It’s so hard to believe that it’s the 4th of December already. Each day the reel feel temperature is still between 95 to 100 degrees or more. It certainly doesn’t feel like winter or Christmas to me. Although Christmas is still happening in Haiti! They are starting to decorate the class rooms and you see Christmas trees and decorations on the street for sale. But even if there is no snow and you don’t have electricity in your home to put Christmas lights on your tree, many of the people of Haiti are excited for the real reason for the season because they know that is where the real hope is!
Well, I guess I should catch you up on Jean. I went back to the Hospital on Thursday morning and a doctor still hadn’t seen him since he was admitted. They did manage to dress his infected wound after we got there which was about 45 hours into his stay. So who knows what else it picked up after got to the hospital (people kept offering me a chair and even though my back hurt from standing around waiting, I was not willing to set on anything in his room. It was pretty bad). We tried to figure out what needed to be done. The guy in the bed across from him was encouraging him to be patient and stay for the surgery. Jean wasn’t too sure he wanted to anymore. I asked my translator what had happened to his roommate. He said that he got poked in the foot with something in the hurricane and he got an infection in his foot. He stated that he has been in the hospital for 2 months now. His wife showed me pictures of the before and after. He did have an infection in his foot but the surgeon had totally degloved the top of his foot and up into his leg right after he arrived. He had bugs crawling on the dressing so I know there was bad stuff going on under the dressing. I said that is never going to heal without a skin graph. He said that he was scheduled for one tomorrow. Given my limited experience at this hospital already, I said “how long have they been telling them that?” and when it was translated everyone in the room erupted in laughter. So, I imagine for some time now. I also noticed they had been working with his arm more than his leg. I asked what had happened with that and they said that his IV had gone bad and they were waiting for the swelling to go away. I asked when it happened and they said 2 days after he arrived. I told him that he most likely had gotten compartment syndrome in his arm and I was sorry but his arm was never going to be the same again. With that Jean said, “I’m not having surgery, were leaving!” I said good plan, lets go! So with about another hour worth of work we signed him out AMA. Which really should have just been AAbecause he hadn’t actually been seen by a doctor as an inpatient. So, I took all of his medications we had bought and we took him home.
Friday I went and started an IV on Jean to give him more of the IV antibiotics that we had taken with us. We went into his little 5’ X 9’ tarp house so he could lay down. I started an IV on him and then cleaned and redressed his wound. I am not sure how hot it was inside but I know my forehead was dripping faster than his IV. When his IV was finished, I walked outside and when the cool 95-degree air hit me I felt like I had just stepped out of the shower, I was very wet! I can’t imagine that being my home. I will continue to work with Jean with oral medications and dressing changes and hopefully we can get his leg healed up soon!
Sunday was the day the election results from last Sunday were to be released. There was not much on the news about the unrest. Sherrie said “come here and let me show you something.” We went up on the roof (4 stories up) and she said do you see all the smoke. They don’t usually burn much on Sunday mornings and they also do most of their burning in the evening to chase the mosquitos away. I think those are Manifestations (demonstrations) and think we better stay close to home. You couldn’t even see the second rim on the mountain side near us the smoke was so thick. So we went out the back gate to the neighbors for our second Sunday in a row in a small house church.
Monday was a fairly calm day and election results were finally announced late in the afternoon. So, Tuesday we had a Manifestation day. The schools in Haiti don’t get snow days but we do get demonstration days!!
I had a visit from my little buddy from a couple weeks ago (the 4-year-old son of nearby missionaries). He looked so much better and was doing great! It sounded like his Pneumonia was totally gone!! It was good to see him back to normal after being so sick and was blessed that the Lord had allowed me to be a small part in helping him feel better.
I know most of you have seen this little guys picture but I haven’t yet shared his story with you.
