Thursday, September 27, 2012

Near Death's Door

Sunday morning dawned, and I was up in good time and eager to get to church.  Then I heard some commotion at the clinic and got a knock on my door.  Till I got there, I had 3 patients.  Two were minor, but this little fellow (below) was in bad shape.  His only complaint was his badly infected leg and fever.  It didn't take long to see that this was no small case.  As far as we could tell, the leg was the cause, but he was in serious condition.  He was running a fever of around 104*F, heart rate was high, as were respirations.  It was clear he needed attention before his body gave up the fight.  

Instead of heading to church, Breanna and I got him situated in the hospital room, got an IV started, administered fever reducers, and got antibiotics started.  It took most of the morning till all of that was done.  We went to our house for a bit and then eat lunch before returning to open up the hugely swollen foot.     

Before we lanced the leg


I barely cut the surface of the skin, and the puss started just gushing out.  We must have gotten 16-24 oz of fluid out that first time.  

In the days that followed, we kept the wound open to drain and continued to give him is medicines.  It seemed he was "out of the woods", but Tues morning just after his antibiotics were given, he started showing signs of shock.  His oxygen saturation dropped, he was trembling, and not looking good at all.  We stopped the IV antibiotics, got him on oxygen, and monitored him closely.  Micheal was ready to administer some medicine to counter an allergic reaction if things continued to get worse.  He stabilized and started to improve.  It seemed quite apparent that it was the antibiotics that he reacted to so we had to switch to something different.  

It was amazing because Breanna went back in the room 5 minutes after the IV was started to check on something when she noticed that he wasn't doing well.  If she hadn't gone in then, it could have been too late till we noticed or were notified.  God is SO good!  

We also had 4 births at clinic this week--2 on Tues, 1 on Wed, and 1 on Thurs.  We'll try to post about them soon.  

Saturday, September 22, 2012


This post is about...BANDAGING! 
So if blood and wounds are not for you - scroll down slowly to give your stomach time to process the sights. :)

While Anita, the two Haitian nurses, and Michael perform consultations, etc. I typically clean and bandage most of our regular bandage patients.
Here are some wound care patients that came into the clinic over the past couple days... 

Above, is a picture of (now known as) the "First Leg Guy's" leg. :) Remember him?  He has been coming daily for several months to be bandaged for his leg infection. It is slowly improving. His real name is St. Luke. He recently was saved!  That was exciting. He comes into clinic so cheerfully and we can definitely see the light of Christ on his face now.  He recently brought in another person two days ago with the exact SAME problem he has!

Above is "the second leg guy" when he first arrived. I could hardly believe it was the same thing!  Perhaps it's good that pictures cannot communicate smells...!

This man has two bandages as you can see. Any ideas of what they could be from? The front is covering up an entrance wound - on his back, it's covering an exit.  He was kidnapped and shot in Port-au-Prince, and came to us then to have his stitches removed.  I uncovered his prior bandages and removed the stitches they gave him in PAP, and was finding his wounds to be unlike anything I've seen before. So Anita asked him for his story, and it is really very amazing he is still alive. He was kidnapped in a market place in PAP, and  was brought somewhere out in the country where they tried to suffocate him (breaking some of his teeth), and then shot him. They left him to die, and "then God loosed him". We don't think he knows how he got to the hospital. In the picture above, Virginia is giving him some medicine to aid in his healing process. 

This man is supposed to come every day for an abscess in his hip. Sometimes he does - sometimes he doesn't. :-/  He lives quite far away. Here he's getting his wound packed, a relatively painful procedure. 

Above is a wound caused from tuberculosis. 

Above is a young lady who was hit on the head with a hammer by her husband. Her head was very bloody when she arrived (the day after it happened). Her skull was cracked and we could see the blood pulsing inside. We cleaned her up a little, bandaged her head, and then sent her to Ti Goave to the hospital for further treatment. 

This young boy cut his thumb with a machete-like tool.  I did the initial cleaning, and then Anita did a great job at stitching him up!

A few days ago, this lady had a lump on her head filled with pus.  Anita inserted a needle into the lump and began to drain it. The lady was initially sitting up in a chair, as it is mostly a painless procedure.  However, Anita stopped for a minute and set her needle and syringe on the table. The lady took one look at it and the liquid contents which had been emptied from her head and began to say, "M'ap kouche! M'ap kouche! M'ap decompose!" (I'm going to lay down! I'm going unconscious!). Well, that sent us into immediate action - supporting her, and trying to keep her upright. She's an unusually large lady for a Haitian and she began to sink lower and lower to the ground as Anita, Virginia and I tried to keep her upright. This lady was totally letting herself go mentally.  We tried to get her up on the table, but she would offer no assistance, and she became some form of feigned unconscious.  We asked for help from the other clinic workers (and half the people in the waiting room got up to watch), and finally got her up on the table where Anita was able to finish the process. She was fine when her head was turned and she could no longer see the "instruments of torture". :) 

So...those are just a few of our most recent bandage jobs in the past couple days! 
Breanna Keller

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Cute little guy

A lady came into the clinic in labor Monday just as clinic was ending.  Almost all afternoon on Monday we had other after-hour patients in between checking on the lady in labor.  It was a first baby, and things progressed slowly.  Her labor slowed down overnight, but by morning she still hadn't really progressed so we started her on oxytocin.  Things still progressed slowly, and I was getting pretty concerned about baby.  Fetal heart tones dropped some, and then I was really concerned.  By 4:30 pm Tuesday the baby was finally born and was soon breathing.  We were SO grateful once again for God's hand of mercy in a situation that looked pretty bleak.  

