Friday, December 27, 2013

Happy Holidays!

     "Good-morning, world! It's Christmas!" Some of us needed to drink a cup or two of coffee before we could actually feel the holiday spirit, but after that we had such a happy day. Throughout the day we checked up on our patients at the clinic.
   One little boy had come with a prolapsed bowel, and another lady who was pregnant with twins was resting on our delivery bed, moaning through a very slow labor.
     Thank you to everyone who helped to make our day delightful.We got emails, gifts, and lots of love sent from our friends and family in the States.

     We enjoyed a few beautiful parties with our Haitian friends this week, and also had some of our own. I will just throw on one picture of the Christmas story we told to the neighborhood children, and then leave you all to dream up ways to make your Holidays the best yet. I doubt you will be able to pass up our joy. The Haitians have an excellent party spirit and just watching their joy, makes anyone feel pretty good about the moment! Love, and Good Tidings from the Ahlege Team

Friday, December 20, 2013

A Four Hour Fight

Today I walked in the clinic gate and gasped when I saw an enormous face...all swollen with a serious abscess.   It protruded out of the side of his face like a tumor.  It was huge! The man looked dirty and scary.  I drew a deep breath and started getting supplies together. Iodine.  Peroxide.  Applicators.  Sterile packing.  I love doing abscesses; draining them brings such quick relief- if you have a cooperative patient that is.  After I had him laying on the exam table I realized I have a serious case on my hands because he was perfectly terrified.  His heart was racing so hard his shirt was pulsing.  I tried to calm him.

 20 minutes passed.  He wouldn't let me get near with the lidocaine needle.  I explained the entire process over and over again... all to no avail.  He cried and yelled and told me he's leaving.  An hour passed.  We had a conversation about Jesus.  I sensed a dark spirit in the room... he was so so unconverted.  I lay my hands on him and prayed out loud.  Finally, he sat up and let me lidocaine him up.  I breathed a sigh of relief... and reached for the tiny razor I used to slice it open.  He lunged back... kicking and screaming and yelling.  I lay down my razor, determined that neither me or him would have sliced eyes or fingers before it was over.  The talk started over.  After another hour he lay back down, exhausted and still determined I could open his abscess in another way.  The lidocaine had worn off.  I was weary, and other patients were calling.
Finally, after more coaxing, he let me near with the razor.  I did a quick slice and he lunged back in terror, squirting an unbelievable fountain of pus.  It ran and ran and ran.  I soaked a blue pad and grabbed another.  He moaned and yelled and wouldn't let me touch him for a second.  Problem, as these abscesses need pressure to release all the infection.  I lay my head down on the med counter and prayed for patience.  When I put my hands on either side of the drainage hole to increase the pressure he smeared pus all over me and pushed and yelled.  Now I will say, these abscesses must hurt more then anything.  I hate putting my patients through it... and can't blame them for screaming.  But, this man wouldn't even let me clean the pus off his face.

Finally, I said, " Ok, I got it.  You can drain your own abscess."  I put gloves on both his hands and showed him how.  For the next hour, I stood by the bed and coaxed him to push.  The pus ran and ran and ran... Green and clumpy and terribly smelly.  Still, he wouldn't let me touch it.  All the Haitians in the clinic were furious.  "Leave him, Mis Katie!  Leave him to die.  He deserves nothing."

I looked straight into those hateful dark eyes and knew I couldn't leave him.  He was so unsaved.  Finally, I had reached my limit.  I had yelled and held him down and coaxed and urged for hours.  I gave him a lollipop and a juice to drink.   He didn't want to leave and he begged me to help him.  But I couldn't touch him.  I turned away and cried.  He looked up in utter shock.  All the Haitians were furious.  "You've made the Mis CRY!" they yelled.

