Wednesday, November 26, 2014
A Piece From My Perspective
Ok. I'm just trying to write a simple blog post. Not a big deal, right? But getting it started has felt like trying to start an engine on an empty tank. Despite a little fooling sputter (or perhaps a sputtering fool, as I'm beginning to wonder about in my case), it simply doesn't get anywhere. :/ So why do I keep trying, even after the um-teenth futile attempt? I guess I'm still hopeful that somehow it'll just start going. I think maybe it's starting...though I haven't proved to myself that it isn't just a downhill coast yet. :] Usually when the going gets this hard, its cause I've taken a wrong turn, trying to force my train of thought to fly on the highway, when I really just need to find the tracks again. And since I wasn't intending to write a blog about blogging, let me get back on track...
Clinic life. People. Medical cases.
Ah, much better.
It's no wonder I'm feeling so sidetracked, considering *public confession* it's been a couple months since I've blogged! :/ And not just a normal couple of months. I'd say crazy, but that's standard, and I think "standard" has been raised. So it's been CRAZY. But rather than employing every excuse that I feel is applicable in my defense, I'll just include you in some of the craziness and hope your sympathetic response will be summoned to the cause of my blog negligence. ;) But I won't waste my time trying to revive my memory from two months ago, instead I'll test my short-term memory ability and see if I can still pull up last week. That ought to give you an ample sample of recent clinic culture!
Rho and Hans were gone with a group of heart patients seeing a visiting heart doctor in another hospital. Had a very busy day at clinic with around 100 people, but thankfully no real emergencies.
Not quite as many people, but two strange cases involving one two year old girl who seemed to have nothing wrong with her other than that she refused to swallow anything but water. We tried multiple times to put in an IV, but never were able to get one that ran well. We wondered what exactly we were working with...physical sickness or spiritual problems? We've seen and heard of cases where there's been a curse put on someone simply making them unable to swallow till eventually they die. It's such a demonic tactic, to cut off our source of life and kill like that!
The other case was a very sick, very fat 15 month old baby with very congested lungs and trouble breathing that we put on meds and oxygen. We kept both little girls in our hospital room to stay so we could continue monitoring them.
We're beginning to wonder if having 100 or more patients a day is going to be the new normal! Makes for a very full clinic. We've already been dreaming of adding a few more rooms to move around in and getting more meds for the growing need. Not hinting, really. :)
Mali and I took a hike with Fre Noaz in the afternoon after clinic to visit an old man, Aginol, whose wife recently died. As soon as we got back, we went with Hans on the machine to pick up Fre Gevan, the man with the broken back so he could spend the night in our hospital and leave early the next morning to get back surgery in Mirabale.
Hans and Rho left at two in the morning for Mirabale!
When we got to clinic in the morning, Fre Noaz was already almost finished praying, which meant that we didn't have any time before clinic opened to get most of our bandage patients through, which we usually try to do. Then there were people everywhere, overflowing the benches and lining the fences behind them. We had close to 140 patients that day!
We often get a lot of pressure from patients to get them seen quickly, not because it's late in the day, but because many of them have a few or more hour hike home and want to make it there before dark. We do our best, but on days like Thursday, the pressure can get a little hot, testing our patience and endurance with impatient patients and with each other. I think for the first time that I remember, I sat down at the end of the day and just let the stress run from my eyes! :]
Besides the crowd of regular patients, the fat baby that had come Tuesday took a turn for the worse and we ended up sending her out to town, only to hear she died shortly after getting there. Mali had checked her blood sugar when she first came, to rule out diabetes, but her sugar was normal. They checked it again in town, and it was 500. But it was too late.
Another very sick-looking 24 year old boy, Wilfred, was brought in on a cot. Everything from his stomach down was swollen so tight with fluid it seemed like it'd be impossible for his skin to stretch any farther without bursting. He's seen other doctors before, and came to us asking if we could drain the water off his stomach again. I told him the doctor was coming the next day, but I wondered how much longer he could live in his condition. I asked him if he was saved. He said he was.
In the afternoon, another old man was brought in with severe stomach pains. We treated him as much as we could and gave him a bed to stay the night.
Rho and Hans made it back just at the tail end of clinic, exhausted from their virtual all-nighter trip, but happy to be back!
Around 10:00 that night, we got a knock on the gate reporting a man with a cut on his head. They told us it was caused by a rock. We girls had been in the middle of having a girls' night, so we all went down together and had a blast whipping up a stitch job with all hands on deck! :) In the process, we found out that the cut was actually the result of a fight over one dollar that another guy owed him. :]
Woke up early morning to a knock on the gate by the husband of a woman in labor, who came wondering if we could come pick her up on the trail. We questioned him out a bit and, learning it was her first, we explained that it'd probably be better if she walked here to help her labor increase. He seemed to understand that well and went running back to help her walk here.
Shortly after that, as we were eating breakfast, we heard loud wailing start up at the clinic. We knew that meant someone had died. My first thought was Wilfred. Mali and I jumped up and ran down to find out. We were surprised to find it was the old man that had come in with severe stomach pains the day before. It seemed so strange, and saddening that we couldn't do more but put his body in a body bag and comfort the family before heading back home to finish our breakfast in preparation for the rest of the day ahead.
