Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Bone Irrigation and other Projects

    It is 1:30. Kindra is sleeping. But not much longer. This is her last dream before a knock clangs on the compound gate. Our cute little neighbor lady is in labor.
We met each other in the beautiful light of such an hour. An hour when the world is asleep and adventure awaits the rest of us. Adventure comes in all sizes. This time it included a close-to-tragic birth. I never get tired of saying births are miracles. But the thing is, working so closely with life and death is like tight-rope walking. One minute life progresses in full swing. The next it loses it's vibrance and fades. And then it is not retractable.
    After hours of coaching a weakening woman, we were tired. I went for a lollipop. The woman began begging for Oxytocin. I began resisting. I respect that stuff. I was still fighting against it, as morning dawned, and all the rest of the world woke up. The lady was hugging me, begging me, and crying for the augmented labor. Finally fear overtook fear, and we started an IV. Then, in due respect, we pushed a small syringe of Oxytocin into the IV bag. We waited and waited. No progress, but the mom's strength was beginning to wane. Kindra and I started praying out loud. The witch doctor, who was present, by default, stood there looking on, and coaching. The baby, another night patient, who was throwing up outside, finally inhaled enough of medicine to leave us to tend the pregnant mom. Things became somewhat quiet and tense.
Finally, at about 8:15, in a whoosh of ugly meconium stained debris, a baby writhed into the world. Not breathing. By now, the two of us sounded rather desperate and drained as our prayers begged the Lord for one more miracle. That silver thread of breath. And, praise the Lord, He did the miracle. Kindra and I were singing as if we had overslept. Our adrenaline was overdosed. Kendra assured us that the swollen faced baby was the cutest one she had ever seen.
   By now,it was truly morning, and the kind folks at the mission had bequeathed us with 2 mugs of coffee apiece. Which was just what we needed. It was not too much. A huge day awaited us.
     More Adventure? Adventure in the form of a dying little boy this time. As we hooked up the oxygen to a baby whose eyes were wobbling around in his head, we felt hopeless. Eyes are not meant to be marbles. Kate's face told the story as she called us over to look. Not much hope. Stats were unstable.
    “He's dehydrated,” she said, and went to ask our Haitian senior nurse to start an IV. She couldn't do it. The little veins were hiding or collapsing.
      Was this baby even able to make the road to town? He was slipping away. Time went stalking, and stopped. Kate and I looked at each other. “Is there a death angel in this room?”
     I looked at Steve and Katie. “We have one more option,” I said. “I've watched a video on giving Intraosseous infusion. Do we want to try it?”
     “We are a team,” they agreed. Time went stalking again as we looked at the papers to refresh details that I had forgotten. In slow motion, we each took part in encouraging, administering, and securing the scary, life-saving device just below the little child's knee cap. The little red drill buzzed away, determined to stare death in the face and at least put up an honest fight. Kate flushed the bone with clean, pure saline, and I felt the liquid flowing into the bone through his thin skin.

     Another miracle. We watched the fluid drip-drop into the tibea. That leg bone. That long, dying bone. We stared, and blinked. Our minds stepped out of trauma into turf again as we loaded the little peg-legged boy into a waiting transport machine, and covered his toes with socks.
     We don't know. We will wait to hear. Is he alive? Did the doctors help him soon enough?
And then we went finish our work day with everyone else who was waiting with little purple rendezvous papers.
     And, Kate, well, she flew right into a big stitch job. Let it up to Steve to sprinkle in the cayenne pepper and stop the bleeding. Thanks for that natural remedy. It worked, happily.

     I don't know what to say, because God is so good. I love this staff we have and I love these poor Haitian people. That's how I am feeling right now. God bless you all for your prayers for us. -Mis Woda