Friday, December 19, 2014

Christmas! And Other Miracles

Merry Christmas!!!
  Merry Christmas! We had a beautiful day for a party today. We threw our cultural qualms aside, and invited all of our clinic staff over for a Haitian/American meal. It was sunny and funny. We tried to sing a couple Christmas songs, and ended up relying quite a bit on the piano for the harmony, because the Haitians here in the hills are quite accepting of one part choruses. Of course, Haitians love little speeches, so we stood up and thanked everyone, and clapped, and remembered how special everyone is to us. Doctor Felix reminded us to look for our reward in Heaven, not here on earth, or in dollars and gouddes.

  Oh, yeah, and the gifts! Hats for the men, and scrubs for the girls...In the photo below, Doctor Mainviel won the fight for the only tiny baby present, Mis Leda's newborn.

      So many good and bad things have been happening, I don't know where to start. One morning we woke up to hear that the neighbor, Joatase had passed away. She is a mother of two beautiful children, and a long-standing friend of ours. We walked around dazed and weepy, wondering if Joatase was in heaven. Her mom had been tying charms on her body as her weakness became worse, but we were shocked that death came and claimed her now, at age 25. We had put her on IV numerous times during her pregnancy since the end of last year, and had sent her out to town for various blood tests. All her tests came back clear, but we continued to treat her malnutrition, and visited her in her house frequently. So, now,she is dead, and there are two lovely babies, needing to be loved. Needing a safe place to grow up, away from their Grandma, who is not a Christian...Ouch, and Sigh. Prayer. Tear drop again. And, I can't help but wonder is Jesus wiping a tear today, too?
    That same morning another patient came with an unusual sickness, which we felt was a pretty obvious curse, not a physical illness. It was dragging us down, unconsciously. I told the girls, "I just feel like we need a miracle from God to lift us up again. We know that God is in control, but death and spiritual defeat in too many people can make us feel like there is nothing at all that we do that is helping anyone."
    God sent us that miracle the next day!
    But in a little side-note here, I must insert a quick thanks to Paul Van Hemel, and his friends, Tim, and Lamothe. They brought us Peanut M&M' last Saturday.....and little toy ambulances to hand out to our children at clinic. I have to say that they both are wonderful. I am eating M&M's right now, and wanting to yell," It's Christmas!"
    And. They brought two medals to hang around our necks on days when we need a lift. They say WINNER on the strings. We have been having fun throwing them on our fellow nurses to make them smile.
     So, when we got home after the miracle...Kindra greeted Marcile and I by throwing the medals around our necks...
     Now for the miracle story. Marcile and I were gauging the progress of a birth Thursday morning. It was the mom's first pregnancy, and she had been married for five years. She seemed to be extremely popular in the community. For three hours, even if we did augment her labor, no progress was made in the extraction of the baby. Some of our Haitian staff came and prayed with us, but we still felt we were close enough to losing the baby, that we better hit the trail. The whole clinic was kind of a mess as we pulled out with a popular lady, strung up on IV, and in active labor.
    After we had bounced on the trail for about 10 minutes, we asked Hans to pull off the trail to re-arrange the lady, and make her comfortable. About that very minute, the baby seemed to be unlocked from it's shoulder dystocia, or whatever the hold-up was, and that little girl swooped into the world.
     One wonderful Haitian, who works for our former Doctor, Michael Rudolph, walked up right then and offered to drive our machine into the safety of their property. From then on, he proceeded to get us a bucket of water, string up a blanket in the tree, and be an angelic presence.
     Before long, we were able to stabilize the mom from her traumatic delivery, swaddle the baby in a hunk of blue cloths, and bounce down the trail to the hospital.
    I have never had such a dynamic return from an emergency. Patients and staff alike yelling,"Praise the Lord! Look at the miracle! God is great!" It was such an assurance of God's work again. Our clinic was basically rocking with joy. We just walked around smiling.
     We still have to smile when we think of it. I echo the words of Fre Nores, "Be careful. This is God's clinic! If you are going to come here, we are going to be praying."
     Merry Christmas to everyone! God is so wonderful! Love to you all, Rhoda

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

High Speed Delivery and Other Random Stuff

Last Saturday I had the opportunity to try out my recently purchased, old, large, Yamaha dirt bike on a "quick" run out the trail to Ti Goave. We had some lab results that needed picked up as well as a stool sample that needed taken in for testing for one of our patients. Before putting it in my backpack I made sure that it was triple bagged on top of the plastic container itself, I may be overly paranoid about such things but I've had bad experiences in the past.  I made it out the trail to Ti Goave in about 50 minutes and ran the necessary errands without a hitch. While fueling up at the gas station before heading up the trail I noted heavy rainclouds enveloping the tops of the mountains I was about to ascend. I tried to tell myself that somehow I would miss it if I hurried but about 15 minutes up the trail torrents of rain began to fall. Since I had papers and a computer in my backpack I wasn't too excited about getting it soaked so I ducked into a little tarp covered food stand along the road to wait the rain out. The friendly little lady that ran the stand graciously allowed me to crouch inside and even offered me a plastic bag to keep the paperwork in my backpack dry. 20 minutes later the rain had slacked off to a drizzle and I took off up the trail again to find that the surface had become slicker than grease. My admiration for the Haitian motorcycle taxi drivers grew by leaps and bounds as I watched them calmly continue driving with up to three passengers on their small motorcycles through mudholes and swollen streams while I was barely being able to stay upright on mine. Nevertheless, I do believe that I provided tremendous entertainment  for the pedestrians along the road.
  There have been some very encouraging things happening at the clinic this past while, like the boy who had been brought in several months ago with a major  abdominal/ bowel perforation and since then had been staying in the hospital up until 2 1/2 weeks ago when we sent him home. In the two months he was at our  clinic he changed from a demanding and contrary and unpleasant smelling rack of skin and bones whom the doctors hardly had any hope for to a healthy and filled out looking comedian who has basically adopted himself into the family and calls me his dad since I have been his primary caretaker since I arrived in Haiti. The abscess behind his umbilicus is hardly causing any problems any more but we're still somewhat concerned about what caused his problems in the first place.  
my self-proclaimed son and I

  Last night after supper Kindra, Rhoda and I walked down to the clinic to check on several patients that are staying in the hospital room. As we got near the front gate we could hear something that sounded like a woman in labour coming from the little outbuilding up the hill from the clinic where patients sometimes stay. I had no idea anyone was staying up there but Rhoda remembered that Whitney had let a full term pregnant mother who had walked a long way to the clinic by herself stay the night though she hadn't been in labour at that time. Anyway, the nurses hurried up to the little shed to check out what was going on and as soon as Rhoda went in and took a quick look she said something about thinking the lady was almost ready and she and Kindra took off for the main clinic building to get the birthing supplies. As soon as they had left I heard a little more commotion inside and decided to see what was going on. I took a quick look inside and saw that the baby's head had already delivered and desperately hollered after the retreating nurses that the baby was already coming out. Kindra came running back and we hurriedly tried to don our gloves in the dark since this little room has no electric lights but before we got them on a healthy little baby girl slithered out onto the floor and began to yell. Rhoda soon returned with the supplies and I headed to the clinic to find some towels. Everything happened in a matter of about 2 minutes.  After Kindra had the baby all wrapped up in a blanket and the mother had been brought down to the hospital room to spend the night we could hardly stop laughing our heads off at the irony of it all. The mother was laughing and talking and in a great mood immediately after the delivery as if she did stuff like that every day. It was the first delivery I've ever been present at and it was about the funniest experience I've had so far in the medical field.
  Please continue to pray for the nurses and all the staff here as people keep bringing patients to the clinic that seem to be under some sort of spiritual/demonic oppression and apparently have nothing medically wrong with them which makes these cases very difficult to deal with. These cases are unlike anything I have ever seen in the states but I really don't have time to write any specifics tonight.

