Friday, February 28, 2014

Careful with hammers, folks!!

Jean Franz' foot, today. For you folks that have expressed interest in helping with his skin grafting, we did have contact with a potential hospital today. They are looking into possibilities and we should know soon what the options are! So keep praying about that.

Vision problems

This man fell down while working in the garden. A stalk of pitimi, or millet, entered under his eye and pushed at an angle right up into his eyeball itself, we believe! Ouch!!!
We couldn't do much other than clean and bandage the surface cuts, and give him a ride to town for a doctor visit. It didn't look good for the poor man's eye. But pray more that God would use this to bring him to Christ, he's not a believer.

Friday, February 21, 2014

If You're Happy and You Know It, Stomp Your Feet

     What a good day. As the sun disappears behind the hills, I know that it was good. For a lot of reasons. But wait until you see this picture.

  "In the Name of Jesus," Jean Franz chanted as he waved his leg and did his physical therapy exercises. It was so good to see him bouncing around and in good spirits. No tears today! His leg is continually making new skin, and he seems to be fighting infection quite bravely, although we know that the possibility of infection beginning is just around the corner at any time. "In the Name of Jesus", healing can happen, though. That part is thrilling. Later  today we pulled out some crutches to help him stomp his happy foot a bit more, and get some outside fresh air more often.

     I think I also need to tell you about yesterday. Because, well, because I am celebrating Kate's first delivery of a newborn! Unluckily, we lost a lot of sleep over it, but since it was an adorable, healthy baby girl in the end, we kind of forgave them all for that. Kate named the little thing Lovena before they left this morning.

   A man on crutches appeared in our clinic today. He had an open fracture from an accident he was involved in during the month of August. If he never gets help, he will be on crutches for the rest of his life. I hope we can find someone with a heart and the skill to rebreak it for him, and help him get back on his feet.

  Today we had a lot of visitors at clinic. About 7 Americans came to tour our facility in hopes of starting a new clinic in another area of the Haitian hills. I think it is exciting! So there, that's part of my good day. Have a good evening yourself! -Mis Woda

Thursday, February 20, 2014

All the Little People...

 ...have brought so many smiles to our faces the last few days! Some tiny and sick, others fat and healthy, others screaming for a Mama that died. Here are a few of the priceless expressions that passed through our doors.

 This tiny girlie came in our gate with her very out-of-breath Mama. Mama was by herself at her house when she went into a very FAST labor. As soon as she could she walked to the clinic with her very dirty, screaming, preemie baby. She weighed 4 lbs. 10 oz. but was perfectly formed and healthy. They had a dirty string tied loosely around her cord and her little belly tied tight with an old rag. Whit and I felt like we were playing doll as we bathed her and dressed her in a newborn sleeper that was MUCH too big. :) After a bath and some lotion in her lil cheeks she fell asleep looking perfectly content. Her Mama begged me to name her, so I named her exactly what she looked like. Angel. 

 Little Roodnael came in last week severely malnourished with a very high fever. This week he's lost some of his stomach distension and is stronger... just like our hilarious little Camilson who has been making us nurses laugh with his big cheesy grin. YAY for PlumpyNut!

                          Little Lovena has Downs Syndrome. She is cuteness personified.

 And the TWINS are back! Stina and Shadina are as healthy and chubby as ever. Thank God.

 I want to add a BIG Thank you to everyone who prayed for me during my time of sickness. I'm very happy and thankful to be reunited with my pink stethescope again. :) Praise God for life and breath!
 -Mis Kate

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Slow Days

I enjoy Tuesdays.  Monday morning always feels so rushed, as there is usually quite a few patients that are waiting to be seen, and rendezvouses to be taken care of, and everyone is still trying to wake up after the weekend.  Tuesdays are generally slower.  Time can be taken to talk to the blood pressure patients and (attempt) to ask them how they are and let them know whether or not their blood pressure was high today, since they all want to know.  I can ask Fre Adolph what a word means, if I can't figure it out.  Whit and I can spend extra time with Jean Franz, our burn patient, and be extra picky with wrapping his foot if we feel like it.  A little extra time for cleaning can be spared.  There isn't quite as long a line of blood pressure patients.  Life just generally feels more peaceful to me on Tuesday.

I thought about not doing a blog post today, since it seemed like a relatively uneventful day, but then I thought that maybe a short, uneventful post was better than no post, so...

I thought I might add a few pictures from today, mostly because they take up space and make it look like I wrote a much longer post than I actually did. :o) Here Rhoda and Whitney are having class, as Rho is teaching Whitney how to take care of all the blood pressure patients that come in each day.


This is Jean Franz, checking out his neighbors, a mother and baby that came in yesterday evening and spent the night in the hospital.  He is always interested in anything that is happening around his current "home", looking, I'm sure, for something to break up the monotony of his days here.

