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Wednesday, November 10, 2010


You never know what life will bring here. That’s the interesting part of living here, though not always easy to know what to do.

Monday we had a boy fall outside the clinic. We brought him in. Skinny as can be, probably about 12-13 yrs old. He was dehydrated, and said he hadn’t eaten in 3 days. We gave him IV and some food. He had come with another young girl and her 3 yr old sister.

We had some people visiting from a neighboring mission, and they found it in their heart to take the boy in temporarily. He said his dad had died in the earthquake and his mom had died of cholera. Bless these missionaries! They have great hearts. We warned them about getting it legal, about getting a family member to come sign; I encouraged them to wait till next week. They asked me if I believed him, and I told them the story is to set up. It’s not likely both parents die in tragedies like these.

(He was taken up to his home town today, and low and behold, both his parents were there. The mom had been really mad at him making up such a story. Apparently he’s having “bad habits” problems, which is why he’s so thin.

At 4 p.m., I took our doctor Jean Robert, Nick (a guy that’s here for a week) and a patient and we went to a hospital 3 miles down the road. We wanted to try doing an Ultrasound, though now I know that was just something God used to get us there.

While there, Nick (who had come with teams to volunteer at that hospital several times this year already) wondered over to the public patient area on the other side, which they had open to cholera patients. All the others left cause they don't want to be there with those patients. Judy and Susan, a couple of our visiting nurses were with us, (Judy has been helping both in St Marc with the cholera patients and in PP the week the team was there). They found two men dead from cholera, lying there, and 8 other patients, some with IVs, some not. They talked with the nurse and she showed them her supplies. She had no more LR left and only two 500 ml Sodium Cloride, very few gloves, the limited intracatheters of course, no alcohol, no bleach, and patients vomiting and having diarrhea all over and no buckets for them. It wasn't a pretty picture. We asked her if they really didn't have more stuff or just hadn't given her more. She didn't know, said "maybe" they have more, but that's all she had. By now it's past 5 and no doctors around. So we asked the nurse if it would be ok if we took some patients (the worst ones) to St Marc, and she said that would be no problem; in fact, she looked very relieved

So we took 3 kids, a 3 or 4 yr old boy who was vomiting a lot when we got there, and they weren't able to put an IV in again, but did seem a little more stable later but who's father was one of the two dead men lying there (they had come in together that morning), a teenage girl from that morning who lay barely conscious and very sunken eyes, and a 6-8 yr old girl from a local orphanage in Montrouis that looked like death, and went to St Marc. The sight there was INCREDIBLE! You can't imagine unless you're there. People everywhere. They've built these tarp over wood beams shelters on the lawn and everywhere. They're big. The "triage" where we ended up must have had 100 patients. They have narrow, 3 strips metal benches, maybe 6-8 rows and maybe 60-80 ft long and ALL head to toe with people on IVs. Strings across the room allow you to hang as many as you can. Total at the hospital they figured they had about 400 cholera patients, but I'm sure they didn't have all counted. The 3 we brought in were attended without registering. The leading doctor, from Spain, was very nice, and attentive, right there with the patients, and grateful we had brought them in and said they would turn no cholera patients away. He took one look at our little girl and there were about 4 people trying to get an IV in on each limb, and one putting in an NG tube because it seemed almost impossible. That girl was almost gone. They had to check the heart several times. I was impressed by all they were doing. We could see everyone was busy. They told us where to lay them (squeeze everyone closer!!) and soon Dr Carlos checked the little girl. She looked so bad, I can’t believe she made it, but she did, thanks to the many doctors that worked urgently on getting a vein to take fluids. Meanwhile, other patients’ family members would call us to check their family member’s IV. Because they want to get so much fluid into them, they have the IVs going fast, and so often run dry, and sometimes stop working. So for a long time, I went around, hanging new ones and a few times, starting new IVs. They were so grateful. I can still see both the patients and family members faces relax a little with each new IV bag that was hung. To them, this is life (and for many of them it literally is). (good place to practice IV starts, especially since they’re dehydrated!). Just truly an amazing sight!!! I’ve never seen so many critical patients in one area. At the same time, it can be cured and treated, and quite fast. You would see them bring a patient in that seemed lifeless and an hour later and a few IV solutions, their eyes have stopped the glassy looked and they look more relaxed and less scared.

We told the doctor about the hospital that didn’t have supplies and they ended up giving us 3 boxes of RL and other supplies to take to the hospital for the patients there (which was good because I felt bad leaving anyone behind; but it didn't help to find the nurse sleeping while IVs were dry)

We got home a little before 10 p.m.