 God is still conquering!

Friday, December 12, 2014

A Thousand Words

-that's what they say a picture is worth.  So I figure that by the time you've viewed all the pictures that I'm including in this post, you'll have heard something like three thousand-five hundred words about our day.  Plus the minimal amount I intend to type in addition to that.

Our consultation rooms stay full, as our little clinic stretches to hold all the nurses and patients.  

Precious little babies, in desperate need of love that they're not getting.  Our young neighbor boy, who works for the local witch doctor. Coffee for weary minds; and candy, an oft-prescribed medicine for our young patients' trials.  Wilfred and his Bible story book.  The usual mass of people attempting to get their prescriptions to the front of the line.  Clipboards hanging neatly on the wall.  Patients lined not-so-neatly up on the bench.  Inspiration in the form of the written word.  


A single day. 

Our day. 

Sincerely, Kindra

Monday, December 1, 2014

Do Angels Make Ginger Tea?

    There are certain things that break your heart. One is Kinsley. Partly because he's angelicaly cute, and partly because he's sick, but mostly because his mommy just walked off on him. Then, when Kinsley yells my name from beside the road, and runs into my arms like a little fuzz ball, nothing but saying that I am allowed to adopt him will make me happy. Unless his mom comes back.
    And then there are the spiritual battles. This month has had more of them.
    Our last birth was Saturday night. The labor lasted Saturday night, all night long and into Sunday. The mom, Monique, would yell and throw her body around, at times lying on the floor for a while, or walking crazily outside like a maniac wind-up toy. Then she would call people on the phone and yell and say she was dying. Nothing seemed to be abnormal in her progress and labor, except that it was slow.
    The dad of the baby had never witnessed a birth before, even though it was this lady's seventh child. It was the first child with this new, frenzied husband. He was very stressed out, and would stand beside the wall and cry with his hands raised helplessly. Then they would call the one child in to stand beside the mom. It only added to the stress, as the little girl was not emotionally able to cope with seeing her parents so worked up in the middle of a sleepless night. She would cry loudly along with them.
   Marcile and I were trying to sing, even if our colds and tiredness made our voices sound rather crackly and ancient. We attempted to get the dad and child to go sleep, but that didn't work too well, as it only made the mom fuss and yell out to them, and ask why they left her alone like that.
    By about four o'clock in the morning we were getting very physically and emotionally drained. Before long, neighbors that she had called, began to show up and scold her for being so ridiculous. She calmed down one notch, and then, flew back into another fit, telling us she was dying once more.
    Janelle was trying to keep us inspired with coffee and drinks. She was so encouraging and calming, and we were so glad she was there to pray along with us, as we realized that this baby was at the mercy of a mother who had an evil spirit on her.
    By about 9:00 in the morning, the mother began having more serious cases of spiritual attacks. Her labor would stop and she would be unresponsive as her whole body convulsed. We began to fear for the life of the baby.
   Then the aunt, who was a Christian, prayed in the name of Jesus for the  evil spirit to go out. We all joined in. She told us to drink some ginger tea, take a break, and eat some bread. We all were convinced that she was an angel. The love of Jesus in her life was such a contrast to our long night with the fear of the family all around us.
   Before long we called up to the church and asked for someone to come and pray. Instead, the whole church stood up and prayed. During that time she had a very productive contraction.
   We were very happy when a few girls from church came down and helped pray through the final contractions that it took to push the baby out. Praise the Lord! Marcile and I were shaking by this point. It was about 11:00, by now. So much relief, tiredness, and strain from the fight to bring this baby boy into the world washed over our bodies.
     So that whole scene pretty much broke our hearts. The joy of a new life, and then, to top it off, the mom wasn't even happy. She turned her back and laid the baby behind her on the bed.
     But we have some hope to give people like this. Both Kinsley and Monique can't resist the love of Jesus. It is the hope that could change their futures and give them a reason to live again.
    Thanks for praying, friends! Have a good week.
    Rhoda, for the whole Ahlege staff

Saturday, November 29, 2014

A Tale of Seven Tummies

There were three paracenteses done at the clinic today.


The first one was on Wilfred, the young man that Whit mentioned in her last blog who had had one last Friday as well.  Dr. Felix was here again, and he had explained to Whit and I last week how to do a paracentesis, and apparently decided that this week it was time to get to the hands-on part of the lesson.  Whit performed this one flawlessly, and we ended up draining over four liters off him today.  He's still staying with us, and we're not really sure what we should do with him.  Dr. Felix's opinion was that whether we did the paracentesis or not, he doesn't have much time left.  We think he's in kidney failure, but without the labs to show for it, we can't be certain.  If he is, and in a case as advanced as his....We find ourselves almost hoping that he will be out of his misery soon.  Please pray for him- and for us, as we try to decide whether we should send him home to his family for his final weeks, or keep him here where we may be able to ease his pain a bit better.  He was telling me today that he wants to go to church Sunday, and I'm praying that he will be able to, as I don't know if he will have an opportunity again this side of eternity or not.

The second was on an older gentleman who had come in yesterday with what I first noticed when controlling him (the term they use for taking vitals- nobody get too concerned) as a really fast pulse that was sitting at about 180bpm.  After triple-checking it to make sure I wasn't going crazy, and noting his larger-than-usual tummy in the process, I went to notify Ro of the joyous news that I had someone for her to see.  She put him on furosemide, and added him to our growing collection of patients in the hospital room.  Doc decided today that he needed to have a paracentesis done as well, and he donated a lovely total of nearly four liters of fluid to our waste system.

The third and final one was a woman who had come in Wednesday with- you guessed it, a big belly.  She was also put on furosemide and given a bed, and was still here when Doc finished the second paracentisis.  We headed over to her bed from there to see if he thought she needed one as well, which he did.  He had a bit of trouble doing hers, and we were only able to drain off about 1L of fluid from her.  It did seem to bring her some relief, though, so I'm glad we were able to at least do that much.