He pleaded with me to make the others leave... so I shooed them out and closed the door.  And another battle ensued.  Finally, for his sake, I knew I had to just constrain him and get it over.  He was exhausted and wouldn't even let me clean the pus off his skin.  I called for Glendon and 4 of our Haitian clinic workers.  It took 5 men.  I felt awful... as I don't believe in doing that at all.  Neither do I believe in yelling at my patient for hours.  As soon as his head was restrained, I squeezed out the last of the pus plug.  It was huge.  Then I cleaned it out and found it was almost as deep as my applicator.  Poor, poor, man!  I had it packed and bandaged in a few minutes, and he could sit up.  He looked up at me with bleary, weary eyes. "Thank you Mis," he said, " I'll come to church now."
~Mis Katie

Monday, December 16, 2013

Some of My Favorite People

     I want to introduce you to some more of our visitors. They are the very inspiring type....Grin!  Brother Darwin and his wife Eunice were here for about a week, and just left today. We are glad that not everyone is leaving at once, for sure. Some of the staff went out to shop for meds today and tomorrow. Our cook left to accompany Brother Rich to the airport, too. Both the clinic and the compound seem quiet this afternoon.

    My sister Rosanna and her husband Lavern are cutting soap for our pharmacy. It is fun to share our pharmacy jobs with other people. There seems to always be pills to split or count. Doing it as a team is great.
    Eric is right here joining in with our new Creole/English exchange class at clinic. Mis Leda took a white board home to write up Creole words for us, and we brought home our white board to write up English words for our Haitian workers. We have so much fun learning together. Maybe one day in the future we will be a bilingual clinic totally. Imagine!

Saturday, December 14, 2013

Lollipops and Life

     It is Saturday. It has been a lovely week, with a lot of sunshine. But there have been tears, too. Little Samuel's mother returned from town and stopped in to say hi to us. We won't need to worry about his club feet any more. He is safe in Jesus' arms. And, Jid, the baby who seemed to have a cranial injury is in some happy spot near him up in Heaven. His grandmother sat down with us and told the story in her simple way, while she munched on cupcakes. She just got back from town, too. She was crying. Although, we wondered if she even cared about Jid, it seems like since he is gone, she realizes that she did. She says she will come to church now.

     Our blood pressure patients are still trying to learn how to eat right and take their meds consistently. One of our patients laid down on the floor to see if she could get her blood pressure to come down before I saw her card and dosed her up with more meds. It made for some laughter in the waiting room, and she loved the attention she got!
     Watch out for mules.They can be mean. This man, they say, got bitten by one. We gave him a tetanus shot, and dosed him up with some pretty strong antibiotics. After keeping him for two days, we left him go home, but he will be returning for a check-up early next week.
     Dear old Azhenol. Now he has a big eye infection. (But there is not a lot that lollipops can't make feel a little better). Katie was able to open an abscess below his eye and release a lot of pressure and drainage on Thursday, so we hope he is on the right track to recovery now.

Monday, December 9, 2013

Ti Moun Yo

...that's Little People!   I love having them around!
Yesterday we had a young mother come to the clinic in labor with her first child.   She said she was from Port-au-Prince and came to have her baby here!  Well, we were surprised she came all the way here for that, but very happy to have her.  She did well for her first time, and had a 7lb 5oz, chubby faced little girl!

 Great job, Rho!  And Mis Katie, why aren't you in this picture?  She was there too, but behind the camara trying to show a dear old lady how to take a picture for all of us, but we only got this one...    We were happy to have Mrs. Hostetler here to help with this delivery!  She got quite an arm work-out, faithfully massaging the mother's back to help ease the back labor pain she was having, which she really appreciated.  The lady on the right had said she was the girls' mother, but later said she was her Aunt.  Either way, she did a good job helping hold the mother's hand all through labor and was very excited about the baby! :)

<3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3

 This beautiful baby girl, named Annadine, is a 3lb. 12oz preemie that's been coming for check-ups here.  It's amazing to see how tiny, yet so perfectly formed she is!   It's hard to see how small she really is in her big onesy, but we didn't have any clothes small enough to fit her.  :)

