Thursday, August 30, 2018

Of Gods grace. 

I stepped into the loud crowd that came rushing into the waiting area. I knelt down over the cot on the ground and pulled the plastic down to expose her face. I resisted the urge to vomit and covered her face back up while I grabbed my stethoscope to see if I could hear a heartbeat. Heartbeat present. I ran to grab a blood pressure cuff and yelled for someone to call for Ben. BP was okay. I ran for IV supplies and opened up the entrances to our emergency room and instructed the family to bring the cot in. After getting an IV started and reassessing vital signs, I stood by her bed, whispered a prayer for wisdom and took another look at her head. It was hands-down the worst thing I’ve ever seen. I could see it was a middle aged woman by the gray hairs I saw on her head. Her face was flat. Nose sunken in, and a large whole in her forehead. Her check was wide open and her whole face moved with each breath. I could see into her forehead and I’m honestly not sure what all I was seeing but the scull was crushed and I could see inside the hole which exposed all manner of things and the thought crossed my mind that I could possibly be looking at her brains. Unfortunately, I couldn’t “read he mind”. She was unconscious and only made random involuntary movements with her one hand. After asking lots of questions, I discovered that she’d been working in her garden with her husband and a large rock rolled down the mountain, crushing her head. Apparently there was an animal up-mountain from her that had displaced the rock. Ben showed up, took one look at her and then at me and said “what on earth are we going to do?” I had no words and felt the responsibility and my lack of experience and ability to help her sunk in deep. I had no idea what I was gonna do. I mentally ran over all the possibilities. I was sure she would die but I didn’t know how long it would take. In the states, with immediate, up-to-date professional healthcare, it’d be a miracle if she’d survive. It’s very difficult to find a hospital here who provides quality medical care that’s affordable. Also, a lot of the hospitals won’t even look at head injuries. It was very cloudy so I pretty much knew I couldn’t get a helicopter to fly in for transport even if I could find a receiving hospital. Backing up just a ‘lil, the night before 5 staff were in an accident that caused me to be the only nurse at clinic and they’d left in our ambulance and were in Port-au-prince so we couldn’t transport any farther than Ti-Goâve (using our UTV) and there is no hospital there who would do anything for her. I felt helpless. I took another look at her and saw her breath. There was life-hence, hope. I had to try. I started making phone calls. I called hospital after hospital and got pretty much the same response. No one wanted a head wound. As  Ben and I discussed our options, she vomited and Ben said “Oh, spaghetti”. My eyes got big and I glances at the meds I had prescribed for her just last Friday when she had come to clinic for a consultation. I had treated her for parasites and it now appeared like they were coming out of her whole face (because her cheek was wide open). I’ll admit it, I cried. The fact that we’d all had a lot going on the evening before with the accident, compounded with the fact that i was the only nurse around, and the fact that I’d been up till 3:30AM delivering a baby, had me tired. The birth wasn’t one of those nice births where a women has a baby. It was one of those come-in-almost-ready-to-have-her baby-pre-eclamptic-and-4-weeks-premature births that ends in delivering a little stunned baby and requires resuscitation. I was tired. I felt terribly responsible as her children looked at me and said “can’t you do something for her?” I explained to them that I felt like the chances of survival were VERY slim but that I would try my very best, I couldn’t just let her die in my hands but I also couldn’t see any way to transfer her anywhere else. I whispered a very desperate prayer and tried again. This time I got ahold of someone who gave me a private phone number for an ER Doctor at a very reputable hospital with a working CAT scan machine. She said they’d except her. I called to check if there was any chance I could get a helicopter in to transport her. It was too cloudy, but I called an ambulance driver who was willing to meet us in Ti-Goâve and transfer her to the receiving hospital. I breathed a huge sigh of relief and we were soon on our way to Ti-Goâve.
There is more to the story but I feel like this is getting too long so I’m gonna leave it at that. By the way, the baby I delivered during the night is off of oxygen now and doing amazing all on her own and I delivered another one last night and it WAS one of those nice ones where everything goes like it’s supposed to.
As I look back at the last 3 days events, all I can say is God is good. ALL the time. In my own strength, I fail. But in my weakness, HE is strong. Very strong. God rejoices in doing the impossible and I rejoice to have been given a fresh personal reminder of that. Absolutely none of what happened was something I could’ve done without God.
Please pray for this lady, last I talked to her daughter, she is still alive. I don’t understand how she’s still alive but I do believe in miracles. And God performed a bunch of those already for her and I don’t doubt that he can do it some more.
Sorry there aren’t any photos this time. I have several but I don’t think you want to see them - even thought the photos don’t look nearly as severe as it did in real life.
Thanks SO much for your prayers. They work. -Mis Emma.

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