But the big bellies that we've been doing paracenteses on aren't the only ones that we've seen quite a bit of lately.  Whit and Mali delivered a little boy first thing yesterday morning, then yesterday evening while we were playing Dutch Blitz up at Rhonda's where we had gone to spend the afternoon for Thanksgiving, we received a phone call letting us know that there was another woman in labor waiting for us at the clinic.  So Ro and I jumped on a machine with Mali and her parents, and hastened off to assist in another of life's greatest moments of wonder.  Ro and I were dropped off at the clinic, where we found that she wasn't very far along, so we decided to do our evening rounds with our small flock of patients, and go home and try to get a little sleep in before going back to check on her again.  That plan lasted until we finished getting ready for bed and crawled under the covers, when we heard the typical "laboring woman" knock at the gate, and her husband summoned us back to the clinic.  We ended up deciding to just wait it out with her down there, and I couldn't help but think when I glanced at the clock once around 1:00, of a different crowd of people somewhere who were also probably chilled, sleepy, and tired of waiting; but those were about the only things that I could think of that we had in common right then.  With the disconnection that being down here brings, Black Friday seems even more ludicrous, when I think about the throngs of rapacious people (if they can really be called people, when they don't act in a way that deserves that distinction) descending on stores across the U.S.; desperate to spend not quite as much money on an item that they never really needed in the first place.  I'm not sure how my little post here has morphed into this mini-rant on American greed, but as I sat down there last night waiting, with a woman and her sweet husband who hardly had enough money to pay us the less-than-$7.00 that we charge for a delivery, the contrast was pretty striking.  But anyway, back to the baby- she arrived a little before 2:00, and from her very vigorous cries, I'm fairly certain she wasn't thrilled about her new surroundings.  Forty minutes later we were finished cleaning up and settling them in for the night, so we turned our tired feet toward home and once again readied ourselves for bed.  I was going to try to get a photo this morning to add to our blog, since y'all have probably forgotten what everyone down here looks like by now, but they had left by the time I had a camera rounded up.  And then, in all the hustle and bustle of the rest of the day, I never really had time to take the rest of the pictures that I meant once again, y'all will have to read a photo-less post.

And now tonight, somewhere during the course of my writing the first couple paragraphs of this post, Whit and Mali were once again called upon to catch a new little life as it made its way into the world.  A little boy, this time, which seems to be the dominant gender for this week's rush of babies.  Things went smoothly again, and after cleaning up, they were able to join us at the house again, shortly before Ro and Hans arrived back from town with ice cream in tow.  Coffee-flavored ice cream, mind you. :o)

On a bit of a side note from today, and for my seventh stomach person; Monet (the fellow blogged about in Don't Untie That Knot!) finally left for home.  He was given a rendezvous for Monday, and after making his rounds to everyone to say goodbye, he left on the machine with Hans and Rhoda shortly after lunch today.  The clinic feels like it's missing something somehow since he's not there to laugh at my awful Creole and I no longer hear him calling for his "sister" whenever I walk through the hospital room.  One of our other patients that was observing the farewells asked Whit if she thought that love could make a person well, to which she replied the affirmative; and we believe that Monet is the perfect example of just that.  I can hardly remember that the funny, round-faced friend that told us farewell today is the same skinny guy who so disliked me when he first came and I gave him his first IM shot (he held a grudge about that for a long time).  I wish him the best, and pray that his time here can forever alter his life, as it didn't seem too bright before.  He told me when he left that he's planning on coming to church in Sunday, and I hope he finds a way to make good on that promise.

Well, I'm still running a little short on sleep, so I think I'm going to wrap this up.  I hope you all have a wonderful, blessed, and restful weekend...and that you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving with big family get-togethers, good food, and fun games.  God bless!


Wednesday, November 26, 2014

A Piece From My Perspective

  Ok.  I'm just trying to write a simple blog post.   Not a big deal, right?  But getting it started has felt like trying to start an engine on an empty tank.  Despite a little fooling sputter (or perhaps a sputtering fool, as I'm beginning to wonder about in my case), it simply doesn't get anywhere.  :/    So why do I keep trying, even after the um-teenth futile attempt?  I guess I'm still hopeful that somehow it'll just start going.   I think maybe it's starting...though I haven't proved to myself that it isn't just a downhill coast yet.    :]  Usually when the going gets this hard, its cause I've taken a wrong turn, trying to force my train of thought to fly on the highway, when I really just need to find the tracks again.   And since I wasn't intending to write a blog about blogging, let me get back on track...

Clinic life.  People.  Medical cases.


 Ah, much better.   

  It's no wonder I'm feeling so sidetracked, considering *public confession* it's been a couple months since I've blogged!  :/   And not just a normal couple of months.   I'd say crazy, but that's standard, and I think "standard" has been raised.  So it's been CRAZY.  But rather than employing every excuse that I feel is applicable in my defense,  I'll just include you in some of the craziness and hope your sympathetic response will be summoned to the cause of my blog negligence.  ;)  But I won't waste my time trying to revive my memory from two months ago, instead I'll test my short-term memory ability and see if I can still pull up last week. That ought to give you an ample sample of recent clinic culture!   

  Rho and Hans were gone with a group of heart patients seeing a visiting heart doctor in another hospital.  Had a very busy day at clinic with around 100 people, but thankfully no real emergencies.

  Not quite as many people, but two strange cases involving one two year old girl who seemed to have nothing wrong with her other than that she refused to swallow anything but water.  We tried multiple times to put in an IV, but never were able to get one that ran well.    We wondered what exactly we were working with...physical sickness or spiritual problems?  We've seen and heard of cases where there's been a curse put on someone simply making them unable to swallow till eventually they die.  It's such a demonic tactic, to cut off our source of life and kill like that!
  The other case was a very sick, very fat 15 month old baby with very congested lungs and trouble breathing that we put on meds and oxygen. We kept both little girls in our hospital room to stay so we could continue monitoring them.

  We're beginning to wonder if having 100 or more patients a day is going to be the new normal! Makes for a very full clinic.  We've already been dreaming of adding a few more rooms to move around in and getting more meds for the growing need.   Not hinting, really. :)
  Mali and I took a hike with Fre Noaz in the afternoon after clinic to visit an old man, Aginol, whose wife recently died.   As soon as we got back, we went with Hans on the machine to pick up Fre Gevan, the man with the broken back so he could spend the night in our hospital and leave early the next morning to get back surgery in Mirabale.
  Hans and Rho left at two in the morning for Mirabale!
When we got to clinic in the morning,  Fre Noaz was already almost finished praying, which meant that we didn't have any time before clinic opened to get most of our bandage patients through, which we usually try to do.  Then there were people everywhere, overflowing the benches and lining the fences behind them.   We had close to 140 patients that day!  
  We often get a lot of pressure from patients to get them seen quickly, not because it's late in the day, but because many of them have a few or more hour hike home and want to make it there before dark.  We do our best, but on days like Thursday, the pressure can get a little hot, testing our patience and endurance with impatient patients and with each other.   I think for the first time that I remember, I sat down at the end of the day and just let the stress run from my eyes! :]  
  Besides the crowd of regular patients, the fat baby that had come Tuesday took a turn for the worse and we ended up sending her out to town, only to hear she died shortly after getting there.   Mali had checked her blood sugar when she first came, to rule out diabetes, but her sugar was normal.  They checked it again in town, and it was 500.  But it was too late. 
  Another very sick-looking 24 year old boy, Wilfred, was brought in on a cot. Everything from his stomach down was swollen so tight with fluid it seemed like it'd be impossible for his skin to stretch any farther without bursting.  He's seen other doctors before, and came to us asking if we could drain the water off his stomach again.  I told him the doctor was coming the next day, but I wondered how much longer he could live in his condition.  I asked him if he was saved.  He said he was.  
  In the afternoon, another old man was brought in with severe stomach pains.  We treated him as much as we could and gave him a bed to stay the night.  
Rho and Hans made it back just at the tail end of clinic, exhausted from their virtual all-nighter trip, but happy to be back!  
  Around 10:00 that night, we got a knock on the gate reporting a man with a cut on his head. They told us it was caused by a rock.  We girls had been in the middle of having a girls' night, so we all went down together and had a blast whipping up a stitch job with all hands on deck! :) In the process, we found out that the cut was actually the result of a fight over one dollar that another guy owed him. :]