Double the joy!  The twins, Stina and Shadina, looking just like porcelain dolls.  We usually get to see them at least once a week at church, and they get bigger all the time!   And then...
this little guy!  What would we do without cheery little faces like this around?  This is another picture taken today of the little boy we had sent out with Samuel awhile back.  He was sure hamming it up, smiling and cooing at me! Just happy to be alive...
Hope this brightens your day too.  :)

Friday, December 6, 2013

My First Haitian Rainbow

     "Katie or Rhoda do you have a copy?" It was the radio, blaring into our Thursday morning appointments and check-ups.
     "I have a copy," Katie called.
     It was Nate. "We have a baby who came for the milk program that we would like you to check out," he said.
    That little baby boy. He came after a few minutes to our examination room. He was moaning and groaning, while we tried to figure out what was wrong. The grandma incoherently answered a few questions and then went on a rambling row of what-nots. We could not sensibly learn much from her, except that the baby  became ill last night.
   Because he seemed to have pain in his head, it was important that we made a right diagnoses, and treated him correctly, in spite of our lack of equipment. We toyed around with possibilities: a fracture, meningitis, cerebral malaria, and such. The grandma told us he did NOT fall, so we began to suspicion it was the cerebral malaria. And then she added the fact that he had a fever in the night.

     We made the decision to transport him to Laogane, about three hours away. The little boy made the trip fine, under Nathan's watchful eye, and was admitted to the hospital facility.
    At this point the big lie was revealed. The grandma admitted that he HAD fallen. That did change the perspective quite a bit! We were still glad that we had sent him out to a place where there was the option of using x-ray equipment, and such. The grandma kept wondering if she could leave the child. It was suspicious looking. And it hurts. How could you have so little interest, so little love, so little guilt when a child in your own family is in pain?

    Then there was the rainbow. One beautiful thing to remind us that God is still there, still keeping His promises. Still loving us and all human kind in spite of their total depravity. I needed this reminder...on this day.
    Today our "mouth man" came back. He wasn't even helped. Here he is again. It is up to the Americans now, to give him money for his operation. He was given a paper with a hospital name written on it, but that is all the nurses did for him in Ti Goave. It appears that his wife has never been away from the mountains, as she is very uncertain about how to proceed with the next step in pursuing help for him. She more or less wrings her hands and paces around, not knowing how to help or what to do. We hope that there is the possibility that we can step them through the doors of a few dentist offices in the future, with the help of some funds, and some patience.

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

A Nosy Bean

That's what this chubby little guy had!   His distraught mother came rushing into clinic with him first thing yesterday morning, quite upset because her poor child had a bean stuck in his nose!  It took a few people to hold him down as Rho carefully went after the misplaced bean with her tweezers.  And it wasn't just a little one.  I'm still not sure how he managed to stuff such a big bean up so far into his little nose!   As you can see from his expression, he was not a bit impressed with the whole procedure! 
Candy to console...

He couldn't even stand the sight of the bean- or maybe it was the tweezers, afterwards!

Moral of the story:  Children, don't put beans in your nose.  :) 


Monday, December 2, 2013


 It was a happy Monday. My first patient was little Retia, who was here for her last appointment in the Malnutrition program. Her edematous extremities are now replaced by healthy tissue and fat. When I gave her the last Plumpy'Nut her face broke into a beautiful smile.

 And then this dear 81 year old granny came hobbling in the door. Her face was wreathed in smiles as she told me how much she loves Jesus. Then she started a long story telling me how she fell when she was young and hit her head. Since then she blames all her maladies on that fall...Acid problems, pain, ect, ALL come from that tumble onto the rocks. =) She laughed and asked for a lollie pop before going out the door.

 Right before Clinic closed this sweet little fellow was born. It was so fun to have Ellamae there for the first time!


                                               Happy Nurses
                                        - Mis Katie

Friday, November 29, 2013

A beautiful little Miracle...

  I bent over a massive bundle of blankets to see little Andeline's itsy bitsy face. She was perfect. Mama's first baby. Her parents proudly told me how she was born at their house, 2 months early. I unwrapped her and just stared at her tiny preemie form. Everything was perfect. Her heart was strong, her lungs were clear, and she nursed beautifully. Thank you God! What a beautiful little miracle.