Today was another busy day. The eventful thing was a 2 ¼ kg baby that came in (I can’t believe how many preemies have come lately!) This one was brought in by the aunt. Said her dad had died after being shot several months ago. The mom died 3 days ago; she had had a bad vision about the father coming to her as a zombie (real here in Haiti) and attacking and beating her. In the morning she got a fever and died that day. How do you deal with that? This is something they believe in. Anyway, I helped the aunt with some things, and hopefully she’ll come back in a week to see how the baby is.

Whew! These 2 days feel longer than two days!

Thursday, November 4, 2010

God's Miraculous day.

Hello from Haiti,

As the possible third tradgedy of the year is arriving, you can sense a lot of fear in the Haitian people. I don't blame them. It's been a devastating year. The Cholera is still going strong. We heard it was slowing down, but apparently it's picking up again. They admitted almost a hundred new patients to the St Marc hospital yesterday. Apparently over 400 deaths yesterday. There are many people that never make it to the hospitals. How I would love to drive and take them there. Judy, our visiting nurse that's helping out there this week says it's awful. The rooms filled from 20 to 40 to 60 in a room now. The families take care of the diarrhea and the nurses are kept busy hanging IVs for hydration. They lose all minerals so fast! A couple IVs can bring a blood pressure up from 60/40 to 130/70 and warm up the ice cold hands due to lack of circulation.

Now Hurricane Tomas is on the horizon. I believe God can still put it on another path if it's his will. Already it looks like it'll hit only the southern tip of Haiti. Still, it'll probably produce a lot of rain, the first of which is just starting here at 4:15. Supposedely the worst is to hit around midnight. We're preparing here by filling all the water tanks so the wind can't blow them over, boarding up some windows, or moving things away from windows. We've bought extra food. Because we're on a hill, I expect we will be fine. You can pray for our safety, but more than ours, pray for the 1.3 million people still living in tents. We heard the government was starting to evacuate them... but where to.... Nobody seems to know. Can't imagine many have a place to go. Even just big rains causes a problem for them. Flash floods have already killed many this year. With so few trees, the ground goes too.

I've continued busy with Chibelson, up until last night. I think God has an awesome plan for him. He’s sure going to a lot of trouble for him. Or maybe it’s not trouble for him but fun! Can you imagine God sitting up there, looking down and thinking, “Hah! Let’s see what the cute little people down there will do with a bitty thing that’s needy. I’ll get a chance to show them a glimpse of me and that’ll be fun.”

So since last blog, we’ve had him at home and the visiting nurses have done the primary care with the rest of us pitching in, especially days when there is no clinic or school. He continued to be very fussy – more than before I think. I can just imagine the ureters hurting with a stone in each.

We’ve been quite concerned about his continued care. I think actually we could have found specialists here, but everything takes time. So we decided to start the process of going to the States.

The first step was finding a Pediatric Urologist. Kendall, who came down to teach, had a friend that was friends with one, so she contacted him to see if he would take care of him for free (for this kind of permit, all medical care has to be free or paid by someone in the US). His response was “I already heard about this baby”. A doctor friend of his (2 actually I think) that he goes to church with had talked to him about Chevy. He said of course he’d take him. Kendall’s family was happy to host him and pay for those expenses, so then we needed to find a hospital that would take him when needed. The hospitals didn’t want to take him without a diagnosis, and the doctors didn’t want to give a diagnosis without seeing him. Then Tuesday morning, the doctor said (and in writing) that he would take responsibility for the full medical costs. Which means if the hospital doesn’t want to do it free, he’s responsible to pay if no one else does. Quite the commitment! Guess he feels pretty sure his relationship with the hospital will get them to give it free. What a doctor, eh?

Monday and Tuesday were National Holidays here - called the day of the dead, which is the start of voodoo season (not a coincidence that it falls the day after Halloween – after all that celebrates and fears the dead spirits as well, ‘put on those masks so the dead spirit won’t recognize you). This meant we couldn't do anything.

