Monday, July 17, 2017
The room was still and quiet, except for a steady whoosh of high flow oxygen rushing through a mask to provide life-support to the small form laying on the bed. The clock continued steadily ticking off the minutes, as we worked and prayed over the little lifeless baby on the bed. It had all begun with a phone call one Monday afternoon....saying that another nearby missionary was on his way to our clinic with a lady in labor. Upon her arrival, we found there were some severe complications, and we could not get a fetal heartbeat for the baby. Likely, he was dead a while before the mother's arrival at our clinic...sadly by the time these people sought our help, it was too late. As we began initial discussion of transport options for the mother, we soon realized we didn't have time to transport, and the baby was born into our hands, limp and lifeless. Then began our attempts to resuscitate and see if there was any chance of this little man reviving and making it. But it was not to be, and after a good while of resuscitation and watching the clock, we finally had to accept that there was nothing more to do, and the precious baby was in the arms of Jesus. The look on the dad's face as he saw his baby and heard us tell him that there is nothing more we can do, and the mother's emotional state and tears the following morning before she left, are things etched into my memory forever. Yet I am thankful we can rest, knowing the baby is safe with Jesus and doesn't have to suffer any pain here on earth. This is just one of the sobering and difficult situations from the last number of weeks here... and it all has made me do a lot of thinking.
Eternal life..... we all have it, but it's not a visible thing. Sometimes it is difficult to comprehend, and yet easy to forget, how every human being has an eternal soul that one day will live on after they have left this earthly sphere. One thing we see a lot here in Haiti is death. I have come face to face with it more often lately than I ever would wish to. We have had to resuscitate lifeless infants, and give the last bits of comfort care to a young, dying woman who was succumbing to the irreversible disease process raging through her body. It is so difficult and painful sometimes to watch... to see the families struggle, and crumble at the news of their loved one, or baby, dying. Yet....death is something that Haitians seem to accept as a reality, and sadly it too often is. One night as I lay thinking rather than sleeping, I thought about the young woman who was in our hospital room that night, dying. We sent her home the next day as there was nothing more we could do for her...and she did pass away just a short time later. But that night as I listened to the crickets, and the drunk neighbor singing to the countryside at 2am.... I pondered life, and the sobering reality that each of us, at one time or another, will meet the end of our lives, and our Creator. It just made me wonder...are we ready? Are we helping those we meet each day to be ready? Because it's just so very real, and none of us know how much time is left for us. May we be thankful for the gift of life each day, and use the time given us well. I am so very thankful for the love of God and the hope and courage we can have, even here, staring death and suffering in the face. Death itself is not the end... and there are far, far better things ahead, for those who love God.
Thankfully we have also been able to usher some new lives into this world lately, and that is another miracle all its own, and so beautiful. OK it's messy, and loud, and sometimes we're so tired and it's not super fun.... but it's beautiful. The first breath and cries of a newborn are one of the most beautiful sounds I've ever heard. The miracle that a tiny, brand new person is making their arrival into this big world is just always amazing. And each of them has a soul that will live on for eternity.
Our days at clinic continue to be busy, with more constant, moderate numbers of patients. Sixty to one hundred people in a day is common right now. We have had numerous more severe patients staying in our hospital room over the last number of weeks.... but at the moment the “hospital room” is nearly empty again.
Around 7am on Tuesday, July 4th, Kayla and Autumn were summoned to clinic for a lady in labor. They soon had delivered a little boy. But after a difficult labor and delivery, the baby was not breathing and did not have a pulse upon his arrival. They immediately began resuscitation and did get a pulse back, and eventually spontaneous breathing, though we kept him on oxygen. There was soon cause for concern though, as the baby appeared to be seizing. They were able to secure a flight for him to Fond des Blancs, a good hospital with a NICU.... so some of our crew went up to the landing zone with the baby, while a few of us others stayed at clinic to keep things going that morning. Thankfully everything went smoothly, and we got everything wrapped up in good time. We did get news that the baby died several days later, so please pray for the parents, as it was their first baby, and it is a difficult experience for them.
This little person thought it would be great to taste the stethescope. =) With the malnutrition and milk programs that we have at clinic, along with just regular consultations for sickness, we see quite a few children at the clinic on any given day.
This man ended up staying in our hospital room for a few days, and fast became a friend.
His wife also loved to talk and spent quite a bit of time talking with us about many things. It was so good just to sit and talk and get to know them.
That's it for now.... I better wrap up since I'm way overdue for this blog post. (Please forgive me. =)) Lately with some of the more complicated and difficult cases at clinic, it has been testing us... I have felt a keen need of wisdom and discernment beyond what I have. Please pray that God would provide the wisdom we need in each situation, to give the best and most appropriate care....and that we could not just care for physical bodies, but that we could minister to souls and impact them... not only for life here on earth, but for eternity too.