Thursday, September 29, 2016

  Monday dawned bright and clear. A perfect day for patients to travel to the clinic after a quiet weekend. The crowd waiting to be seen on the benches was huge when we arrived and it was obvious that this was going to be a long day with its share of challenges and opportunities.
  I put on my best face for the pushy crowd of older folks waiting to be seen for the hypertension program and began to assess them and listen to their complaints one by one. It's always refreshing when I ask how one of them is doing and the response is just a happy smile and the creole equivalent of "doing great!". However there are more that seem to require quite a bit of encouragement to look on the bright side of life.
   We have all been stretched a bit thin the last two weeks due to Kayla being gone on furlough and this being one of the busiest times of year. Monday was no exception. Clinic was finally wrapping up by mid-afternoon after over 140 people had been seen when a small man showed up all sweaty and excited saying that there was a lady in labor in Gran Fond (about a mile from the clinic) and that some how the guys that had been carrying the cot were no longer there and there was no way he could bring her down by herself. I decided I'd go ahead and drive up and pick her up as the situation sounded desperate enough. Halfway there I met a large crowd carrying her on a cot. Looked like her transportation was working fairly well but I stopped and let her and several other of her friends get on the UTV. One man who had been drinking kept trying to climb up and hang on the right side of the rig. I made sure he knew that it was not safe and that he couldn't ride their. Finally he gave up and we sorted out who was riding down with the lady and started off down the trail toward the clinic. Unfortunately a little ways down the trail the people riding with me frantically yelled at me to stop because that same guy had fallen off the right side while we were moving and was laying in the road behind me. He had somehow managed to hide out of my sight crouching on the right hand running board, slipped off because he was drunk and didn't have a good grip, and now had blood running from several cuts on the back of his head. After tying on a bandage to stop the bleeding we drove the last little stretch to the clinic where I cleaned up and dressed the fellow's wounds. He seemed a bit more subdued after that and stayed around the clinic for the rest of the afternoon because he had a headache which he claimed prevented him from walking home.
   The next evening Alyssa, Rachel and I ended up bouncing out the trail with this same lady due to her having complications and being unable to deliver her baby at the clinic.
   Around noon on Wednesday another laboring mother arrived who was very hypertensive with pre-eclampsia. She also didn't measure full term but she wasn't sure of her actual due date and had received no prenatal care. After doing everything we could Alyssa managed to bring her systolic BP down to around 180 from 215 and once again out the trail we went hoping to send her to the hospital in Fond des Blancs since they have excellent maternity care and OB services. We had planned to meet an ambulance at the hospital in Ti Goâve (the Ti Goâve hospital almost never has their maternity ward properly staffed) who would take her the rest of the way to her final destination but he got stuck behind an election campaign parade on his way back from Port au Prince and arrived an hour and a half after when he said he would.
   Delays and long waits are things one learns to deal with very early on when living in Haiti. They have a way of making you feel very helpless and insignificant and can be a great excersize in faith when things are out of your own control.
   Keep us in your prayers as Haiti is gearing up for a second try at a presidential election in a little more then a week. There is a lot of potential for instability and violence depending on how things turn out.
    Pray that we will all have the patience and grace to deal with frustrating circumstances the way that Jesus would and leave the battle in his hands.