Wednesday morning, 5 AM I took Kendall and Chevy to Port. She went prepared to leave with him. Somehow I had peace that it would happen, but how I did not know. Robin, a lady in the US that has coordinated a lot of trips and paperwork for Haitian people since the earthquake, had sent all the US papers to the Embassy already and put us in contact with the the director. She also had a private jet she sent, which was here before noon (what faith). Remember this kid doesn't even have a passport. So we met with the director, explained our situation, presented all our papers. He said he'd see what he could do. It has to be emailed to the US and they give the approval over there whether he can go to the US on an emergency medical parole. He explained with that, he could enter the US but he couldn't do anything about a permit for him to leave Haiti. He said anymore it's impossible for someone to leave the country without a passport. I looked at him and said, "I believe in a God that can do the impossible, so I'd like us to try anyway". He looked at me, and finally said, "Well, I can do my best on our side but I can't do anything about the Haitian side." I'm like that's fine; we appreciate anything he can do. We spent the morning basically waiting at the Embassy and finally about 11:00 he said it's been approved (very strange to be approved that fast). We were elated and hopefull. He slipped us a paper with the name, phone numbers and email of the Minister of the Interior and told us never to tell anyone who gave it (I haven't told you either name so I'm not breaching the confidence, right?)

Oh and I forgot to say that the dad, instead of coming with us, had to go make an ID for himself (didn't have anything!) and get a paper from St Marc which is the opposite direction that would give Kendall the custody of Chevy so she could travel with him. So at noon we met up with him and Sister Gladys and Pastor Henri and we all drove straight to the Ministry of the Interior, thinking it would be pointless to try getting a passport at this stage since it was so late already and we couldn't get a hold of the Minister of the Interioe. So we went to her office. The place had moved and we lost a lot of time searching it, but finally found it only to find she wasn't in. I'm glad Gladys was with us - she can get things done. So after being sent to the third office, we talked with a man who obviously had some power in the place, (Henri says he's an angel) and he got in the vehicle with us and took us to the director of the Immigration - top guy. Nothing like going straight to the top. By then it's past 2:30 and our pilot said they HAVE to leave by 4 p.m. And we haven't started with the passport. So the guy talks a bit. Well we have to have passport photos for Chevy; so we run across the street where they take pictures on the busy streets (indescribably; you have to be there to believe it; and Gladys is trying to hurry everyone and it's wild. Then we find out the ID the dad was to get is useless, so we quickly take photos of him too hoping that with the paper (basically a receipt with his name) will be enough. In the process Gladys finds a paper where he gave custody to Canaan in the beginning, and they decide that's enough. We get back to the director (by now it's past 3) and he says he can't do anything because all his employees have left early because of the hurricane warnings. He said he can't go into the computer and make a passport. He doesn't have that kind of authority, especially since Chevy wasn't even in the system yet. If he had something to print out maybe he could, but now he can't. We keep telling we already have a plane that's waiting and will leave at 4 and we just need a paper with his signature to leave. He's getting frustrated with us too I'm sure. He's like, just like we can't call back a plane when it's already left, so he can't call back his employees. He goes out of the room for what felt like a long time, and meanwhile Gladys tells me when he comes back to just ask again nicely if he couldn't just sign a paper that they would accept at the airport because we don't need a passport to enter the USA. I start asking him when he finally came back and he bruskly just told me to wait. About 2 minutes later he hands me a paper he just signed and calmly says "This should get you through". We were all in a little unbelieving shock because by now it's like 3:40 already. All of a sudden, "Let's go, lets go, grab the baby and go!!!" It was so hilarioius actually. I called the piot and told him we got it, we'll be there as fast as we can. Traffic was bad, but we got there to the small airport and absolutely no problem. I don't know if they even looked at the papers. By 5:15 they were gone. Whew!! What adrenaline!

It was a test all day whether we had faith to really get it. Strangely, I did. I was pretty sure we would, because things looked so impossible. I just felt God wanted this day to show that he can do the impossible and I had a good peace all day. Even when the director said "It's too late" I thought, "I don't think this is the end. It can't be. It's not like God." That's why when he said "this'll get you through' I saw even more clearly "Exactly like God!!!"

It was a full day of miracles. Robin says she's never had the US give parole that fast. Meeting the guy that took us to the director was a miracle. The director's action was a miracle.

What a relief when we saw Chevy's plane lift up. They got to Miami safely, even if it was more than an hour later than what the pilot said was the latest. They arrived in Knoxville before midnight. It's strange to think of him being in the US right now. Kendall is planning to bring him back when she returns in January for school. Meanwhile let's pray he'll get all the treatment he needs and God will guide the surgeon's hands.

Thank you so much for all who have been praying for him. God answered all those prayers in a miraculous way! May that encourage all of you to continue in even more faith!!

Let's use that faith also to pray for Haiti in this time!!

I was going to include pictures but they're not uploading and I want to send this because who knows how long the internet will be on.

God bless and protect us all!!!!