Going Down South

Well how are all yall doing?  I just finished a fantastic week with a team from Alabama!!  It’s been a very busy week but a very good week!  I will try to cover the highlights without making this too long.  I think I have learned a little more creole this week but with a bit of a southern drawl!

Monday morning, I was able to get some more tests ordered for Laura so that we could get everything done for the doctor in the U.S.  I have not seen the results of those tests yet since getting home but will be working on that more tomorrow.

Part of the board of directors for Christian Light School (CLS) was here for several days and it was nice to be able to meet some of them and get to know them.  We had some great conversations and I look forward seeing them again soon.

 This is the center of the neighborhood that all of the kids at CLS come from 

This is the center of the neighborhood that all of the kids at CLS come from 

There were several sick kids in school after the weekend so that filled my morning.  There was a lot to do in preparation for the team on Tuesday.  I had to go through the clinic and try to find some items that we would need to take with us so I got a little start on the cleaning and organizing process in the clinic. 

Stacy called in the afternoon and had a 4-year-old that she needed some help with for a transport with HERO Ambulance but were not able to coordinate it between me not having a driver and the needed meet point and my schedule.  It was difficult to not be able to go help this little guy…

Tuesday morning started off before 5 am like usual.  The students are starting to come to me more for help and even though there a little shy about speaking in English to me we are getting them taken care of.  I was able to run out and get the last 2 things we needed for our trip from the pharmacy.  If only you would walk into Rite Aid and grab a case of IV fluids in the states.

The medical team arrived and we started to get to know each other and organize the luggage with the supplies in them.  While I was standing there talking, one of the Restavec classes came out carrying a girl.  At first glance I wasn’t sure what they were doing and found it rather odd but when they almost dropped her and she didn’t react I realized that she was unresponsive.  I quickly moved her to a bench before she was injured.  After a few minutes, she started to come around some.  She has been sick and not drinking much water and when she started vomiting she passed out.  I began assessing her and while try to do orthostatic vitals she was unable to stand, started vomiting again and almost passed out.  After a quick check with Sherrie to be sure there would be no trouble from her owner with treating her, it was time for some IV fluids.  I started a line on her and it amazed her what a liter of fluid could do.  After a while she was feeling better, her blood pressure was back up, she wasn’t nauseated anymore, and she was able to stand.  With some medications and some instructions, she was given a ride home.

Wednesday morning, the team and I headed out for Port Salut on the southern peninsula of Haiti.  It was a long, bumpy, dusty, hot trip with lots of traffic but we finally made it.  The trip took much longer than planned and so we were not able to do a medical clinic on Wednesday afternoon like we had hoped.  But, it was a very interesting trip.  It was amazing to watch the devastation get worse and worse the further south we drove.  It will take years for them to rebuild and get life back to normal.  They have said it could be a long as 5 years to restore power to the entire area.  Most of the poles are down or leaning significantly.  But on a bright side they now have miles and miles of new close line stretched across the area.  Our truck has a top on it which made it very difficult to take pictures so I couldn’t capture it, but it was interesting to see people using high tension power lines to dry their clothes on.

 A large bridge on the main road to the southern peninsula was washed away.  Now you have to go down through the river bed to get out there.

A large bridge on the main road to the southern peninsula was washed away.  Now you have to go down through the river bed to get out there.

 

Thursday morning we went to the site of our first clinic.  The building we were going to use was no longer available so they took us to another site where we could hold our clinic.  It was just a small house.  We went to work to put up tarps from the roof of the house and secured it to the walls of the property and in about 20 minutes a clinic was born.  We were able to see 75 patients that day for a wide variety of complaints and issues.  One of the patients was about 5 months pregnant.  She was concerned as she has not felt the baby move very much lately.  Before we left the statement was made (due to possible political unrest and road blocks) “don’t take anything you want to bring home with you.”  Although the medical equipment I brought added up at a fair amount I decided at the last minute to throw in my fetal Doppler anyway.  Even if I had lost it on the way home it would have been worth to see the look on her face when she was able to hear her baby and we told her that the babies heart rate was very strong.  She started crying and thanked us for telling her that her baby was alive!       

 An open air clinic.... It could be a new trend!

An open air clinic.... It could be a new trend!

Friday morning we headed to a school for our second clinic.  It was a little better layout than the yard by the little house but the breeze wasn’t as good.  We seen all 86 patients that came for help.  It was interesting to see how many pointed to the hurricane as the start of their complaint.  We had babies that were only a couple weeks old and all the way up to even seeing a 95 year old man, which is very rare in Haiti.  We even found a patient that nobody knew about!  One lady came in and because we didn’t have any pregnancy tests, and although she said that she wasn’t pregnant.  We were able to confirm that she was in fact pregnant with the Doppler.  

 This little guy must have thought he waited to long in line and it was past his lunch time cause he kept grabbing my thumb and sticking it in his mouth to chew on!!

This little guy must have thought he waited to long in line and it was past his lunch time cause he kept grabbing my thumb and sticking it in his mouth to chew on!!