  Woke up early morning to a knock on the gate by the husband of a woman in labor, who came wondering if we could come pick her up on the trail.  We questioned him out a bit and, learning it was her first, we explained that it'd probably be better if she walked here to help her labor increase.  He seemed to understand that well and went running back to help her walk here.
  Shortly after that, as we were eating breakfast, we heard loud wailing start up at the clinic. We knew that meant someone had died.  My first thought was Wilfred.  Mali and I jumped up and ran down to find out.  We were surprised to find it was the old man that had come in with severe stomach pains the day before.   It seemed so strange, and saddening that we couldn't do more but put his body in a body bag and comfort the family before heading back home to finish our breakfast in preparation for the rest of the day ahead.
  When we got back to clinic, the mother in labor was waiting for us, and we, surveying the sizeable crowd of patients again overflowing the benches, were quite grateful to confirm that she wouldn't be having her baby too soon!  
  The DR came and performed a parasinthesis on Wilfred.  We kept a close tab on his vitals as he drained off 12,000ml of fluid!   (And no, that's not a typo)
  As soon as clinic was over, Mali and I left on the machine with Donny to go to the funeral of the baby girl who had died, and also to give a ride home to a dear little old man who was so crippled he could barely walk.
  A ways up the trail we passed a moto driver who yelled in passing something about the road being blocked ahead.  Sure enough, a couple-foot high blockade of rocks around the next bend forced us to stop.  We got off and walked far enough past it to see several more road blocks farther up the road, along with a very rowdy crowd of young guys that came running down the road toward us.  
  We started to wonder if maybe we shouldn't be there.   They quickly made us know we shouldn't be.  
"Go!" "Go fast, and get out of here!"  And we did.   They were adamant that nobody would be passing the road, no matter what the reason.  We were able to get some explanation as they marched us back to our machine.
  They told us that the former mayor of Ti Goave was up in the mountains for a party and would soon be going back down.  They were full of hate for her, and pretty much told us that they would be doing us a good service if they could kill her. 
  We did get out of there fast, driving back the trail quite a ways and up the next mountain, giving us a clear view across the valley to where they were waiting for her convoy of machines to confront them.   Many excited Haitians gathered with us to see what would happen.  Before long we heard them coming behind us, soon passing us in a cloud of colorful chaos...a swarm of honking motos, surrounding two go-cart looking rigs blaring music and flying recklessly fast down the trail.   
  Wild story mild, they roared past us and we watched nervously as they wound up the trail across the valley and came up to the road block.  The group of guys there quickly spread out across the steep hill overlooking the road and began hurling rocks and stones down at the exposed drivers, one of which was the mayor lady.  
  We shuddered as we heard the threatening sound of gunshots being fired into the air and watched all the stone-hurlers drop to the ground for safety, except for a couple who stood undaunted, ready and willing to die on the spot.  The road blocks were soon moved and the caravan continued on till the next village, where we heard there was another confrontation, a closer call for the mayor as it sounded.
  We followed on far behind, the funeral we originally left for being long-since over, but we went ahead and visited the family after we had taken the little old man home.  We were so glad we were able to stop and spend time comforting the mother, who was still pretty distraught.  The father kindly assured Mali that she wasn't to fault.  He said they saw how she did her best doing everything she could for their baby, and that it was in God's hands.  
  We got home just in time to eat supper, over which we got another knock on the gate, someone telling us that the mother in labor was getting close.
Another jog to the clinic, another check confirming that the baby would be coming soon, and then the wait... till baby was born at 10:00.  Other than the mother needing a couple stitches, everything went very well, and we were glad it was over before too late.  
  That same night, however, Rho and Marcile got called down to another birth, this one being a neighbor lady who came and had her baby without them and went right back home a few yards away after they cleaned things up! :)  We were all grateful the third woman in labor who also arrived Friday and was staying at the clinic didn't decide to have her baby that night to. :)

  I was on call for the weekend, so I went down in the morning to check on our full hospital room of patients.  Rho and Marcile came down to check on the laboring mother, who despite all her so "woi-ing" was still not very far along.  
  As a growing number of non-emergency people continued wandering in from the road to buy meds for headaches and coughs, and asking to be seen for other such maladies, I finally just walked off to hide in the depo for a few minutes and deal with my exasperation before coming back and calmly taking care of the patients I could and then explaining to the rest that the clinic is only open for emergencies on Saturday.    Ah...Lord give me patience to be unselfish with my weekend! :]
  A major bright spot in the morning, as I was taking Wilfred's vitals, his mom told me that he said he'd like to talk to a Pastor and be converted!   
"Is that true?!?" I asked him.  He nodded seriously.  "You remember when I asked you the other day if you were saved and you said you were?"
Yes, he remembered.  He said he had lied to me, but now he was ready to get saved!  We called Fre Noaz down and he came and talked and prayed with him.  It's a real encouragement to see the peace of his countenance despite the pain of his condition!

  So what became of the last laboring mother?  Rho and Marcile ended up spending most of their Sunday afternoon working with her till she finally delivered a big baby boy that evening, a very scary birth they said.  They were very grateful that after all her hemorrhaging she made it through fine.
  I wonder how many paragraphs ago your attention span timed out... Admittedly, I've begun to feel more like a drone plane, passing over many experiences at a less personal distance for sake of time, so maybe I oughta start looking for a good place to land... :)

 There's much, much more from the last two months... Early October had Rho leaving for ten days with Janette Musser here to help fill in, followed by a two-week visit from two of my 15 favorite siblings;), our dear Kin coming back to work with us, many different patient cases...and everything else in between!   :)  I'd share some pictures, but with the way the internet is right now, I'll be doing well just to get this posted.  

  Thank you all for your interest and support!  Remember us in your prayers!  We often feel our weakness, and recognize that the only strength we have is what we find in the Lord.   He knows how much we can handle, and though He stretches us to fill the shoes He gives us, He'll never make them too heavy for us to walk in!  Have a blessed evening! 

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Rainy Days and Happy Endings

It's a little easier to write a blog post if you have a definite subject in mind to write about.  I don't really have one.  I just told Marcille this afternoon that I would take her turn for blogging today if she takes my turn for Friday since I'm planning to go out with Donny's tomorrow and won't be here Friday.  When she asked me if I had something to blog about, I said, "Eh, I'll find something."  So please bear with me on this rather scattered post, because I'm just gonna wing it. ;o)

For starters, it's good to be back.  After six months at home in the states, I wasn't entirely sure what to expect when I got back, but in a lot of ways, it feels like I never left....a lot of the people have changed out, but we once again have an amazing team here.  And I have enjoyed being back and working at the clinic again quite immensely.  The last month has been quite busy, but it seems to be winding down a bit, and the relentless rain this past week has definitely slowed our days even further.  The rain has also contributed to making our short walk to the clinic and back each day quite the adventure, as we slip and slide through the mud, praying that our feet don't betray us and send us crashing to our doom.

