more of the serious long-term type cases that we've been relatively helpless with before! A few specifics...
-Thank God for Surgeon Ward and Doctor Mandigo's willingness to email back and forth, arrange appointments, and take the time to provide skillful compassionate help to the patients we bring. 
-Pray for a dedicated couple to fill the position (currently open) of Clinic Director here at GTH. This would help open and expand the opportunities. 
-Pray for funding in several areas; including ongoing medical support, funds to build a long-term care/bandaging room/rooms at the clinic, and for a dedicated vehicle for emergency and medical appointment transport. 

Thank you for your support. It is helping people like Emanès, Dieutanne, Vitrene and Marie- every single day, right here in Haiti. May Christ bless you...


Sent from Steve's iPhone

Monday, May 19, 2014

Girl Doll Comes Alive!

     Good-morning, Pappie! This little old man with a big sore on his foot must not be feeling too bad. He is waiting to go out to a bigger doctor, now that most of the rotten flesh has been removed from his leg. We would like to see if there is a chance that he could have a skin graft.

     Mali and I have a story we want to tell. Miracles happen when you work in God's spot.
     Friday morning a pregnant lady was sitting in line, waiting to be consulted. She was groaning and things looked a little urgent, so we brought her right into the exam room to see if anything was extraordinary about the case.
     Unluckily, she was in labor, and only pregnant for six months. We were hoping that it was only a teaser, but  her labor continued throughout the work day. By the time we were done seeing the other patients, we decided we should send her out to town, to await whatever was going to happen. The prognosis for a six month preemie baby here in Haiti isn't very cheerful, so we thought maybe in every respect, it would be better if she could be closer to larger doctors.
     By now, rain was beginning to dump down from the sky. We weren't sure what to do, because the road was not very conducive to sending a pregnant lady out the trail.
    By the time the rain had stopped, and we were ready to send a machine, the lady refused to go.
    "I am going to have my baby," she warned Mali.
    "Don't push," Mali replied.
    No matter what, in a matter of minutes, the baby was indeed born.
  

"The baby was born," Mali called on the radio. By that point I was already on the trail to the clinic.
   I have never seen such a plucky, little preemie newborn. I was sure there was no chance of life, but she surprised me. I quickly severed the cord and we went to put the little doll on oxygen.
    Before long, our little squad was bouncing out the trail, with the baby wrapped in a crackly, silver emergency blanket. It was scary, and I felt like my forehead would be permanently creased from the strain. But as we went, and she kept breathing, we started really hoping the miracle would continue and we would have time to arrive at the hospital. Every now and then, we would stop the  machine to see if that little heart was still beating.
      Steve started cracking jokes, and we laughed. There was the mom, retching and vomiting, but we were too emotionally frazzled to even care when her bag of throw-up flew out the window, splattering its contents all over the outside of the Landrover's window. Yuck, but what could we do...and the baby was still breathing in that oxygen.
    Almost every time we would peek inside the little emergency blanket, the little angel would wave her long, minute fingers as if to say, "Did you think that I was planning to stop living now?"
    We breathed a sigh of relief when that white hospital came into view. A good, Mexican-born doctor met us inside the emergency unit, and asked us if we talked English. We breathed a sigh of relief, and followed her into the neonate unit. That little heart was still tapping. How long, we don't know. But I believe in miracles. And I thanked the Lord for this one. What a happy Friday! By now it was almost eight o'clock, and Mali and I were beginning to starve now that our adrenaline was draining out! But we couldn't stop smiling. Or praising the Lord for that heartbeat!
   
   

Sunday, May 18, 2014

The Joys

     Each day we see pain in the eyes of the young,
     Old, withered, people who've suffered so long.
     Eyes filled with darkness and faces of fear
     Somedays it's hard to see Joy through the tears.

     It's then that our God sends us down gifts of Joy;
     Smiles on the face of a once dying boy,
     Bubbling laughter from a miserable face,
     Or a miracle happening in a sad, hopeless, case.
    
     In the midst of the stresses He sends us the grace
     To cling to the beauty- the joys to embrace
     For just as there is sunshine after the rain,
     So there is beauty-our strength through the pain.

 
                                              This is our favorite, 'special' baby.
               Each morning she comes she cheers all of us nurses with her priceless little face.

 

    A VERY cute lil cupcake who was born for Ro and Mali after a smooth, uncomplicated, birth.





            I'm hoping some of you remember Danise, a sweet girl who came in over a year ago
             with a badly rotten foot. We've been bandaging her ever since, and just this week
              I told her she doesn't need to come back anymore. I love her happy smile!




                         This is a little guy Whit held all the way to town as he fought for life.
                       This week he came back, smiling from ear to ear and in stable condition.



                                        Let's thank God for the joys today! - Mis Kate

Monday, May 12, 2014

Happy National Nurses Day!!!

Hey I'm the new nurse!!! Mali Villeneuve from the beautiful country of Canada...So thankful to have grown up in a French home as I have a good head start on Creole!!!
  
   Its rainy season and the air is cooler, the palm fronds whisper in the breeze and you can almost imagine that it's cold!!! We woke up to a rainy ,sunless day....kinda felt dreary(doesn't help that its Monday morning and we sorta had a hard weekend.) Whit and I carefully step around the puddles, balancing boxes of meds and calling out "Bonjou!!" to everyone as cheerily as possible. Music is floating out the door of the clinic...Surprises are in the air!!  Kate comes out of the exam room with a big, cheery smile " Happy National Nurses Day girls!!!!" Don't ask me what time she got up but there was coffee cake, hot coffee, candles, music and cards by all our stations with a bright red hibiscuses smiling beside....It was a slow day and we had fun....Here are all of us nurses and Pharmacists.
Our jolly Fre Derek that Mis Rhoda crowned the "Big Boss" of the day. He is like a grandpa to us nurses...
Our hard weekend....Rho got called to the clinic at around 6 on Saturday night. About 45 minutes later she calls on the radio and we detect some alarm in her voice. Kate ran out to join her. Fifteen minutes later Whit and I can't stand not knowing what's going on so we run out to join the girls. A handsome little boy of 12 is bravely fighting the battle to live. He is on oxygen and IV, we can't get a BP, his body temp is 95.4, he's spitting blood...he grabs our hands and searches our eyes for hope. Rho calls for the ambulance....we get him ready to leave. The last we saw of him was his little face looking up at us that look of desperation and longing to be able to breathe and grow up was all over his face. I squeezed his hand and smiled through my tears. We got the report 2 hours later that he died 20 minutes from the hospital.  Kinda had us all in a somber mood for the weekend....
 
On a happier note...
Mis Whitney's foot boy was declared fit to leave for home....Whit bandaged it for the last time...for 4 months she's taken care of him, worried, prayed....and now Jean Frantz grins from his perch on top of the mule...Did I see Whit wipe a tear??Was it sadness? Joy? I'd call for both!!
-Mis Mali