Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Jean Franz (Jah Frahs)

...is the 16 year old boy who first showed up at the clinic Jan 7th, with a very badly burnt foot.   (I think Rho briefly mentioned him awhile back)  They said he fell into the fire.  At first we couldn't tell how deep the damage was.  We cleaned it and bandaged it with B&W creme and gave him a rendezvous to come back again very soon.  I think it was the third time he came back for re-bandaging that we decided he would need to stay in the hospital room for awhile.   All the skin slipped right off like the skin off a boiled tomato, exposing tissues we don't like to see exposed.   It was particularly deep right on the top of his foot, deep enough that we could see the white tendon running to his big toe.  At that point we decided we would need to go sterile to clean and re-bandage him every day.  So that's what we've been doing.  Every morning we pull off the slimy bandages from the day before, and with a sterile set of scissors and tweezers, I carefully cut away all the loose dead skin, fat, and tissues.  
This was a couple weeks ago...
Thankfully that doesn't hurt him at all since it's dead.  The washing part does hurt him quite a bit.    We're down to healthy red flesh now, which is a good thing except for the fact that it hurts him more.  We gently wash and wipe his foot with iodine and gauze, and then irrigate it with sterile water.  After that we re-bandage it with more B&W, making sure we put guaze with creme between all his toes to keep them from sticking together.   The past few days there are what look like red blisters on the most raw areas that bleed really easily.   We weren't sure what to think of them, but the Doc came and looked at his foot and said to just keep doing, so we were glad to hear that!
A few days ago...
Most recent shot, taken today...
His dad and mom take shifts staying with him in the hospital, occasionally along with one of their other five children.  It's been a blessing for us to have them around and get to know them more.  We often find them reading their Bibles or singing when we come in.  It's not very often that you see Christian families like theirs who seem always ready to serve in any way they can, whether by sweeping, mopping, burning trash, or wherever else they see a need.   At this point it's hard telling how much longer he's gonna have to stay at the hospital, but it sure looks like he has a long road to recovery ahead.   We're hopeful that B&W will be true to it's reputation though and speed the journey! 
Continue to pray for us here!  We need the grace and strength and wisdom of God each day to deal with each new situation as it comes.  Ro mentioned the little boy and the mother we took out to Ti Goave yesterday.  We made it safely to the hospital with them and left them in the care of good Doctors.  The Dr was ordering an x-ray for the boy when we left, but we haven't heard anything more about how he's doing yet.  
God bless you, each in your special slot of service for Him! :) 

Monday, January 27, 2014

Get Up!-It's Monday....

  The other morning I woke up and ran to the door. "What?" I yelled.
   Nobody was there. It was just a bad dream.
   Well, this morning, someone WAS there, when I ran to answer the call.
   "Are you up yet?" Steve wondered.
   "Yes," I said, trying to make it sound like I had been up a long time, but tricking no one.
   "There is a pregnant lady at the clinic," he informed us.
   By the time we saw her, she was not pregnant anymore. In fact, they told us that the small baby had been born sometime after midnight. I was wishing it was a bad dream. But it was for real. A little midget of an angel was lying there, to remind us of heaven before we started the week.
   By the time we felt comfortable to leave her, it was time for a bit of coffee and then a U-turn to the clinic again. We were planning to put an IV in the lady who had come first thing this morning, but... A lady came in screaming and holding out a blood-dripping thumb. So, everyone stood back a little as we helped her into a bed, and got out the sterile scissors. A few stitches and steri-strips later, we thought it looked a bit more like a thumb again.
   Then, before we even got her bandaged, another little boy arrived. He was breathing hard, bleeding into his cornea, and not able to urinate. So, the attention shifted to him. His oxygen stats were unstable, so we put him on oxygen, and made plans to send him out to the hospital after Mis Leda administered a catheter.
   Meanwhile, another patient showed up. We are highly suspicious that he has tuberculosis, and so we also sent him out today, to a special faculty where they help tuberculosis patients. 
   So, back to the IV and the lady with the miscarriage. She joined the machine and went out to TiGoave for further care. I wanted to cry with her, when I saw tears streaming down her cheeks. What a hard day. "My children at home, they don't have anything," she whispered in my ear.
     Here is a little girl we have been seeing every day this week. She had an abscess on her chest, and a draining wound above her eyes. It is so exciting to see her improving.