And here Rhoda is, steri-stripping a small laceration on this young man's face, just above his left eye.  He looked so sad, so I tried to cheer him up by offering to take a picture of him, and then showing it to him.  That will usually elicit a grin or a laugh from the glummest of children, but not so with this youngster.  I thought I may have caught a glimmer of a smile when I showed him the photo that I had taken of him, but it vanished all too quickly.  I'm still not sure if it was the pain from his injury, or just shyness, that kept him from smiling.

So, like I said, a rather uneventful day here at the clinic.  Which isn't all bad, at least, not in my book.  Uneventful means nobody losing a scary amount of blood, that nobody has a mother or son that is probably not going to make it much longer, and that we didn't have any patients sick enough to need to be sent out.  So I'm okay with slow days.  In fact, I enjoy them. :o)

Oh, and I'm going to add one final picture below.  Whit and I decided to go for a walk this afternoon to see for ourselves how Fre Direk's mule has been faring.  I grabbed my camera before we left, so, hopefully, I could capture a picture of how well she is doing; and (maybe) share with y'all the same satisfied feeling I had when I saw her. 

Have a blessed week, and thanks for taking the time to read the blog. :o)


Friday, February 14, 2014

What Do You Think Of...

when you think "Valentine's Day"? 

Something like this, right?   Not sick and dying people, especially not one like this one- a young 25 year old man that should be well and strong and full of life!
His family carried him into the clinic on a cot this morning, telling us that he had been sick for about
a month and now he had a fever and couldn't breathe well.   He looked awful!
His breathing was very labored and his oxygen stats were in the 60's.  We put him on 6 liters of oxygen right away and started working to get an IV put in him. 
First Mis Rhoda, then Mis Katie, and then Mis Leda all tried to get an IV running, but they couldn't find any good veins. He was too dehydrated.   They thought about trying for a vein in his foot, but his feet were swollen tight.
Notice how much bigger his left leg is than his right.  We're not sure why, but wondered if it was
from a blood clot.
We were half expecting him to die right there in front of us.  When Katie asked him, he said he wasn't saved, so we called Fre Nores (Noah) in to share the gospel with him.  He explained to him that Mother Mary couldn't pardon his sins, but that Jesus could if he would believe in Him!  He understood and said he believed and wanted Jesus to forgive all his sin, so there we all prayed with him!  And we know that Jesus heard the cry of his heart, and that he was forgiven, cleansed, and saved!  The gospel is so simple.  But it's works because it's the Truth, and it's such a joy to get to see it work!

Is it still sad to see someone so sick?  Of course.  But knowing that if he does die, it only means he'll be with Jesus, it takes away the sad hopelessness and finality of death.  "Thanks be unto God for His unspeakable gift!" 2 Cor. 9:15 

So what became of him?  Well, we don't know the end of his case yet, but we suspected that he had Tuberculosis and AIDS, so we decided to send him out to Ti Goave to a TB treatment center there.
As I had been watching him struggling to breathe, and thinking about him maybe facing the end of his young life already, I had to imagine what life would mean to me if I was him.  It made me think about how little so many of the things I love in life really matter.  There are so many lesser things we can love- even life itself, but at the end of the day, all that's going to matter is whether or not we loved God and each other.  

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Off to Town....

    That's what the rest of them did. And left us five girls home alone with a phone number. So far, we've survived, but it's been an interesting day, and we've only called the phone number once. Next time, I think we'll just go along to TiGoave with the rest, though, because, when it comes to the five of us starting generators and flipping water pumps, we realize how little syringes and pills help us in real life....Grin!
    This morning we sent our Anthrax patient out to TiGoave. We've had her in our clinic since Monday, but after stabilizing her, we realized that our resources are limited for long term residence here, and we opted for sending her on to a bigger facility where she has a doctor, more medicine, and
more oxygen at her disposal.

