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

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