 Madam Leger peered over my shoulder and gasped...then smiled. " This is God's gift to you because little Samuel died." I smiled at little Andeline. The Lord gives and the Lord takes away. Thank you God.


                                                            Happy Parents

 This poor women came in with a terribly rotten foot. She sat in her house for months before she came in on a stretcher this week in terrible pain. She moaned and groaned as Ro cleaned away dead tissue. One of her toes was dead-black. We sent her to town for an amputation. She had such a cheerful attitude, smiling and laughing through all the pain.

                                                         -Mis Katie

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Bitter and Sweet Changes

A lot can change in a few weeks' time!    Some things for better, some for worse.  We see a lot of both here at the clinic.   It's always a special encouragment to get to see good changes-   like babies gaining weight, wounds healing up, and pain going away...
And then- there's the disappointing changes.  Like a tiny baby that you helped, hoping and praying that he'd live, and he didn't. 
A couple weeks ago we sent out two very sick little boys to the hospital in Laogonne.   We hoped they would make the trip there.  Today one of them came back.
"Whit! You have to come see this baby! The one we sent out with Samuel..."    Kate was very happy to show me the now healthy, happy baby boy.    We were all amazed seeing how much better he was! 
A couple weeks ago...   Notice the flaky skin on his hands, and the sores all around his mouth.
Today, looking much more like a baby should!
But what about the other baby?  Our cute little club-footed Samuel...we learned today that he died last Saturday.  It brought a bittersweet mix of emotions to see the one baby thriving, and hearing that Samuel didn't make it.  But we know that we did the best we could and God had other plans for him.  It's a comfort to know that he's safe in the arms of Jesus! 

On another note, last Thursday I had a very shocking and exciting suprise show up here.  My brother Aaron! :)
He came down for a week and worked as a handy man- helping with a painting job, fixing some wires, and getting in on some various clinic work. 
On Wednesday it was pouring rain and we had quite a few patients come anyway and not as many staff, so he helped fill in by weighing patients, taking blood pressures, and then mopping up all the muddy floors after the day was done. 
We really enjoyed having him here! ;)

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Everybody's and Anybody's

      ... But God loves everybody. And wouldn't He be blessed looking down on this sight? There was dear Miss Katie, bathing and combing this poor deserted lady. It was such an angel's work. Clinic had just finished, but Miss Katie was not finished yet. She could not stand to see this poor little lady go home with ripped up feet and dirty clothing. But it couldn't be done without a fight. All the Haitians were saying, "Don't give her the shoes. She will throw them away. Don't give them. Someone will steal them." But...
    God loves everybody. So Katie kept at it.

     The two doctors came today.  It sure helped get the people floating through our doors faster on a full Friday. And we were sure glad they were here when a man came with a broken wrist. The only problem was that we didn't have the right casting supplies. So that meant we had to rip and tear up a few odd things we found in the depot. It was fun to watch the doctors create something that would work until they got out to town to give him an X-ray. It was also amazing to see them trying so hard to keep the man in his chair. The pain was almost more than he could bear. And I can only imagine what his swollen wrist was saying to him. "Ouch and stop. Stop and ouch."

    Nate is working on getting our ultrasound machine ready for locomotion. It was so fun to see him diligently measuring and stitching up a sturdy vinyl cover for it, to keep it safe and clean. Now one of these days we hope to move it into our clinic and make some good use of it.
         Have a good week-end, everyone!

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Of a Strange Growth and a Sliced Ear...

 It's a cozy, rainy, afternoon. Ro and I ran through the rain to clinic this morning, with big mugs of hot coffee. Due to the rain, numbers have been down... but since the rain makes the steep trails more treacherous we've been seeing ugly gashes. And today- a sliced ear.

 This poor little girl was trembling from head to toe when she came this morning. She was petrified when she saw all the blood, and cold from the rain. I wrapped a blanket around her and cleaned her up while Ro stitched her ear back together again. She was so relieved and actually smiling when she went out the door.