   Her story started Monday, with her arrival in our clinic. After a bit of observation, we inserted an IV, and put her on oxygen. Even with that, her breathing was labored, and her fever continued to rise. Since it seemed like she was in the late stages of the disease, we realized that some fairly extreme measures would need to be taken. Thankfully, Steve was at the clinic, assisting in the pharmacy at that time, and was the impasse we needed to help us give our first injected Hydrocortisone, since our scare with Nurse Katie, and that near death experience. (They say scent is the best thing to bring back memories, but I wonder. Maybe it's medicine. And, well, some memories you don't want to relive. Ever.)
     Within a few minutes, it seemed her breathing came a bit easier, and she was able to rest a bit better. Also, her 107 degree fever began to break, and she rested later in the afternoon. After that initial scare, we put her on Prednisone, orally, and other meds to fight the specific sickness she has. This morning, we had the ambulance going to town, so, after much coaching, we finally convince her family that this is serious enough that she needs to take the offer of a ride out while we still have the chance. Little grandmas with Anthrax don't last forever.
     This afternoon a cute little chimpanzee of a boy came with a fever of 104.5 degrees. We tried to cool him down a bit with Ibuprophen and wet gauze. Then we realized he has a horrible, worm infected wound on both of his legs. How sad! He cried while the nurses cleaned and bandaged his ugly, scaly stumps of legs. I am sure we will be seeing him every day for awhile.
     And you all are wondering how the mule is doing? Direk said he is eating. So I'm thinking that's a good thing!
     It's rolling right around to monthly med shopping again. I feel very indebted to everyone in the States who makes it possible that we can have the meds we do. Thank-you, friends, and God bless you as you help people here. If it wasn't for God touching your hearts, we couldn't even have much to offer the Haitians, here.
    You better stop me, though, or I am going to start asking for money for all our twenty-five hernia patients who are waiting for someone to donate for their cause, and that might be more than you are asking for! Like the sweet, little 8 year old thing that came yesterday, all dressed in a white, lacy dress...but struggling to stay well, and having a hernia besides. You know, it kind of rips you up, when there is nothing you can do for her...but treat her eye infection...
   Have a good night all!

Friday, February 7, 2014

A New Kind Of Patient.

I dreamed of someday growing up and being a veterinarian when I was a kid.  I never imagined that I would end up as a nurse working in Haiti.  And it certainly never crossed my mind that I would end up assisting in veterinarian work while working as a nurse in Haiti. :o) 

Fre Direk, one of the men that works at the clinic, has a mule that had a gash that he wanted the nurses to stitch up yesterday afternoon after we were finished at the clinic.  I thought it sounded like fun, so Whit and I headed out to help Ro with her new patient.  It looked as though someone had taken a machete to the poor thing -whether intentionally or not, I never found out.  The gash being approximately eight inches long and gaping open almost four inches, along with the close proximity to the rather unhappy animal's hind feet, made the task of closing this wound look a little more daunting than some. 
As the men wrapped ropes around the mule, in an attempt to restrain it enough to be able to stitch it up, Ro set up and prepared to inject lidocaine around the gash.  After the men proclaimed it safe, Ro bravely edged closer with her needle, and put an incredible effort into numbing the poor beast up. 
She managed to get the shots done, and attempted to start stitching, but the mule had other ideas.  Fre Direk, the owner of the mule, is the man in the yellow shirt, by the way.

So, since nobody wanted to get hurt, the men were told that unless they could find a better way of restraining the mule, there was nothing more that could be done.

After an inordinately long length of time, a lot of discussion amongst themselves, and a rather vigorous fight, the men had the mule lying on it's side, with it's feet somewhat treacherously secured.  It was still a bit disgruntled about the needles being dug into it's flank, so the first few stitches were ripped out from it's attempts to regain it's feet.  Mis Leda wanted a chance to try her hand at stitching it, so the suture needle was handed off to her, and I decided to add my weight to the effort in holding the mule down.  
My new vantage point also enabled me to be able to hold the edges of the wound together, keeping the stitches from ripping out, while Ro, Whit, and Kate helped by passing things to, and cutting things for, Mis Leda.

 Our team effort paid off, and multiple suture sets and rinses with iodine later, we were looking at a pretty neat stitch job. :o) I wish we had remembered to get a picture, so that I could show you the difference, but we were all too happy to have finished to think of it. :o) The mule seemed to be pretty pleased to be finally be allowed up and have us done, too, and Fre Direk was extremely grateful to have his mule looking a little more.....healthy and put together. :o) 

 On a side note, and completely unrelated to the clinic, I have been talking about getting some kind of pet since I got down here, and just never got around to it.  So I was utterly delighted to walk into my room yesterday evening and find an adorable little bunny in a box on my bed. :o) And today, the guys built a fantastic rabbit hutch for her to live in.  So this is just to let everyone out there in cyberspace know what fantastic people there are down here.  Thanks again, to everyone that chipped in to surprise me and allow me to have something to spoil rotten and de-stress with. :o)  Ya'll are the best!

Good evening, folks, and have a blessed week! 