I was in the process of cleaning our house and Whit was washing dishes, when Ro called down from clinic yesterday afternoon to announce that a woman in labor had just come in.  Since it was Whit and Mali's turn for such things, Whit headed that way, and as soon as I finished sweeping, I followed, to see if there was anything I could help with.  The woman in labor was a little sweetheart, who simply wanted to sleep, regardless of the fact that we needed her assistance to deliver her little baby into this world.  She had been in labor since the day before, hadn't been able to keep anything down (something we found out when we tried to give her something to drink and it all came right back out), and was just basically totally exhausted.  She perked up a bit when Mali got an IV running and after repositioning her a bit.  Sometime later, after an immense amount of encouragement, we were greeting a blue and unresponsive little boy with a suction machine and oxygen mask.  He was covered in meconium, and his cord had been wrapped around his neck twice.  The three of us worked with him feverishly for several minutes until his color improved enough that Whit could take the time to cut the cord and move him to a easier place to work, then Whit and Mali continued working with him, while I stayed with his mother and prayed that nothing else went wrong.  Five minutes later, I was calling for Ro while trying to stop a growing pool of blood beneath the little mother.  Thank God there was no major problem, and after we had her lying in her bed, the bleeding stopped, for which I breathed a giant sigh of relief.  In the meantime, Whit and Mali were dressing a much-improved little boy who weighed in at five pounds and four ounces.  We ran up to the clinic this evening to check on how they were doing, since we were keeping them here for observation, and I couldn't help but marvel at how alert he was.  Thank God for happy endings, and may we never take these beautiful new lives for granted.

In other news, Mis Leda is back, along with her little baby.  She's only been working part time this week, but it's been wonderful to have her capable hands and beautiful voice around again.  And her little baby is cute. :o)

In still other news, we were working on doing some cleaning, organizing, and inventory-taking in the depot this week, and in the process I stumbled across a urinalysis machine.  We've been discussing the need that we have for more lab equipment, and this find was exciting enough to me that I was practically hopping up and down with glee.  And it works perfectly!  We're about running out of paper for it, but that's a small problem, and easily fixed.  Now we just need to find a few other treasures elsewhere...speaking of which, if any of y'all know of a place where we could get our hands on some old lab equipment, we would very cordially welcome hearing from you.  :o)

Once again, thanks for following us, and for all the prayers that are sent up on our behalf.  Sometimes I think that y'all will probably never know how sorely needed and much appreciated they really are.  We could not do our jobs without them, of that I am convinced.  So thank you.  And may God bless each one of y'all as you serve Him in your own little corner of the world, wherever that may be.


Sunday, November 9, 2014

New Guy

Hi everybody! I am Hans Hertzler and I'm the newest member of the Gospel to Haiti clinic team. I believe I am here to fill the role of clinic director/ patient transport guy and all around help-out-where-needed person. My primary medical background is working as an EMT for a busy ambulance service in Oklahoma for the past year and other EMS/Rescue operations with my local fire dept for the past several years. Understandably, I don't feel overly well equipped for the position that I am attempting to fill, but I have been experiencing a hands on crash course in Haitian Healthcare for the past three weeks since I arrived and have learned an incredible amount already. I also am working with one of the world's best teams of nurses who have been very understanding and patient with me as I try to learn the many interesting and un-american aspects of this clinic's operations.
  Here's a little news from this last week. We've had the normal regime of runny noses and pregnancies and digestive issues as well as a few more interesting cases. On Wednesday an older lady arrived at the clinic with severe difficulty breathing and edema in her legs. She was also experiencing some chest pain. We decided that she probably had congestive heart failure along with some pneumonia. Her blood pressure and heart rate were also way above normal. We put her on some oxygen and administered a diuretic via IV. It is hard to always get a very precise diagnosis with the limited diagnostic equipment available here, but it seems the staff here has adapted very well and does an amazing job with minimal equipment.
Me trying to find a suitable vein for a difficult IV start
The cut, before it started bleeding bad again.
Holding the knife victim down while Rhoda closed up the cut
  Last Thursday I was working here on the mission compound when Rhoda radioed from the clinic and asked me to come down and check out a lady who thought she was having heart issues. Apparently the rest of the nurses were busy with another case. There was complete chaos outside the door of the operating room when I arrived. A woman was throwing herself violently around on the floor and several men were trying to take her outside. The witch doctor came walking out past me when I arrived, leaving her dog behind in the clinic. I finally figured out that the nurses were trying to stitch up an approximately 2 inch laceration on the forehead of a 20 year old girl who had been cut with a knife in school while trying to protect her younger sister. The girl's mother was the one that had lost control of herself when she saw the cut. We finally managed to get the dog, who bit me when I tried
to reach for it, and the rest of the bystanders out the door. I went and checked on the sick woman that had just arrived. She was complaining of pain and weakness all over which had started in her stomach. Her close relative had died from a major heart attack the previous Saturday and she was worried the same thing was happening to her. Her vitals were all within normal limits and there was nothing going on that looked very cardiac related. I tried to reassure her with my extremely limited creole that she probably was not having a heart attack and went to see what was going on in the operating room. The  stitch job had been aborted due to excess bleeding from a small blood vessel that had been severed by the knife resulting in a large hematoma. After some discussion and attempts to find the vein the nurses decided to go ahead and put some stitches back in and control the bleeding with direct pressure and ice packs. Our patient did not seem to be able to keep from thrashing around and fighting when anything was done to the cut so we had to physically restrain her while Rhoda stitched the cut shut. We finally finished and put her on a hospital bed with an ice pack on the wound. She had completely worn herself out by this time. All in all, it was a traumatic experience for most of those involved.   
  Saturday morning a lady came in with severe dehydration, vomiting, and diarrhea. Mali started running IV fluids and several hours later it was discovered that she had cholera, a disease highly feared by the locals ever since the 2012 cholera epidemic. The nurses moved her to a separate room from the other patients and continued to work on rehydrating her. as of this morning her blood pressure has improved and she seems to be doing much better. Thanks for reading! We welcome any prayers or input that you may have!


Monday, November 3, 2014

Hold That Knife!

     Yesterday someone asked me what my dream day would be like. It seemed so funny. So out of context. It had been a busy Sunday, as usual, I might say. This person needing that medicine, that person wanting a few minutes to talk. Another person wanting something for a tooth ache. And then, a bandage or two at the clinic.
    Then the big cot came. A pale faced lady is found lying at the front door with a sheet knotted around her middle. The crowds are pressing in all around us, waiting for a glimpse of what is up. We try to get the woman to talk. She is weak, and her blood pressure is low. It seems that her husband cut her stomach. Or did she do it herself?! And why?
    As we unwrap the soggy rags, the contents  of what's inside of people began to show. We tried to hide our surprise at our first close up of intestines. They were pink, what did you think?
    So, some of us got a Ringers flowing into her veins while others of our wonderful staff hurried around finding sterile gauze, fluids, and bandaging supplies. We washed up the exposed inward parts, wrapped them in wet packing, and sent the lady out to get operated on. 
    Thank the Lord, Donny was able to get a place in the hospital in Laogone late in the evening, and the woman was safely put through surgery today. So that is the happy story. And if I was to talk about my dream day,anyway, it would probably include someone getting healed or saved.
    So much has happened in the month that you haven't heard from our team. It's probably been the busiest month in the whole two years since I was here. So many stories. A couple more trips to Mirebalais. Deaths, and births. And always one more mystery patient to keep us scratching our heads and praying. 
    Like Monet. He is the fistula boy who has been on our hands for a long time. Or the girl who we sent to TiGoave for tests, and she returned in basically the same condition we left her in. A swollen leg-warm to the touch. And supposedly it appeared overnight.
    We welcomed Hans Hertzler to our staff, so look for him on our blogs. He is our new clinic trauma director/emergency transport chief. We thank the Lord for what he has done for us already. 
                           -for all of us, Rhoda