                                                    It's Madeline!
   Now, as the day fades away, we are waiting to hear from Steve and Whitney, who have not yet returned from TiGoave, where they took our transfer cases. 
      The day doesn't want to stop. I try to write this little epistle and end up going down to clinic to help a few more people with skin conditions, or little problems. I know it is Monday! And that God is still in control! Thank-you for all your prayers! Mis Woda

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

It's About Time

...for another blog post!  Sometimes we have a hard time finding something interesting to blog about.  Sometimes we have lots to blog, but we get so busy with everything happening that we just don't have time to blog anything.  And then sometimes we have something to blog and the time to blog it, but really bad internet connection.  And that's how it's been lately.  :)  So we're sorry for the silence, but it will probably be awhile yet before we have good enough connection again to be able to post anything.   So until then... :)

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

In Search of Good Moms...

     It was a busy day, and I kept passing Whitney in the hall, as she sailed around, checking on her patients, and bandaging the burn boy. Have you met him yet?
     We love him. His name is Jean Franz, and, in spite of the pain of a very serious burn,  he is often very cheerful.

      He is on a daily dose of Antibiotic, via IV, and we are bandaging his burns with sterile precautionary techniques.We are holding him in a hospital bed, so we can keep a better eye on his progress. It is so refreshing to find him passing the day reading in the Bible story book that Whit gave him, or see an open Bible on his dad's bed when we come in the morning.
     So far, we feel like things are headed in a right direction with his wounds, but it will be a long road uphill to recovery. His tendons and veins stare dangerously out from a moist, white wound. And we stare back, prayerfully hoping they soon are covered with skin. I think Whit will give you a nice, detailed update on him later this week. His wound looks a lot different now, with all the dead skin peeled away.
     "I have a baby for you to look at," Mis Josalaine called.
     I stare at the little face, and realize this baby is only about 9 pounds at four months old. Maybe I should try to feed him and see how he acts. He acts lethargic. He wants to gag. I look again. Is his breathing steady?
    Oxygen stats show that he is not doing well at all. And that is how we decided that this baby needs to go somewhere where he has a chance. Which isn't home to his family. Our team called a machine down and in a few more minutes the baby was on its way to a hospital, where big doctors will do what they can to save the miserable existence of one more sweet baby.
    And the next day, we sent another baby out to a specialized malnutrition center. His poor little swollen feet sported open, bloody sores, and in spite of drinking donated protein-rich milk every day, he wasn't thriving. Hopefully, with 24 hour, specialized care, he can do a bit better.
     We were just finished with our beans and rice, when another person called for a nurse. I slowly walked down to the clinic, wondering why the parents hadn't brought the baby in earlier in the day. And then, as the reality of what I was being showed struck me, I couldn't help but pity the creature before me. It was a baby. One baby-with how many heads? An ugly abscess-a watery lump of fibrous tissue. The baby smelled bad. He was all wrapped up in a towel, and covered with a sheet. Poor thing. Poor living creature. We tried to get it to drink a bit of milk, which it did lazily, and then we sent the dad and baby out to the hospital to search for help. Ache. Big ache for that big head. But hopeful that somewhere some kind physician will have the wisdom and love to help him somehow.

     Mis Leda got the chance to cut a cast off this week, too. Bless her for all her help these busy days with Mis Katie gone!


Wednesday, January 8, 2014

The Lord Giveth, and the Lord Taketh Away

...blessed  be the name of the Lord!   That verse has been on my mind the past few days, seeing the miracle of new life beginning, and the finality of life on earth ending.
Monday morning we heard there was a mother in labor on her way to the clinic.    Rho ran down to the clinic to prepare for her arrival, and soon called me on the radio telling me that the baby was already born when the lady got there.  A tiny premie baby boy, she said.    He was just a little over 3 lbs.    When I got to the clinic, Rho had him on a heating pad 'cause his temperature was way too cold.   We kept him on the heating pad all morning, keeping a close eye on him, and checking his temp regularly.   Slowly but surely, he soaked up the warmth, occasionally peeking out at the world from his little cave of blankets.  His cry sounded just like a little baby kitten, and he ate like one too, from a tiny dropper.   
Thankfully we had a very easy clinic day, which gave us more time to work with him.    We went home for lunch and came back again soon after that to check on him.   It was time to feed him again.  His mother really loved him, and very carefully fed him dropper by dropper of milk.    He didn't seem to be eating well, and then threw up all the milk he had gotten.  He was getting cold again, and his color didn't look good, so we decided to put him back on the heating pad again.  We realized then that something was more seriously wrong.  He wasn't responding well, and his hands were turning blue.  We gave him oxygen and tried stimulating him, but he made no response.  Rho called Nate and 'Nita down, and they helped us do CPR, but his heart rate just kept dropping until it finally stopped.   There was nothing more we could do.   It was sad, especially having to tell the mother.  She cried, and so did we, but it wasn't a hopeless cry...   We felt the peace of God there with us, and knew that He was in control.   
                                                      The mother with her tiny baby...

