Saturday, July 2, 2011

Haiti Day 16

Where  to start with my journey home….
Maybe with a list of a few the things that happened in 2 weeks…..

Evaluated over 200 children in clinic, identified at least 10 with severe malnutrition, saved a 13 year old’s hearing by faith ( he's much better, now, hearing is returning, facial nerves working again), sewed on a part of a 14 year old boys finger, experienced a death of a patient, experienced God’s wisdom and help as I cared for families and their children,  saw 5 cases of Typhoid, 2 cases of congenital malaria and countless other nasty illnesses, amputated a dog’s leg and  saw her survive, saw 3 other Canaan dogs buried, chased goats for fun, slept through an earthquake, survived 16 days with no A/C or cell phone, moved a friend out of her home into a new life, made some new wonderful friends, avoided traveler’s diarrhea, found God’s provision in an airport hanger, in a dusty store-room and in friends from afar,  was refreshed by living in coastland mountains again and woke up daily to sunrises, found incredible encouragement and direction at the hand of strangers to me and friends of God, saw my family endure trials from afar,  learned 10 more creole words,  gained more vision for the future, saw 10 amazing Haitian sunsets, saw signs of a country growing, prayed for helpless ones and prayed for help daily, found prayers answered, loved on orphans and abandoned ones and fell in love with this people even more.
Now I’ll be honest, it wasn’t all smiles;  I cried more on this trip than I ever have in Haiti over things I never thought I would experience.   It was hard because I missed the leadership a lot, as they were only around half of the time.  I was left with quite a few tasks to complete, but not sure how to complete them and no one to answer to regarding if they were  completed or not.  This trip was by far the hottest I have ever been in Haiti, or maybe I just forget how hot it is.  I just never stopped sweating, even at night.  I mean you get used to it, doesn’t mean you like it, but I did get used to, and once I got used to it, it got hotter.  It made me so thankful for the rainy days. The new clinic has a lot more space and privacy but has less air movement and daily I would sweat through my scrubs before lunch.  Also I have never been bit by mosquitoes this bad, ever, and fresh water was bit scarce this trip.  Translators to work in the clinic with me were even scarcer.  And if I had a question about a diagnosis, there’s no internet, no references, and no testing just to make sure, a Haitian doctor and I would work through our broken language to help each other.  I had the hard lesson this time that things don’t always happen the same way twice, and lab tests really can help you know how sick a child is.  Finally, I decided 3 things, I need to learn to drive a stick, I need to learn Creole and French and I need to develop a stronger stomach for Haitian food.
That’s the summarization I think.  I came away with 2 highlights: I didn’t cry on the plane and I keep trying to speak Creole to people.  I look around right now, and I miss being in the minority, and I know the next 2-3 days will be as those previous where I miss comforts of Haiti like  fresh breezes through my house, falling asleep to the sound of crickets at night, cold showers, having to walk everywhere, seeing a sunset every night over the ocean, going to bed because I am exhausted, and the sound of children laughing everywhere I go.  This was my 5th time to Haiti, I think I have spent somewhere between 60 and 70 days  in this place. Crazy.  And I want to spend more.  Something about going there, I see oppression of the world better, I hear God better, I feel more and do more about the atrocities I see, and I work harder.  And then I come back with this wider vision and deeper emotions and nowhere to put the energy.  And so I am left feeling like part of me isn’t working anymore, or like I have to turn it off.   And yet leaving this time was different.  This time I know I am going back and soon, and I don’t feel like that part is shutting off, it is staying alive.    I don’t know when or what it will look like, and yet, I don’t leave in want, I leave in assurance.    Assurance that every time the Lord has a plan for me for next time just like he did this time, and it will be different each time I am sure.  And even when I go back life tomorrow, and back to work on Monday, He has a plan for me at work, a plan for me next week, a plan for me next month, and He already knows my next trip and the adventures that will go with it.
 All that to say, I realize that I work extra hard to trust God with my life when I am in Haiti, and open myself even wider to feel the needs, feel the hurts of the people, and I work extra hard and as a result get to see even more of His hand at work.   And I hope for more there than I do, I just expect good things to happen here because “I” do them.  So  I am begging to remember,  He is the same yesterday, today and tomorrow.  He loves my patients in Haiti just as much as the ones in St. Louis, poor or not, needy or not sick or not. They need just as much hope here as they do there, because God loves all of His children.  But even if I don’t remember all that,  He loves me the same each day, and helps me love more each day.    

Haiti Day 13

Oh man, the attack ensues.  Can't write much but wanted you all to be aware that the 11 year old I spoke of on Friday with Renal Failure, passed away on Monday or Tuesday.    The family didn't show up on Monday in clinic and I began to worry, I knew he needed a renal doctor but would do what I could from this shore.  There was something not right with the family, something that didn't connect, something that didn't sit right with me, and made me uncertain about letting him go home.  I was told the child got worse and died at home, which I am told is not a good sign from the family standpoint, meaning they may have let him go .  Nothing I said seemed to phase the parents, the history they gave was constantly contradictory, nothing I said gave them hope to want to do more for him.   There was so much I was planning on doing with the child on Monday, tests I was going to run, and they appeared to be in agreement.  I trusted that he could definitely make it 3 days with the therapies I sent him home with.  I saw a child with a similar situation last year, and she got drastically better in the matter of days and continued to improve over the next few days.  Now I regret letting them go home and not making them do the tests on Friday.  I am just working hard to trust that I made the right decision and not doubt the wisdom that He has given me for all the other children.
In clinic today I had a 13 year old boy who came alone to clinic with complaint of ear pain.  Well it was no average ear pain, it was a huge ear infection, with pus and abscesses in the canal, infection into the bone and even some facial paralysis from the swelling and infection.   And here I am again, with the desire to run tests and call a ENT doctor, but I am in Haiti.  So  despite last yesterday's event I am going to trust the Lord, and be as agressive as I can be from here, and try to save his hearing and his facial nerves.
On top of that, I found out my grandmother had a stroke today.  I am told she is doing okay they just need to go after a clot, I just won't be able to call because I can't get good skype reception right now with all the storms. This is the second time my grandmother has had problems while I was in Haiti, I think I'll call this spiritual attack.
Good news is that the dog lives, amazing.  I don't know how.  I even found out one of the other dogs around Canaan has died, and my dog who was in septic shock is living.  And the really dehydrated  1 year old gain 1/2 a pound in 3 days.  (I have posted a pic below )  Yea, a glimmer of hope.
Okay, thanks guys, keep praying.