This little man is just over a year old and only weights 14 pounds. His legs are very small and he is unable to even try to stand up at all. His belly is rather distended and he probably has a bad case of worms which are taking all his nutrition that he is getting through the baby feeding program. We had started him on a very careful regimen of medications for the worms and parasites a week ago. In small children, you must be very careful how you kill the worms. Once they have a lot of worms, if you were to give them a full does of medications it would kill the worms. It will also most likely kill the child. As the worms are dying they will ball up trying to protect themselves and will cause a bowel obstruction that will most likely be fatal for the child. Once we get the worms taken care of we will see if we can put some more weight on him. If not then we can look to other issues but with the complete lack of clean water it is the most likely cause… In Haiti it’s all about looks. There is very little education on the things that we can’t see that can hurt us very badly. I have shared pictures of the ravine with you. People wash clothes and bath in this water and some of the children play in it. I had a mom bring me a 2-month-old yesterday that had diarrhea. I asked what she is eating/drinking. She said she still breast feeding but also some water. I picked up the baby bottle that was setting next to hear and could see the dirt floating in it. We had a long discussion on how important clean water is for out babies.
This week my friend Stacy from HERO Ambulance called and asked if I could help her get some equipment from another organization. She said that an organization had left Haiti and there supplies and equipment were available to get. So, we headed over to a very large, very beautiful home were a very disturbing scene was found. This organization had come down shortly after the earthquake to do relief work. When they got bored with the project they simply walked away. We found medications, medical supplies, and equipment laying all over the floors of this house. Conservatively, I would say there was probably at least $250,000.00 worth of medical supplies and medications laying on the floor. All of them brand new and unused. Now this could have been a real gold mine for us but since they left over 2 ½ years ago, now everything is covered in dirt, the rats have been living in it, and all the medications are now expired. It was just sickening to see the waste and disregard for the needs of Haiti. There is no reason for this kind of behavior. They could have made 1 or 2 phone calls and everything would have been picked up and thousands of people could have been helped with this. We salvaged what we could of the equipment and a few supplies. The next day a dump truck would arrive and it was all going to the dump to be burned. This is unfortunately a good example of the waste and miss use of funds from some large organizations and those who are contracted by government aid programs. If you really want to help people, give it to the little people who are one the ground, living with, and helping people every day. Not the people who never actually get out of there helicopter and meet the people where they are hurting right now.
I ran into this girl in the Ravine the other day. She reportedly had boiling water spilled on her (Sometimes these things can be from Voodoo). It sounded like she was about 20+ days out from the burn and they have been following up in the hospital. It looked surprisingly good for where she lives but she did have a little bit of infection going. I will be following her to be sure that her infection doesn’t get any worse.
Last night one of the school teachers came to the school to ask Sherrie for help. Junior, his little 1 year old son, was in the hospital and not doing well. He stated that he was born prematurely and he was told he was dead before he was ever born. When he was delivered, he was actually alive but he has had medical complications ever since. He said that the baby has water in his chest and needs surgery. He said that he is out of money now and he needed money for the surgery. I asked him what his diagnosis was and what the surgery would do and he wasn’t really sure. They never give you diagnosis in Haiti, they just keep ordering tests and medications. We are working to see what’s going on and be sure that this surgery is a good idea and what the true underlying cause is. I really want to go to the hospital to see him and try to figure out what’s going on but if I do then they will know that there is “an endless supply of money” linked to this patient and we will be back in the same situation as we were in with Jean. I have some suspicions as to what may be going on but we need to wait for word from the hospital (if they know). We need to know what conditions they are treating him for and if it is something that can or can’t be cured in Haiti or anywhere. Last night I asked him to go back to the hospital and have then write down his diagnosis and what kind of surgery they were going to do. He called a couple hours later and stated that they had been transferred to another hospital. This leads me to believe that they did not have a diagnosis and were just grasping at straws and decided that if someone was asking these questions they better transfer him before something happens to him. Please pray for Junior, and his parents, and that we will be able to get a diagnosis, that we will be able to get him the care that he needs, and that it will be available in Haiti.
Be sure to continue to following my blog. I have a story that has been coming together for a while but I want to be able to share it with you in its entirety. Everything should be complete by next Sunday's post!
As always, I am humbled by your willingness to partner with me in my work, showing Gods love to the kids in Haiti, and providing hope though good health! It is such a blessing to be able to serve not only the kids but anyone who is truly in need. But the need is so great here. Please pray for discernment for me in my decisions. Not only the medical decisions I make continually as I work but also the decisions for further care somewhere else, which is often expensive and sometimes without positive results (as seen with Jean and Juniors experiences). If I helped everyone I came in contact with that has a need, I could probably empty the bank account for this ministry in an hour or two. It’s difficult to say no so much, when all you really want to do is help!
Until no child dies…