Friday, October 10, 2014

Mirebalais Madness........... we come. Our good ole ambulance chugs up Goat mountain and then thru the countless switchbacks. Some of the patients are starting to feel nauseous and we hear the lids being ripped of the marmites. Soon we are rolling down the windows and Whit and I are fighting for a breathe of fresh air. One lady starts laughing and then soon we all join in. Haitians are great to accept the situations they find themselves in!!
   After 1 hour we pull in thru the gates of Mirebalais . Everyone jumps out and we try to make ourselves look half decent.
 "Alright everybody... here we are, follow us." Whit and I lead 5 of them off towards the archives. Julian stays with Jean Louis and our little hernia  in the surgery waiting room.  Lines of people waiting, nurses flying around, security milling through the crowd,  important looking doctors, surgeons, lab techs walking with a sure purposeful step... Whit and I look at each other. Where do we begin?? This place is huge. We get to archives and get things sorted out. Whit heads off towards the place where they get CT scans with some of the people. I head off towards to get an x ray done. Beginning of a looooonnngg crazy day. Running from one place to the next.  
  " Sorry, we cant help you today, our x-ray machine isn't working. Go get a signature from a doctor. This is the wrong place sorry,ect..."
       My phone is ringing in my purse, "Alo." "Mis Mali, I need you, I don't know what to do anymore, I am lost, where are you." " I will come, stay right where you are." I meet Whit in the one of the long halls. She is marching off with 3 other patients. We grin and exchange stories.
        At about 2 in the afternoon one lady whisks the little girl off (that was patiently waiting since 9 for a CT scan,) and bathes her. Whit suddenly realizes the girl  is gone when she hears the doctor finally calling out her name. Here goes our chance. We now need to wait till tomorrow morning to get her in again.
    All day we run and then we sit waiting for tests, scans, results, doctors.... By 6 both our patients that had operations pending  are in pre-op . As much as could be accomplished  has been done. Tired and hungry we jump in the ambulance and head back to P.A.P for the night. Thanks to Blue Ridge we had a relaxing evening.
  Next morning we find ourselves once again in Mirebalais.  It doesn't seem as huge and strange anymore. We quickly find our patients. Its touching to see how happy they are to see us. One lady threw her arms around us and cried. "Oh Mis, you didn't leave us alone,you came back."We laugh and try to make them forget the operations that are ahead of them. 
    The old man grabs my hands and tells me with a very  decided air. "Mis, I will be going home with you because I have 7 marmites of peanuts to plant and I need to get it done." I laugh...."Well,if the doctor says you are doing well enough to leave, but if not you are going to have to wait." I hear him mutter as I leave. "I will go back, those peanuts need to be planted." I smile at Whit... I love every one of them. They colour our lives up so much!!!
    At 12:30 pm the little Hernia girl is wheeled off into the operating room. Her mom hugs me and cries. She is worried she will wont come back out. After 3 hours of waiting they wheel her back into post-op. She is doing fine and still sleeping.

  A half hour later the old man is wheeled in. At 6:30 pm  he is wheeled into post op. We walk in to see him and he is already sitting up,asking for his normal clothes.  I am sure he wanted to prove that he COULD plant those peanuts!! Even the other nurses smile and laugh as they see his very decided look.

     We had some minor complications so we ended having to go back to P.A.P for the night instead of heading homeward. Wednesday signs their discharge papers and we all pile back in the ambulance....
    SO ready to head home, home to our Aylegue family and hospital. We are so thankful for our 2 first successful operations and the joy its brings to our patients.
    The verse in Mathew that takes about "when I was sick and you visited me" kept running through my mind and giving me courage to keep going. If I can see Jesus in my patients sad ,hopeful eyes....that's enough to keep my going!!!
-Mis Mali


Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Don't Untie That Knot!

It is Friday. Ninety or more people are thinking that they should be seen sooner rather than later. The beds are full. One lady is in labor. And then, this boy shows up.
    He looks not too bad from the start. But he has these rags around his stomach. And they are oozing intestinal stuff. And we need a hospital bed.
    By afternoon we had a bed for the white-faced boy. We started to unwrap him, and then the doctor said, "Just leave it go. Don't untie that knot. He needs a surgery."
    The big problem is that they are having demonstrations on the Streets by the hospital, and we don't know if it is possible to arrive safely in the hospital.
    And then, to heighten the dilemma, the dad leaves, and walks off with the mule he came on. Now what? This man could be dying! Should we put in an IV or not? One doctor says do, the other one says don't....What if he dies on our hands?
     Donovan and Mali jumped on the one machine and tried to go find the father of the 20 year old boy so that we could get help for him.
     Finally, the dad was found walking down the road. We were so glad he was showing up. But not for long, soon he walked out the gate again, just as we were loading the ambulance to go to town! A helpful neighbor went and made him return.
      Finally, at about seven o'clock in the night, we had a ride ready to go to Port-au-Prince, to see if we could find someone who would receive a man with intestinal fluids running out of his umbilicus. The ride was as crazy as usual. Bounce. Bump. IV pulls loose. Machine stops. IV is repaired. Bounce. Bump.
    Nearing midnight, we arrive at our first prospective hospital. The doctor says they don't have the machines to operate on the man, and that we need to go to the general hospital. We go.
   We find one helpful man who gets in to see the doctor. The doctor says we can stay. But then a crime scene is brought into the hospital, and among all the yelling and noise, the doctors are all obligated to leave for security reasons.  The young doctor apologizes, tells us that he can't help us, and the patients who are sprawled here and there in the emergency room get ready to leave, without having been helped. We find someone to show us out the back door, to avoid walking by the yelling, blood, and danger zone.
    We sit in our machine with our angry, hungry patient, who is hungry, full of IV fluids, and in pain. A rat walks by.
     We sigh, pray, and wonder how we got here. Hours away from home, turned out of the second hospital.
    God gives us one hopeful thought at this moment, as the stench of our patient washes over us. How about Bernard Bevves hospital? It is expensive, but what are we going to do to save this man's life?
     We go out on the road, drive through the dangerous streets, and honk our horn as we arrive at the third hospital for the night.
    "We can't help you," they say. I got out of the machine, and walked by a man with a gun.
    "Where can I give some information?" I asked.
     They showed me to an office, and opened the gate for Donovan to pull in the machine. By a miracle from God, there was a team from Canada on campus, and they seemed very helpful.
     We were able to get a CAT scan, a surgery lined up, and leave that spot by about 2:30 am. But the story was not over that easy. The next day, after the Canadian team was gone, and we were on our way, trying to get home, the phone rang.
    "We don't have a place for your patient," the voice rambled.
    I couldn't believe it. He was supposed to be in surgery! Will I ever understand this country????
    By the mercy of the Lord, our patient was able to stay the week-end. We made a lot of phone calls, prayed a lot, and waited. This is Tuesday, and our patient was finally able to see a doctor today, I believe.
    We are hoping to bring our patient home sometime this week to continue recovery.
     Just for fun, I am throwing a picture of our present team in here. We ran away from the compound Saturday evening about sunset, tired of emergencies, bandages, IV's and blood. Those who were here at home had quite a time as well, and we couldn't wait to feel fresh air in our hair.
     Today, being Tuesday, Mali, Whitney, and Julian are in Mirebalais again, helping two other patients realize some long awaited surgeries. Their trip is turning into a three day experience. Hopefully when they get back, you will get an update from one of them!
    Good-night! Rhoda for the team