 I was in the middle of the normal morning scurry when Mis Joseline called me to take care of
an abscess. I called the man into my room and opened his swollen mouth with an applicator, fully expecting the normal pussy, bloody drainage. Instead, I saw a whole mouth full of a strange growth. He told me a thief in Port au Prince elbowed him in the face 2 months ago. I couldn't see HOW he left it so long without seeing a doctor. It was a huge 'gummy' mass totally filling his mouth and only attached to the side.
-Mis Katie

Saturday, November 16, 2013

Good-morning, World !

     I had heard the knock, and it didn't stop. I figured I couldn't lie myself out of this one. Even if it was before six o'clock on a Saturday. I got up, and started wandering around looking for my wits.
     And then, I heard Nate at the window, saying that someone had a fairly serious gash on  his arm. "I'm thinking maybe stitches," he said, in his sleepy voice. 
    "Okay," I replied in my even sleepier voice. "We will be out to check on it." 

    So that was the beginning of our wonderful Saturday. It took about an hour or more to get his long cut back into shape enough that he could go home. Most of the mission staff appeared, one by one, some still toting coffee cups. And then, they were off to TiGoave, leaving us to clean up and wrap up our little old man. He left, cheerily, promising to return with a gift of peanuts for us. 
    It was now getting close to 7:30, and since we were hoping to get out to town, too, we locked up the doors, and said good-bye to our Haitian friends.
    So, then, we ran off. Off the map...but only as far as TiGoave. You haven't been hearing much from us for a few reasons. Sure, I could write about ten other stories about our week and ten excuses for not telling them to everyone. But I will just say that God has been good, and we have been blessed. 
    One little piece of news about Club Foot Samuel, that you all have met on another blog. He had a close call with death last week, when he came in for an appointment in preparation for his operation. We haven't been able to hear news on his health yet, since we sent him out to Laogane eight days ago. So we are still praying for him. 
     That same fateful day we also sent out a tiny, malnutritioned baby who seemed to have pneumonia REALLY bad. He was getting fed about once a day, because someone had told his mom that was the way to work the mom/baby thing. It obviously wasn't all. Yes, we are still praying and waiting to hear if he is still alive, too.
   Have a great Sunday, you all! And thanks for joining us in our prayer burdens. God is so big!

Thursday, November 14, 2013

The Smiles and the Tears...

 Life is such a mixture of joy and pain. Back here in these mountains some days it seems the pain over rules the joy as we watch stooped, withered grannies hobble in the door... or wide-eyed children with tiny ribs poking out of translucent skin...or screaming babies with terrible, flaking, skin infections...or screaming little boys with oozing abscesses.

Some days my heart gets weary as yet another child screams out in pain, " Mis Katie, leave HURTS, it hurts!!"...while pus and blood stream from their abscess. Or, when I see yet another suffering baby, too weak to cry, desperately mouthing around for milk. But, on those days, our kind Father is so faithful to send a joy our way. Sometimes it's seeing gaunt little cheeks fill out with Plumpy'nut...sometimes it's a perfect birth with no complications...and some days it's just the brilliant yellow of a flower beside the path on my way home. There is beauty everywhere. Some days it's just up to us to see it.

 This dear lady came in with her baby a few weeks ago. Her baby was in pathetic shape, with it's skin peeling off in huge flakes. Nowtthe baby's skin is healing beautifully...and Mama came to church on Sunday and gave her heart to Jesus. She is so happy.

 This sweet little boy came in this week...pathetically malnourished. His teeth are literally rotting out of his mouth.

This lil fellow is 6 years old. He came in with a terrible head abscess. His mother died and he's left with a very unsaved, miserable father. He only cries weakly when I clean his abscess and never fights or tries to get away. After I'm done he gives me a hug. Can't get any sweeter then that!
This is one of my very favorite patients. Yesterday he came in and told me his toes were aching and his lungs were crying. :) He's 82 and still hikes over the mountains with his one blind eye and tall walking stick.  