When we got back to clinic, the mother in labor was waiting for us, and we, surveying the sizeable crowd of patients again overflowing the benches, were quite grateful to confirm that she wouldn't be having her baby too soon!
The DR came and performed a parasinthesis on Wilfred. We kept a close tab on his vitals as he drained off 12,000ml of fluid! (And no, that's not a typo)
As soon as clinic was over, Mali and I left on the machine with Donny to go to the funeral of the baby girl who had died, and also to give a ride home to a dear little old man who was so crippled he could barely walk.
A ways up the trail we passed a moto driver who yelled in passing something about the road being blocked ahead. Sure enough, a couple-foot high blockade of rocks around the next bend forced us to stop. We got off and walked far enough past it to see several more road blocks farther up the road, along with a very rowdy crowd of young guys that came running down the road toward us.
We started to wonder if maybe we shouldn't be there. They quickly made us know we shouldn't be.
"Go!" "Go fast, and get out of here!" And we did. They were adamant that nobody would be passing the road, no matter what the reason. We were able to get some explanation as they marched us back to our machine.
They told us that the former mayor of Ti Goave was up in the mountains for a party and would soon be going back down. They were full of hate for her, and pretty much told us that they would be doing us a good service if they could kill her.
We did get out of there fast, driving back the trail quite a ways and up the next mountain, giving us a clear view across the valley to where they were waiting for her convoy of machines to confront them. Many excited Haitians gathered with us to see what would happen. Before long we heard them coming behind us, soon passing us in a cloud of colorful chaos...a swarm of honking motos, surrounding two go-cart looking rigs blaring music and flying recklessly fast down the trail.
Wild story mild, they roared past us and we watched nervously as they wound up the trail across the valley and came up to the road block. The group of guys there quickly spread out across the steep hill overlooking the road and began hurling rocks and stones down at the exposed drivers, one of which was the mayor lady.
We shuddered as we heard the threatening sound of gunshots being fired into the air and watched all the stone-hurlers drop to the ground for safety, except for a couple who stood undaunted, ready and willing to die on the spot. The road blocks were soon moved and the caravan continued on till the next village, where we heard there was another confrontation, a closer call for the mayor as it sounded.
We followed on far behind, the funeral we originally left for being long-since over, but we went ahead and visited the family after we had taken the little old man home. We were so glad we were able to stop and spend time comforting the mother, who was still pretty distraught. The father kindly assured Mali that she wasn't to fault. He said they saw how she did her best doing everything she could for their baby, and that it was in God's hands.
We got home just in time to eat supper, over which we got another knock on the gate, someone telling us that the mother in labor was getting close.
Another jog to the clinic, another check confirming that the baby would be coming soon, and then the wait... till baby was born at 10:00. Other than the mother needing a couple stitches, everything went very well, and we were glad it was over before too late.
That same night, however, Rho and Marcile got called down to another birth, this one being a neighbor lady who came and had her baby without them and went right back home a few yards away after they cleaned things up! :) We were all grateful the third woman in labor who also arrived Friday and was staying at the clinic didn't decide to have her baby that night to. :)
I was on call for the weekend, so I went down in the morning to check on our full hospital room of patients. Rho and Marcile came down to check on the laboring mother, who despite all her so "woi-ing" was still not very far along.
As a growing number of non-emergency people continued wandering in from the road to buy meds for headaches and coughs, and asking to be seen for other such maladies, I finally just walked off to hide in the depo for a few minutes and deal with my exasperation before coming back and calmly taking care of the patients I could and then explaining to the rest that the clinic is only open for emergencies on Saturday. Ah...Lord give me patience to be unselfish with my weekend! :]
A major bright spot in the morning, as I was taking Wilfred's vitals, his mom told me that he said he'd like to talk to a Pastor and be converted!
"Is that true?!?" I asked him. He nodded seriously. "You remember when I asked you the other day if you were saved and you said you were?"
Yes, he remembered. He said he had lied to me, but now he was ready to get saved! We called Fre Noaz down and he came and talked and prayed with him. It's a real encouragement to see the peace of his countenance despite the pain of his condition!
So what became of the last laboring mother? Rho and Marcile ended up spending most of their Sunday afternoon working with her till she finally delivered a big baby boy that evening, a very scary birth they said. They were very grateful that after all her hemorrhaging she made it through fine.
I wonder how many paragraphs ago your attention span timed out... Admittedly, I've begun to feel more like a drone plane, passing over many experiences at a less personal distance for sake of time, so maybe I oughta start looking for a good place to land... :)
There's much, much more from the last two months... Early October had Rho leaving for ten days with Janette Musser here to help fill in, followed by a two-week visit from two of my 15 favorite siblings;), our dear Kin coming back to work with us, many different patient cases...and everything else in between! :) I'd share some pictures, but with the way the internet is right now, I'll be doing well just to get this posted.
Thank you all for your interest and support! Remember us in your prayers! We often feel our weakness, and recognize that the only strength we have is what we find in the Lord. He knows how much we can handle, and though He stretches us to fill the shoes He gives us, He'll never make them too heavy for us to walk in! Have a blessed evening!