Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Hope! for the Penniless!

    "Come in," I said, as I welcomed our first evening visitor in the door. "I will make a bed for you." It was Thursday evening, and I was just leaving the clinic, after getting the first two people comfortable. Two more patients came, needing beds for themselves and their chaperones.
    I pulled a mat down from the attic, and then, ran out to the wash line for a sheet. This was like having company. What fun! By now, every single bed was being filled, and there were at least 13 people in our little hospital room.
    The reason it was fun, was because it wasn't any emergency. We were gathering our appointments together to take to Mirabale, five hours away, where there was a beautiful, up-to-date hospital. We were hoping they could fix our problems!
     By the time we got done getting everyone settled down, and making sure they all had someone to go along with them, it was time for the people to get to bed if they were going to get any sleep before midnight.
    At the strike of twelve, our trip was to begin. We handed out Dramamine for carsickness, and got everyone awake. Soon we were  stacked somewhat sensibly into our Landrover.
     Then we bounced and rocked the five hours to our destination. When we arrived, somewhat sleep-deprived, we stumbled out of the machine, and toured the beautiful Mirabale site. It was like a dream hospital come true.  Black metal woodwork stood out brightly against a clean white hospital wall. The fresh morning air flowed through the open windows. Lines of patients already waited at the walkways to the entrance.
   We wondered around, and I grasped a life-saving cup of coffee, by the street side. A sweet girl came to talk to me while I drank it. "I don't need Haitian friends again," she said. " I have a White."
     Then we bought a spaghetti breakfast with chicken for all our starving patients. Our poor little old mountain men didn't see anything wrong with just throwing the chicken bones anywhere. It made for some good grins, and a couple embarrassing stories, until they got it all gobbled up. The spaghetti, smeared with ketchup, and mayonnaise, needed to be  sufficiently swiped off the tile floor after the repast. Along the way, the importance of using the public restrooms in the provided places needed to be enforced. You can only imagine. Or, please don't!
     Finally, after hours of trying to lean on benches, and drape our eyelids over our eyeballs, we actually were allowed to see the doctor.Our brave little grandpa, with one good foot, hopped along bravely into the doctor's office. It was now 1:30 in the afternoon, at least, and we had been at the hospital for seven hours. Our two little girl patients looked pretty normal, but the large wounds on our two old men, were oozing, dirty, and fly-tempting by now. It was humiliating to present them to the Doctor in this way, but he was very gracious!

    One by one, they diagnosed the wounds, hernia, and lumps. They labeled them as operable, for the most part. It was not the time to be depressed! We had a place to go with our big, long-term cases, and we were getting EXCITED. Steve helped set up appointments with the doctor and his assistant for the 10th of June. They hope to continue the treatment plans, make more biopsies, or tests as required.
   Then, we waited some more, until a CAT scan could be made for our bed-sore man. He was so sweet. His sore hurt him so bad, and they had even taken a biopsy. By now, he must be in unimaginable agony!
   "Are you all willing to come back for your appointments," we asked.
   "Oh, Doctor," they all chorused, "whatever you say!"
    Steve smiled and shook his head.
    It was, at this point, edging on 4:30 pm, and we were hitting the trail home. Such throwing up as commenced to ensue. The smells, lack of sleep, and overwhelmingly full vehicle added sensations you may not wish to imagine. We were asked to take two patients from another party along, who were leaving the hospital, to their home in Port-au-Prince, since we were passing that way. As we went that way, we were able to get stuck in traffic. That block-up lasted for an hour or two, which for me, was the longest stretch of sleep I had since a long time ago.
   By now, it is dark, and we thought "Happy Hour" as we pull into a restaurant. It WAS great food. And, then, as we pulled out onto the highway, they pulled out the tin vomit cans again.
    We got home about 11:00pm. After tucking our remaining patients into bed, we said to ourselves. "Bed? or Blog?"
     Shall we sleep over it, or tell the world about it, so they can help us make this happen and change many more lives in Haiti?!

     P.S. To those of you who donated to the hernia girl--she is getting her operation on the 10th of June.

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