Breanna and I with the little guy

L-R  brother of mother, father, baby, and mama

They were so proud of their little boy

cute little man

Thursday, September 13, 2012

This and That

Here are the girls from the Ontario team dividing out liquid medication for the clinic.  

They did a great job at helping Shana around the house and compound and filling in other behind the scene things too! 

This is just a quick shot from the clinic one of the many little malnourished children we see.  He's too old to be on the milk program (Nourishing the Needy), but needs some supplements for a few months or so in an attempt to get him back to better health.  

In this case the bicycle ride didn't end up so well.  
He cut his tongue and scraped up his face too.  

Anyone remember our baby from a while back that we took to Leogane on oxygen?  She was in very serious condition.  I never heard for sure whether or not she made it, but yesterday her mother brought her in to the clinic.  I was so glad to see her doing well.  She did have a cold again, but is doing, oh, so much better!  That's always so encouraging to see.

Arlene, "the Foot lady"
We're only bandaging it now 2 or 3 times a week.  Maybe by a year she'll be ready to end her frequent visits for her foot injury.  She started coming Oct or Nov of last year.  

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Updates on Two Patients


Here is an updated picture of Obenson.  

After not coming for a few weeks he was here yesterday.  The lady that takes care of him had still come for his supplements, but wasn't able to come with him the last time due to high water after Tropical Storm Isaac.  He is gaining weight nicely now and looking SO much better.  He was retaining a lot of fluid due to the malnutrition so before he could gain weight he had to lose.  Now he is gaining and so alert.  

"Leg Man"

I'll try to get his name, but for now we'll go by "Leg Man".  He's been coming now since April or so pretty much every day to have the wound cleaned and bandage changed.  His leg is continuing to improve, but the exciting thing is that he recently became a Christian.  He is so happy.  As I was re-bandaging his leg today he was expressing his appreciation for our "patience with him", as he put it.  

He's in a difficult situation right now as he really can't work with his leg the way it is.  When he walks too much it slows down the healing.  In a country where things are already very tight, this only adds additional struggles, but I've been blessed to see his cheerful spirit lately.  

Picture taken yesterday

Just a reminder of what it was!
(Look up "A Major Infection" for more pictures and the full story on him.)

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Softball-size rock + young head = bad situation

On Saturday the team went on a hike up to the waterfall (about 2 hours away). Steve went along as their guide, but pretty much everyone else stayed back to take it easy- 
unfortunately that was not destined to be!

Grandpa Harold was going up to Terre Rouge when he was flagged down by a Haitian man- his son had a bad cut on the back of his head and was bleeding badly. So, Grandpa gave them a ride back to the clinic, where they boy was examined.

At first we thought it would be just a normal stitch job; but in inspecting the wound we discovered it wasn't merely a cut- his skull was actually fractured! Michael estimated that (in order to do that much damage) the rock must've been about the size of a softball! The boy was coherent and awake, so his condition was stable. Since we don't have the ability to treat such a condition we needed to take him out to the hospital.

He was loaded up and taken out. The trail was rough since the hurricane, but we made it safely and he was admitted at the hospital several hours later.

In the clinic we were able to look inside the cut and see the fractured skull.

The little guy was stable and doing great.

In Ti Guave we transfered to a truck Pastor Levy let us borrow and headed out to Leogonne.

The father supported his son's head the entire 2 hour trip down the trail.

On the way the traffic was light and we made good time.

At the hospital the boy and his Dad waited as we got the paperwork ready for their admission.

Once the paperwork was done they stepped out and were taken to the ER.

We headed back to Ti Guave with the truck and then back up the trail that night.
It was a long, yet satisfying day!

Absent Clinic Workers

Hello from Haiti this beautiful sunny morning.  The title suggests something less than what the first sentence describes, I know.  Well, the absent clinic workers have been mostly the whites this time.  It started last week when dengue fever hit.  (Actually dengue fever hit a few weeks before, but didn't get clinic workers down till last week.)  

Michael came down with it first, and then on Saturday I (Anita) came down with it.  The Haitian workers, Virginia, and Breanna did an excellent job at keeping things going.  Yesterday Michael was able to head back to the clinic, and by afternoon/evening it was obvious that Breanna wasn't well.  One of our Haitian pharmacists has it too.  I'm starting to feel better, but I'm still very weak.  At least I was able to get up and out a little this morning.  

Dengue fever is spread by mosquitoes similar to malaria.  Typical symptoms are: very high fever, horrible body and bone aches, headache, pain around the eyes, stomach aches.  It's a virus so it has to run its course.  The only thing you can do is take fever reducers and of course do all the other things all good patients are to do--eat, drink, rest.  (I have to say I'm sure ready to do more than just laying around.  Five days was quite enough!)  

On my little trek out of my house this morning, I took my camera and headed to the clinic.  I didn't find any extraordinary sights, but I did find everyone doing an excellent job in spite of being 3 workers short right now.  

 Fre Direk busy making dossiers

Michael taking blood pressures since Breanna is under the weather

Mis Joselaine busy in her room

Mis Leda cheerfully filling her post

Mis Virginia filling prescriptions

Zita giving medicine to patients at the pharmacy window

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