                                                        Several hours before he died...

Just as we finished praying with the mother, another laboring mother came in to the clinic.   A couple hours later, another baby boy was born, this one perfectly healthy and strong.   It was bittersweet to see one life taken, and another given so close together like that.  I wondered how the first mother felt seeing the joy of the other mother when we gave her her new healthy baby boy to hold.  She's not converted yet, and the next morning before she left, she asked Rhoda if she had any pills she could give her to help her get over the shock of losing her baby.   Rho took the opportunity to talk and pray with her, encouraging her to read the Bible, and inviting her to come and talk anytime, which she was very appreciative of.
We sang this song together that evening.  It's a comforting reminder of how safe we are in the love and care of Jesus!   With things like Kate's close encounter Saturday night and then this experience, it tends to puts life in a new perspective.  It truly is a gift from God...

Children of the heav'nly Father, safely in His bosom gather;
Nestling bird nor star in heaven, such a refuge e'er was given.

Neither life nor death shall ever, from the Lord His children sever;
Unto them His grace He showeth, and their sorrows all He knoweth.

Though He giveth or He taketh, God His children ne'er forsaketh;
His the loving purpose solely, to preserve them pure and holy.

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Hives Alive-On Nurse Katie

     "Katie, what is wrong?" I looked hard at Katie writhing on the bed, and thought I heard her sniffing.
    "I don't know," she moaned. And she kept moaning. And moaning. Then she started to gasp and sat up straight on the edge of the bed.
    Since she had just showed me a lot of hives that were big and welting on her skin, I really took this seriously. She seemed to be in major distress.
    "Katie can't you breathe well?"
    "I don't know what is wrong," she said.
    I picked up the radio and called Anita. Then she called Steve's down to our house.
    "We need to put her on oxygen," someone said. And that was where we all took her next. A few of us carried Katie out to the Bobcat, and from there to the clinic bed.
    Kate's oxygen stats were not good. And she was still struggling to breathe. "Hold me tight, I can't feel right. My hands are numb."
     "We don't have any epinephrine here," I said.
     "Get me some albuterol," Kate gasped. We gave her some, but it helped very little. She was still calling out for us to hold her. People were gathered around praying out loud while we tried to put ice packs on her hot, swollen skin.
    "Hold me tight," she kept begging pitifully.
    "We're right here, Kate."
     Other wonderful people were swarming around getting oxygen ready to send out with us for our trip to the hospital, and finding clothing for Katie, in case she stayed at the hospital for awhile.
    Then the trip to town started. Kate was wearing out. Anita was checking Katie's heart rate, and holding her feet, while we continued reminding her to breathe....or holding ice on her hot skin.
     It was so long. That hour and fourteen minutes.
     I kept praying that we could get there faster. And we did break a record in our speed!
     Kate would say, "I can't do it anymore."
     And we would pray and tell her to breathe again.
     After an IV was administered, it was only a matter of minutes before Katie was breathing better.
    After an hour or two of vigilance at the hospital, we asked if we could take her to Darvin and Joanna's house in town, if we took some medicine along and were prepared to administer it at any time.
    The doctors eventually agreed, and we spent the rest of the night vigil at Darv's house.
    After a somewhat restless night, Kate was starting to get really itchy again.
    "I think we better start another IV," we said to each other. Poor Katie, all this pain. And so unrelenting! She was so exhausted.
    After the IV she could breathe a bit better again, but she was so itchy. Her skin was just so warm. Just sad. Looking at Katie made me want to cry. Why did God allow this?
     But the point is that God would be glorified. And I want to thank and bless Him
for allowing Kate life again. Please keep praying for her, because she is still very weak, and feels a need for prayer. Especially. The spiritual battle is a real thing here, and we really depend on the power of God to sustain and work for us. We are hoping that as Katie returns to the States for a bit of a break, that we all can rest that God has a plan in what He is up to.
   We haven't been writing a lot from our clinic corner in the last weeks. So much has happened. We had a Sunday when four people were brought in after a motorcycle accident, and our hospital beds were completely filled up with people. And there was a premie baby that blessed us with life for one day. And there was a big splinter we pulled out of a poor little boy's foot. But it is all a part of January in Haiti which struggles to find a normal. If you know what I mean.

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