Saturday morning we headed for home.  After a long discussion on Friday night it was decided that we should not do a clinic in the morning and finish up some other projects that were planned.  There was talk of road blocks and possible unrest in the afternoon so we decided it would be best to leave first thing since we had a long trip.  We had hired some workers when we got there to do some cleanup work in the area, we also had hired some carpenters to fix the roofs on several houses while we were there.  They would continue working for the next couple days but sadly our work was done.  We were disappointed to not have been able to do as much as we had hoped or planned but we were still able to make a difference in the lives of 161 adults and Children who have had their world turned upside down.

 Damaged houses, debris everywhere, power lines down.

Damaged houses, debris everywhere, power lines down.

When we arrived home, Sherrie meet us and told me that the director of the children’s home up the road was bring a 4 year old boy with possible Malaria.  When he arrived, I noticed he was much paler that I anticipated.  He was the son of another missionary in the area and not one of the orphans.  He had a very high fever and was having trouble breathing.  He had gotten the walking pneumonia that is going around and it hit him pretty hard.  I started an IV on him to get him some fluids and got him on some antibiotics and a breathing treatment.  He perked up some with the fluid but was defiantly not feeling well.  As it was almost 6 pm and a curfew had been imposed to limit unrest over Sundays presidential election and not being able to travel if something happened during the night they went to a guest house one street over so I could check on him if he got worse.     

Sunday we walked about 150 yards out the back gate to a house church since we were not allowed to be on the roads.  In the afternoon, a couple of the ladies on the team did a wonderful job getting the rest of the clinic cleaned and everything on the shelves for me.  The medical team left all the leftover supplies for me to help get my inventory built up in the clinic.  This saved me probably 2-3 days of work if I would have just had to dump everything in a pile on the floor and then have to work around it and then go through all of it.  It will need a little tweaking as I go but I am thankful that they save me so much work!!  It was also such a blessing to have all the remaining supplies to get the clinic up and running.  It will save me a lot of time and money trying to get all of the things I would have needed. 

I went over to check on my little patient across the road in the afternoon and he was doing a little bit better.  I had left his IV in incase we needed it during the night.  I gave him some more fluids, and another breathing treatment.  By the next morning, he was doing much better and they headed for home to be with the rest of their family.

Sunday night you could see the  large market fire in Petionville from the school roof.  Protesters had set the market on fire after the elections earlier in the day.

 Google image...  We weren't that close.

Google image...  We weren't that close.

Monday morning, my brother David (a Firefighter & Paramedic) who I meet here at CLS about 4 years ago, and lead this medical team, took the team to the Ravine with the baby feeders.  When you walk around everyone knows David as he worked her for about 2 years.  He introduced me to many people and told them I was the new guy in town to fill his spot.  He also did this in the school so now things are really getting busy because now the people feel they can trust me.  It was such a blessing to be able to work with David again!  We had some good times together on past trips working together and telling war stories from work back in the states.

Tuesday morning, I said goodbye to the medical team as they headed for the airport.  It was hard to believe that a week had gone by already.  It’s hard to believe that I have been here 2 weeks already.

I took a guy to the hospital that we have found in the ravine the day before with a large infection in his lower leg.  He has had it for 4 months but was unable to afford and care.  The medical team provided some money to take him to the hospital.  So, we went to the hospital and seen a surgeon who said that it would need to be surgically debrided.  He was to be admitted to the hospital.  This is a strange process in deed.  The doctor wrote orders for lab work, a chest X-Ray, and medications and IV fluids.  We took the medication form to the pharmacy to confirm they had the medications and they are set aside.  We then went to the office and invoices are given or each item.  We then went to the cashier and paid for the items.  Then we went to X-Ray and got his chest film which they gave us the original.  We then went back to the pharmacy and picked up all his medications.  Then we went to the lab for his blood work.  They told us they would come to his room and draw the blood.  We found him a bed in a rather small room with 6 beds in it.  The family is required to care for them at night, provide food, and care for all their personal needs.  The nurses only give medications and start IV’s.  We left him in his room and went to get his wife to come and care for him at the hospital.

I had this post ready Tuesday night but we had no internet so I will add today as well…

This morning (Wednesday), his wife came to the school and said that we needed to come and get them to care for him because nobody is doing anything.  So back we went to the hospital and he was lying in bed but he did have an IV.  We found out that they had never done his blood work so we had to go to the lab and get them to come and take his blood.  The nurse wrote us an order for more medications so we went through the process to get those.  They started some of the medications when we returned.  We talked to the nursing office and they told us that they would get the surgeon to come and see him.  Tonight, we got a phone call that after 32 hours in the hospital he has not been see by a doctor yet other than the doctor in the clinic when we first arrived.  So tomorrow we will have to go back to the hospital and will most likely leave with him as nothing is being done for him but running up his bill.  It’s a very frustrating system here in Haiti.

 One of the children in the baby feeding program.

One of the children in the baby feeding program.

I hope that each of you have a blessed Thanksgiving Day and that you remember to be thankful for everything you have.  There is so much more to life than black Friday sales and football.  I will probably have beans and rice for thanksgiving dinner and that’s just fine!

If you’re not already involved I hope that you would consider partnering with me in this work.  Maybe even a year-end tax deductible donation to help some of these kids so that they can have a chance to grow up!

Until No Child Dies,

Kelby Klassen