Saturday, October 4, 2014

      Hello! My name is Janette. I am an RN from Pennsylvania and I came down to help out in the clinic for a month. It is my turn to blog so I will tell you a little about what I am doing while here.  First thing in the morning  I do several dressing changes on wound patients. The main thing I'm doing though is the prenatal program. We call all the pregnant ladies that have arrived by that point (some keep coming throughout the morning) and have them sit in a room all together. We do vital signs and then have a little  teaching session. We use a book on fetal development that shows pictures of the different months and we talk to them about drinking enough water, eating healthy foods, etc. Then Whitney and I each take patients and do consultations. A consultation starts by measuring fundal height and finding a fetal heart beat. Then we do a focused assessment and write up a list of medications for them based on that. Each lady is given an 'appointment' to come back to the clinic. Healthy patients usually come every month; others come more often.
           Here's a little taste of the medical system down here:  Last night Donavon took a patient out whose life depended on an operation. The first hospital wouldn't take him, the second was going to but then the doctors all had to leave for an emergency, finally the third hospital did accept him and was going to do the operation this morning. However, they called this morning and said they didn't have a bed so who knows if he got the surgery or not. This is Haiti! The mission will follow up with him and do what they can to make sure he gets the care he needs.     
Whitney and I
The clinic staff

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

The Big "C" Word

I was looking forward to being on call at the clinic for the weekend.   I assumed that with all the rain that we've been getting, it wouldn't be too busy and I could get some other little things done.  I got started about 8:30 Saturday morning bandaging several return patients and seeing a couple others.  Marcile came down to restock the pharmacy.  "Maybe today I can actually help her!", I thought.  She asked if I was having a busy morning.  "Oh, no, not really!  Just a few people, nothing serious." was my reply.    Minutes later, Mali walked in to get some meds from the pharmacy, and informed me that a cot had just been carried in with a very sick-looking boy on it.     I quickly stuffed my hands into some gloves and stepped outside to find just what she said; a very sick boy.  The crowd that carried him told me that he had had watery diarrhea since the evening before, but that there was too much rain to bring him sooner.   His altered level of consciousness and deeply sunken eyes showed how extremely dehydrated he already was!  I'd never personally had a patient with cholera before, but I remembered hearing about the certain smell it has, and I was sure that what I was smelling had to be that certain smell!  We usually send cholera patients to another small clinic about 10 minutes away that has a cholera center, but they've been closed recently, so we made a quick decision to put him on a cot in the shack in front of the clinic.  I ran to get everything for an IV.   Meanwhile Fre Daniel got on the ball spraying everything and everyone down with Clorox water.   In the process of getting the boy carried up to the shack, Fre Noas came into the shack where I was setting up and grabbed my arm saying, "Mis Whitney, come quickly! I think maybe he died, I don't know!"   I ran out where they'd set him down just outside, and heard his gurgling respirations.  "He's still alive!  Now carry him in fast!" I told them.   As soon as we got him propped on the cot, Mali and I started the desperate search for a vein that looked good enough for an IV.  
He seemed to drift in and out of consciousness as we tried and tried again for a good vein.  "Mali, do you feel like you can do this better right now?  My hands are shaking too much, and I think I could've gotten one in by now if they weren't."  But she encouraged me on, and again we prayed as I hopefully tried another vein, only to have it blow again.   We radioed Rho down at that point, and she came and calmly donned gloves to try her IV skills on the other arm while I kept searching for a good vein on his first arm.  Mali spotted a better looking vein further up his arm and offered to try it, which I thankfully agreed to.  My hands were still shaking.   We all thanked God when we heard her say, "I'm in!" and saw the IV fluid dripping into his body as fast as it could go!   Then Rho got one running in the other arm.   It didn't take long before he visibly began improving, and I started to relax.  I had felt such a sense of responsibility to help him that it almost made me panic, and I was very grateful for the teamwork of the other girls pitching in!  I think Marcile must have felt like she'd ran a mile by the time she got done fetching everything we needed from the clinic to the shack! :)  Anyway, now over a dozen liters of fluid and four gallons of diarrhea later, sixteen year old Onel should get to go home tomorrow!   This morning I took his IV out and left him with a liter of pedialyte to drink.   When I came back to find he hadn't drank much, I told him that if he didn't force himself to drink, I'd have to come put another IV in.  "I'll drink later, after awhile." he'd say, and put his arm over his mouth.  I hovered over his face with a capful of fluid, telling him he'd better open his mouth or I would dump it on his face.    He told me, with a stubborn smirk, to dump it on his face.  :)   This evening when I checked on him, again I told him that if he didn't force himself to drink more, than I'd have to force him to, and again he covered his mouth and turned his head away.   I told him that if he doesn't drink enough, he could get seriously sick again.   He told me he's not sick anymore, so I said, "Ok, then you can go home now."   Well, he didn't think he was quite that well!  And when I inquired, he affirmed that he did still have a lot of diarrhea, but still he insisted he would drink more later.   When I again held the capful of fluid to his mouth and told him to open up, he mumbled that he couldn't cause his mouth had a problem.   
I asked, "What problem does it have?"  
"I can't open it." was his reason.  "Oh but look, you can open it to talk!" I pointed out, at which he shut his mouth tightly and started talking like that.   Hiding my own smirking smile, I offered one more solution; "I'll help you open your mouth then!"  That didn't sound like help to him.  Finally I just laughed and told him if he's well enough to be that naughty, he's well enough to go home.  :)
I waited to post this til this morning so I could get this photo of him...looking much better! :)   We're in a bit of a difficult position with the Bases hospital being closed, cause we aren't really set up to open a cholera center here should there be a bunch more coming, so please pray that there won't be!  Have a blessed day!

Monday, September 22, 2014

Sunday-On Call!

( Hello, everyone! You guessed it. A lot of visitors using our Internet, and now you won't get to hear from our world very often, until things are back to normal.)
    I will try to give you a quick peak,and hopefully, the internet will be nice for a few minutes, here.
    We have had some interesting road trips. By foot, or by vehicle...either works.
     One Sunday a friend asked us to pick up their cousin with the machine. We decided that Christ would have us do that, even though it was a Sunday- our theoretical Day of Rest.
    "It's not far," our friend assured us.
     Our machine drove and drove, until we hit too many rocks to continue. Then we stopped our machine, got out, and walked. I think we walked for at least 45 minutes down a very steep, curvy, hot trail. ?
    "So it's not far?"
    "We are going to need a helicopter to get this person back out," we joked, as the sweat ran down our bodies. Hans Hertzler, our newest prospective team member was comparing his medical run to a normal medical call in his practice in the States. "It's not the same," he chuckled.
    As we arrived at our patient's house, we realized that the family was still trying to concoct a cot to carry the patient on. Now that was fun.

    "Bring me a hammer."
     "OH, where are the nails? Get me a rope."
     "Hurry. Hey, that's crooked."
     Meanwhile, the patient was looking fearfully on. Her breath was coming a bit labored, which seemed to have something to do with diminished activity in her left lower lung. We were thankful that her stats were holding fairly normal, because it didn't look like we were going anywhere quickly, that much we knew.
     After the contraption of a cot/chair was successfully finished and inspected by the group, we headed up the mountain, where we left the lady in the hands of her cousin overnight.
    The next day we did more follow-up work, testing, and just waiting to see how her meds would work if she took them like they were supposed to be taken. Her family requested that we could help her to town where she could get more extensive testing and health care.