Saturday, November 9, 2013

The Best Yet!

    Thursday morning started with a knock at the gate around you guessed it! A lady in labor. I went and had a quick check on her before clinic, and then came home for a bit of coffee...things seemed normal and progressive at that point.
   When I went back down to do a check-up on the lady again, I was a bit confused. Things seemed a little strange, but nothing really seemed wrong. Her vitals were great, and yet something seemed different than usual. I hardly thought about her fairly big measurements. They weren't extreme.
    Our clinic day continued...a rather hectic day for a Thursday...and then we just stayed on, coaching the mom, and hoping this baby wouldn't wait forever to be born. The mom was getting so tired of the wait, and so was the dad.
   "Can't you just give her Oxytocin?"
    At about 3:50 an adorable little girl baby popped out, just as I had told Whitney to set up the electric suction. The baby looked great. But, guess what! Something was still waiting to surprise us. I looked at Katie, and she looked at me. I said, "I think there is another baby in there!"
    And then the three of us were so sidetracked we hardly knew what to do. We laughed. We told the dad. He shook his head.  He raised his hands to heaven. Tears came washing into his eyes.
    We girls just laughed and watched and gasped and couldn't believe it. We were all going to witness a lovely double miracle. Our day was so exhilarating suddenly! But the mom wasn't sure.
   She had the work to do. So we whispered to the Grandma to speak encouraging words to her. And before long, the second adorable little girl was born, wriggling out from a very twisted cord, and fighting against shoulder dystocia, as she struggled to join her sister in the big, outside, surprised world.
    All I can say is that we couldn't stop smiling for the next 30minutes, at least. And I think I am still smiling now, as I write this. God is so good! What a gift!

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Right Foot/Left Foot-In Foot/Out Foot

     "Wow, this looks like a nice, healthy baby," I was thinking when I pulled the blankets back. "I wonder why they called me outside."
     "She was just born last night," they told me. 
    I pulled off her socks next. And then I saw them. These feet. Or what are they? They ARE feet. Aww.
    So we are trying to make connections with a doctor in Port now, to see if any one in Haiti can help him. (And yes, this is a boy hidden under the pink dress....)
    And I must mention the bellyache boys. We have two of them in the hospital right now. The one seems to be recovering from an impacted bowel. The other one is still in observation. We aren't sure what he has. He just arrived a few hours ago. 
     And this boy, well, he just fell and really cut up his gum. A loose flap hung awkwardly from above his teeth. Katie lidocained him up, and cut that offending piece off. So don't make fun of his face. It hurts!

Monday, November 4, 2013

No More Smell + No More Maggots= PROGRESS!

Hi to you all!   I wonder what your day was like today...:)
It's been very rainy here the past few days, which we've been very grateful for 'cause we needed it!   I don't think all the clothes on the line needed it, but they should be extra clean after getting close to a dozen rinses!  :)   Something that's not so great about so much rain...we've had two cholera patients come within the last 24 hours- one last evening and another this morning.   The guys took both cases out to the clinic in Bases, which is set up for cholera.   Anyway,  hopefully that will be the extent of that!

We had a pretty busy day at the clinic today, especially considering how rainy it's been.   Usually that slows people down, but not today!   We had a good day though, without too much out of the ordinary.
You probably saw the recent blog posted on the older lady with the worm-infested wound...   If not, go back and see it so you can see how much better she is now!  :)     I think the most remarkable part of the progress right now is how much better it smells.  Or that is doesn't smell, rather! :]   
All bandaged up and good to go! We're really glad for her that it's healing so well and isn't giving her much pain anymore!  She was profusely thankful today and said she'll be back tomorrow, if God wills!  :)
(Nevermind the dates on the pictures.  They were taken just today!  I'll have to change some settings on my camara. :)
Hope you all have a blessed evening!

Update from Marla

This post is written by Marla, almost a month ago and I made a mistake and didn’t get it posted. I’m sorry. Enjoy her words almost a month l...