Wednesday, February 5, 2014

This Little Piggy...

had none. :[   You remember Jean Franz?   I knew it was only a matter of time before his toe came off.  Last Thursday it was dead enough to snip the last little bit of skin holding it on without him even noticing.   I think he was a bit surprised to sit up and see it was gone!  I can't say that I enjoy the feeling of cutting toes off, even if they are dead.   It just doesn't feel quite right.  :]  But on the whole, we're very happy about how his foot is doing!
Below is a picture from today.  It's amazing to see how quickly new skin is growing back!  We were very excited to get more B&W creme, as of yesterday!  We're also bandaging it with boiled banana leaves in place of nonsticks now, which is working great. 
Right now we're spending extra time working with him to exercise his foot every day so he doesn't get foot drop or lose movement in it.   Yesterday when we made him stand up and staighten his hurt foot to the ground, he screamed and cried and begged us to stop.   Today he did it almost willingly, comparatively.  And he seemed proud to show us how much he can move it up and down!   That sure put a smile on our faces. 
Kindra, Rho, and I cheer, high five, and say "Mesi, Bondye!"  (Thank you, God!:)  
As far as when he'll be totally healed up, he still has a long road ahead, and we keenly feel our need for wisdom to know what's best to do, and when.   Right now we're talking about the possiblity of getting some skin grafting done for him, which would have to be done in Port-au-Prince. 
And this little piggy below...probably went to market one too many times without a shoe. 
Actually, it belongs to a poor old man with bad blood sugar problems.  It seems as though the whole top is mostly just rotting flesh, but sadly still alive enough that he can still feel the pain of it.  We lidocained around it and then slowly began cutting away bit by bit of dead flesh...
We decided that it was worth trying masks for this job.  Unfortunately other than fogging my glasses and making our faces hot, they didn't make much of a difference.  :)  To the right is the man's daughter helping hold his leg still. 

Well I'm short on time to write much today, the reason- or maybe excuse, being that Lord-willing Kate and DominiQue will be here tonight (finally!:), so we're eagerly checking things off our to-do list in preparation for their arrival!  ;)  So all for now.  Have a great day, and take care of your toes!  :)

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Thanks Again, God!

   Babies are gifts straight from heaven. The more infants I see making it safely into the world, the more I believe it. There are so many things that can go wrong. In this case the baby was fine, but the mom went through some trauma after the birth. This was the first time I saw a prolapse, post-delivery, and had to work quickly to replace the stubborn inwards....
   After the mom was stabilized, and the IV was dripping swiftly, I realized that I was shaking, and also pretty much splashed with blood. I want to thank our team again. They always amaze me with their intuition and cheerleading skills. The birth is over, everyone seems to be fine at the moment, and we have a lot to be thankful for.
   And for those of you who are still in the dark about our newest addition to the staff, I will slide a picture on of Kindra Stoll. We are very blessed to have her as part of our staff.

Saturday, February 1, 2014


Hello from the newest member of the clinic team.  My name is Kindra Stoll.  I'll be around for the next year, Lord willing, so I've been told I'm supposed to introduce myself to everyone.  I'm from Tennessee, and am the daughter of Ervin & Linda Stoll, for all of you genealogy-lovers out there. :o)  I've been here just a bit over two weeks now, and it's beginning to feel like home. 

I'm still trying to find "my" place here at the clinic, so I'm a little unsure what I should write about.  I don't really have a set-in-stone job, and I don't always feel as though I'm being much help when I'm constantly calling for Whit or Ro to translate or tell me how to do something.  I am ever-so-slowly starting to figure out where things belong, who is who, and get a feel for the way the clinic runs, though.

As you may have guessed, learning the language is pretty high on my priority list right now, so I am trying to take the time each day to study.  Easier said than done, though, here at the mission.  People stay pretty busy around here.  There are always pills to count out, dishes to be washed, food to make, and people knocking at the gate.

Since I can't speak creole, I'm fairly limited in what I can do at the clinic, as far as doing a consultation with a patient, and actually diagnosing their problem and treating it.  Things that can be done without having to hold a conversation with the person, such as taking vitals, or getting medicines, tend to fall more into my realm of work.  When I'm not busy with that, I just sorta float around and try to find someone that looks like they could use a second set of hands, whether it's holding Whit's burn patient's leg up, or one of Ro's abscess patients down.  

Those are the situations that drain me.  When children are crying, screaming, and begging you to please stop hurting them.  I can't tell them that it has to be cleaned out, cut off, or stitched up to prevent an infection from claiming their limb or their life.  I can't tell them that yes, it will hurt really bad for a bit, but it has to happen, and it will be over soon.  I can only stare into their dark, hurting eyes, and whisper the word for "I'm sorry." 

Steve & Shana and their children, along with Whitney and Rhoda, went out to Petit Goave this afternoon.  Steve has to go to Port in the morning to pick up a couple at the airport, so they are spending the night in Petit Goave and the girls and Shana will stay there while he goes to the airport tomorrow.  They left me holding the clinic keys with rather shaky hands, the only blan nurse left at the mission, while I tried to reassure myself by repeating mentally that God will not hand me more than I can handle. :o)

I was supposed to be adding a picture of myself to this post, but since I forgot to get Whit's camera card from her, I guess it will have to wait.  So, until next time...God bless!    


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