     Today some of our troops are out on a medical follow-up run in Terre Rouge. This patient fell and broke his back, after which he was transported to TiGoave. After a very painful ride to town on an improvised "road cot" bed, we were able to load him into an ambulance for transport to Port. He returned to his home in the mountains without a cast on his broken back.
     This led us to go to his house, create an improvised cast, and try to keep his digestive system working, even though his body is not responsive below his waist. You can pray for this young husband and father as he faces his stark future without the hope of ever walking again.
    Have a good week. I just want to rejoice in what God can do. The battle is His....which makes me almost tell another story about a 7 year old girl who God delivered from a spiritual-based sickness last night. But there are a million more stories, too. And most of them make more sense if you are here to meet the main characters. God bless your week. Rhoda for the Ahlege Team

Saturday, September 13, 2014

The Story of Tuesday

It's Saturday again!  Let me think back a few days to Tuesday...
We had a fairly normal clinic day, a lot lower-key of a day compared to Monday, but still enough to keep us running.   We figured we saw around 90 people Monday, 16 of them being pregnant ladies which was what kept me busy most the time!  Tuesday we saw around 75 people, a little more normal, but still quite a few!  :)

The day started out with a guy knocking on the gate around 8:30, informing us that a sick person had been brought into the clinic.   I was on call for the day, so I hurried down to the clinic with him to investigate.  I thought I understood him tell me it was a sick baby, but when I got down there I was surprised to find an elderly lady and I realized that he had told me that she was like a baby cause she couldn't talk.  

Her blood pressure was 230/130, and she couldn't walk or talk.  She had classic stroke symptoms; one sided drooping of the mouth and one completely limp side of her body.   We addressed her blood pressure right away and monitored her vitals closely the rest of the day.    It got easier for her to talk as the day went on, and by the afternoon they wanted to take her home, but we kept her for the night and let them go the next day when her blood pressure was more controlled.

The rest of our day went well, and just as we were closing around 2:00, a young guy was brought in that had the fever and was dehydrated, so I put him on an IV.    He surprised me with how much English he spoke!  I had to wonder how much he might have overheard of the semi-personal conversation Rho and I had had earlier! :)  

 Just as I finished sending him home and taking the stroke patients' vitals again, Mali came running in and told me that there were two injured guys who had been building something like a rock/cement ceiling, and it fell in on them.   The one had just walked in with the help of a couple friends, and the other was down the trail a ways being carried in on a stretcher.

 I was glad Marcile had just come down to the clinic too, and we called Rho right away too since there were two patients and we didn't know how serious they'd be.   Mali and Marcile took charge of the first guy, who had a wound on the back of his head and was pretty sore, but thankfully not hurt more seriously.  

The second guy arrived shortly, along with a crowd of family, friends, and onlookers.   He came in lying on his belly, covered with a white sheet.  I didn't see any signs of bleeding, and he was fully responsive.  I was going to have them move him to the bed in the emergency room until I pulled back the sheet and saw his back!  I had a sinking feeling that he would never walk again.  His middle back looked distorted and was majorly swollen.  He couldn't feel a thing from his waist down.  We decided to put him, stretcher and all, on the bed.   We applied ice packs and gave him a pain pill right away, but that was all we could do.  Rho arrived and talked to him about the Lord, asking him if he was born again.  He said he was.  We were pretty concerned about the possibility of any internal bleeding putting him into shock, so we kept a close eye on his vitals.  We were relieved to see only stable vitals, but still quite worried for the guy.

We started making plans to transport him to the Ti Guave hospital, but Donny was on his way back from Port (picking up a group from the airport) and Grandpa was the only guy around.  He had just gotten back from a long day in town himself, but he insisted on being a big blessing and driving the guy out for us!   Mali and Marcile kindly offered to stay and take care of the other patients, so Rho and I could go along. 

It took us awhile to figure out how to transport him, since of course we wanted him to move as little as possible.  We got him strapped in on the back of the gator, and then Rho and I rode behind to help hold him.   The rugged trail made it impossible to keep him perfectly still, but thankfully he seemed relatively comfortable and hardly cried out at all. 

When we got to the hospital, we ran into another dilemma cause the hospital wouldn't accept him there, but long story short, they finally put him on an ambulance for us and sent him to a bigger hospital.  After that we met up with Donny and the crew (Julien and Janelle Hege, their cousin Joel, Darwin, Paul Lapp, and Hans Hertzler) and traveled together back home.  

We've had a lot of good full days like that this week!  Yay for a lower-key Saturday!  :)   Rho just came in and said two laboring women showed up at the clinic, so that'll likely key up our afternoon a little!   We were just discussing yesterday how long it's been since we've had a birth, wondering when we're going to get one of those knocks in the middle of the night, so we're happy they're coming so early on a Saturday...:)   

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Clorox Kills-Jesus Saves

     We had just jumped out of bed. Our gardener came, a bit agitated, and told us that a friend had drunk Clorox. Mali ran and grabbed the hospital cot, so that they could bring the lady the rest of the way to the hospital. We threw ourselves somewhat together, and headed out the door...
    When Christela, our patient arrived, her mouth was clamped shut, and she was "out cold". 
     Our IV insertion was a bit difficult, but we finally got one in. We weren't having success pulling her teeth apart, so we got prepared to send her out to town. We kept asking her why she was crying, but she couldn't say. 
    Her family arrived one by one, and then her husband. The story continued to unfold. This morning, Christela's father-in-law spoke terrible things to her.That did it. That was too much for Christela. The next thing the world knew, Christela was lying down with a Clorox/Klerin bottle beside her.

    About an hour later, her husband returned from feeding his animals, found the bottle, and hurried to the hospital. He was clutching the bottle in his hand, pacing the tile emergency room floor, telling the story, while we worked over her body.
   Brother Daniel prayed a prayer over the bed of the invalid, and then we hoisted her onto the waiting machine. Was it Good-bye forever to Christela?
    When Donovan was about in town, Christela threw up. Oh, thank you, God! Donovan turned around and came home. Christela was now talking. Mali spent awhile talking with her and she said she would like to pray.
    Christela prayed the Believer's Prayer, but she is still very weak, and seems depressed. We hope to visit her tomorrow, and keep praying for her, that she could be a light in her dark family. 
     If Christela's story had ended in death, only God knows where the killing would have stopped. These kinds of things show what God can do when He performs a miracle through love and prayer. I praise the Lord for the chance that He is giving this family today, and I hope that Christela begins a chain of life and hope, instead of the Hate and Death that Satan intended. 
     (Just a note of interest...before we sent Christela out to town, our local witch doctor swept in, spent a bit of time over the bed, and then left. I really feel God wants to show His power in this situation, and I rejoice in the God that we serve.)
     Shortly after our day commenced with normal consultations, we had a little girl walk in with a finger about cut off. We noticed a piece of bone in the piece that was about to fall off, so we cut that out, and stitched her up. With antibiotics, a small splint, and, the beautiful healing power of the Lord, we hope for the best. 
     God bless your night. Let's keep strong for God!  Rhoda and the Ahlege Team

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...