Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Long Days, Little Nights

Sometimes it's not the roses you need to stop and smell, but the stories you need to stop and tell.  I'm just not sure where to start and where to stop, cause it seems like so far everything that started happening a few weeks ago hasn't really stopped in between one thing and the next. :)

I don't think I can adequately condense three intense weeks into one bounded blog post.  There's simply an overwhelming quantum of details surrounding every aspect of every experience to be able to thoroughly explain why we've all been such negligent bloggers lately! :)

I'm remembering Tonton, a young man who came in with severe malaria a few weeks ago who died in our hands, just seconds after Hans had gotten an IV started in him.   I think what made me cry the most was how his family was so accepting, telling us it wasn't our fault, and thanking us profusely for all we did, leaving us with a gift of bananas.

And then the very traumatic delivery we had the next day of a 16 year old's first baby after another nearly sleepless Rara-filled night, and just how gratefully I cried that afternoon that, weak as it was, the baby was finally born and lived!

There's been so many experiences like that.  But it's definitely not all been death and drama.  There've been lots of very enjoyable cases too, like stitch jobs- from chins to shins and everywhere inbetween!  After holding so many people still for us to stitch, and getting such a close up view of the whole process so many times, Julien took on the last stitch job and mended like a pro!  :)


We've also been dealing with cholera again the last few weeks.  Just a slow but steady trickle of patients that has kept us busy keeping up on changing IV bags, dumping buckets of wormy diarrhea and vomit, and spraying everything and everyone in sight with Clorox water!  

I vaguely remember hearing the disrupting beep of my alarm this morning and desperately tapping the snooze, picking right back up where I left off in the very strange dream I was having of treating some lady whose legs looked like fish scales and were completely rotting off.  

She was beyond treatment though, and next thing I knew, a policeman rushed in, urgently informing me that we must send her home immediately because she was a part of the FBI and for some reason it was dangerous for us to keep her cause there were people after her.  She was oddly well and with it for how sick she was, emphatically affirming that she was indeed some very dangerous person...

It seemed like only seconds later that my mind surfaced to a rather relieving reality when Kin and I heard Hans' voice outside our door informing us that another cholera patient had arrived at clinic.   At least we can deal with cholera patients and not have to worry about them being some dangerous wanted person that we need to send away! :P :)

Kin and I looked at each other very groggily and then doubled over laughing out of sheer fatigue.  We knew last night that we'd have to pay back this morning for our night.

We had gotten a very relentlessly urgent sounding knock on the gate a little past 1:00am.  As I ambled out there to investigate, they hurried me up calling, "Come faster, come faster!"  "We have a really sick person at the clinic with cholera, and he's not talking!"

By the way it sounded, I was sure whoever he was must be nearly dead, and I sprinted off to pound a rock on the tower outside Hans' second-story bedroom to wake him up, and then ran back to our house to get Kin.  

A few minutes later we arrived breathlessly at the the clinic to find a 22 year old guy who did indeed have cholera, but thankfully wasn't nearly as dead as we'd expected to find him! 

We were slightly disgruntled, but decided we'd rather them take it overly seriously and come beat our gate down in the middle of the night than to wait too long and come too late. :]

It didn't take us long to get an IV started and give meds, and we were all back in bed somewhere around 2:00am.  But Kin and I weren't exactly feeling sleepy after all the adrenaline from our early jog!  

We decided that since it seems we're too busy to talk during the days anymore, that we might as well get it in at night!  And we did.  :).   We talked and laughed til we cried, about everything.  Even what we would do if we got cholera and were the ones running like open faucets... :].   It was good to laugh.

Sometimes that's all you can do about the kinds of situations you find yourself in down here!  And after seeing so much diarrhea lately- or dire rears, as some around here refer to it, it's usually the first question out of our mouth for every sick person that comes through the clinic gate, as to whether or not they have it too.  ;]

Anyway, we did go back to sleep a little after 4:00am, and that's why we laughed so hard again when we heard we had another cholera patient this morning.  We were remembering our night, and wondering why in the world we ever stayed awake and talked!  

Thankfully we had an amazingly easy clinic day, and other than another cholera patient that arrived this evening, we had a very quiet, peaceful day with no emergencies!  I even snuck in a long nap, which is no doubt why I haven't fallen asleep yet.  :P.  But the nap is definitely wearing off, and I'm feeling very ready for another.  :). 

Thank you all for your prayers!  I often wonder on a day like today, when everything seemed almost strangely peaceful, who all is praying! :). Please pray that the cholera will end!  We heard today that the number of cases is on the rise right now, so we're trying to get a game plan in place should we need to deal with it in a more large-scale.

One random pic, Hans and Julien getting their hair done at a friends' house where we went for a meal after clinic the other day...:)

All for now...
-whit