Life Is Never Easy

The other day I was down in the yard when someone came knocking on the gate.  They were asking for help, someone was hurt.  I went out into the street to see a man face down in the road with one of the students from the school standing by him.  As I was getting close to him he started trying to get up and everyone was trying to get him to stay down.  He compromised with sitting on the ground.  Someone had started pouring water on his head.  He was upset and wanted to go home.  The student translated for me and got him to relax for a minute.  Surprisingly he wasn’t hurt from his fall.  The student said that he seen him go right down on his face.  He stated that he had not eaten for at least 5 days and had very little to drink and that is why he had passed out.  I told him if he would stay there I would go get him something.  I ran back to my room and got him a bottle of water and grabbed 8 things out of my goody box (breakfast bars, granola bars, trail mix…) and put them in a ziplock.  I went back to him and gave him a breakfast bar and the bottle of water.  He quickly ate the bar and drank the bottle of water.  I gave him the zip lock bag and told him to eat something else but he set it down next to him.  I told the student to tell him he needs to eat more before he tries to walk home.  He stated he would be OK now.  As I started to protest again he said that he has a wife and kids and they need the rest.  The student stated that he was going to try to find him more food.  He went back to the school and in a few minutes, he came back with about a 20-pound bag that had rice, beans, corn meal, and grits in it.  The man was very grateful for the ability to feed his family.  The added weight was going to make his trip home even more difficult though.  I went and found Edmond, the school’s driver, to see if he could take him home.  We loaded him in the truck and he was on his way home with probably more food than his family has had in a month or more…  This is why it’s so very difficult to teach long term thinking in Haiti.  For so many, each day truly is a fight for survival and they can’t put anything into next week because it could cost them today.

I know that many of you are waiting for an update on Faeka (the baby I delived at the neighbors behind the school).  Thank-You so much for your prayers!  It’s been a struggle but she hasn’t gotten any worse so I guess that is progress in Haiti.  If you did not catch my facebook post, Faeka got sick and I was worried that she had gotten a possible bowel obstruction or Typhoid.  I told her Mamma to take her to the hospital.  She said that she would wait until morning.  I was worried that might be too late.  Well, she said that she took her to the hospital but they were full.  So, she went to a little clinic.  That means that no tests were done.  They gave her Tylenol and some gas medicine.  At this point she is still less than a month old and less than 8 pounds.  I figured that the Tylenol would probably cover the symptoms until it was really too late.  Her mother said she was doing a little better with the medicine.  I wrote her an order for a typhoid test so she wouldn’t have to go through the clinic.  When I went back to check on her later she had decided that she was getting better and didn’t need it.  She is still in a lot of pain, doesn’t like her abdomen touched, has constant bowel sounds, but is still going to the bathroom some.  She seemed to also be so hungry that she didn’t even know what to do with herself.  I explained again to her mom what should be happening.  When I told her she should be feeding her every 3 hours she laughed out loud.  This could be our culprit.  In Haiti by the time you’re a month old you are almost an adult.  If they continue breast feeding they figure if they only eat once a day, then the baby only needs to eat once a day.  But for many moms it’s time to start your baby on rice, bean sauce, and vegetables as well as water.  Or if you don’t have much money sometimes it’s just cookies and water.  She is up to 8 pounds 7 oz and I am hoping she will feed her more and will continue to only breast feed her like she told me she would.  So, I guess time will tell!

 When I got to the house Faeka was screaming.  Her Mamma was amazed that in about 90 seconds I had her asleep.  Trying to teach her how to comfort her when her tummy hurts!  

When I got to the house Faeka was screaming.  Her Mamma was amazed that in about 90 seconds I had her asleep.  Trying to teach her how to comfort her when her tummy hurts!  

Well as life has it, there are always kids and babies in need of help here...

Stacy with HERO Ambulance contacted me and asked if I was available for a medical flight.  After the last medivac, I am learning to ask more questions.  I would actually be flying for this call but would not be leaving the country.  I said count me in, sounds like fun.  There was a severely malnourished, special needs child that needed to be transported up north to Cap Haitian.  We didn’t have a lot of details and were worried about what we would find as it sounded very desperate.  A 10-year old boy with Cerebral Palsy, who was possible abandoned by his mom, was found living in an old warehouse and is very malnourished.  We would pick him up from the warehouse and transport him by ambulance to the airport.  Then I would accompany him to Cap Haitian by way of Mission Aviation Fellowship and turn him over to the people from the receiving facility, who do inpatient special needs malnutrition, at the airport and return. 

We walked into a very dark building and found this boy laying on a little bed in the back corner.  The only way to see much was from the light from my cell phone.  His mom had been found and would be going with us.  She was probably out providing for him and he was not actually abandoned but unfortunately under the care of younger siblings during the day.  Before we could get our cot, she had picked him up and was on her way to the ambulance with him.  She was very excited that he was getting help!  We placed him on the cot and he seemed a little fearful of the unknown.  It’s hard to know how long he had been living in that dark building.  But when his Mamma got in and we started moving he was all smiles.  He has his mom and was on a new adventure!  He seemed to actually enjoy all the bumps of the horrible roads. 

 10 years old and about 25 pounds

10 years old and about 25 pounds

Once we made it to the main road traffic was bad and we were running short on time so of course it was time to run lights and sirens! (This isn’t really a big deal because anyone can put lights and sirens on their vehicle in Haiti so you constantly see vehicles doing the same thing.  But our little patient thought that was even more fun and he was trying to imitate the siren sounds.  It was very cute!  Well, as luck would have it, the plane was full and weight was a big issue for the flight.  They actually asked if we had any 90 pound paramedics.  So unfortunately, my friend Bruce, who is a little smaller than I, got to make the flight up to Cap Haitian with him.  After they left Stacy told me, there was a scheduling issue and it was likely that Bruce would be left up there overnight.  That made me feel much better about not being able to go.  But thankfully they brought Bruce back.  Praying that this little man will get some help physically with his condition and well as some good nutrition.  As you can see he has a lot of contractures from a lack of understanding about the care that he needs.  His legs actually cross just below the hips from the contractures.  This may not be reversible.

Another call from Stacy a few days later and again were on our way to help a Neonate.  There is a 32-week little girl who was born that afternoon by emergency C-section, when her mother got Preeclampsia.  The baby was OK for a little bit but then started to have some breathing issues.  2 hospitals in the area do not even have Oxygen available and none of them could take care of this baby.  So they left St. Marc and started for Port-au-Prince and we left Port-au-Prince Headed for St. Marc.  We were anticipating a meet at Mission of Hope (MOH) in Titanyen, which was about half way for each of us.  She was not breathing well and would turn blue without being constantly irritated to keep her fussing but they didn’t have oxygen to take with them.  As it turns out Mission of Hope was the perfect meeting point.  We pulled in and literally 20 seconds later they arrived.  We headed to the clinic on their compound to evaluate and stabilize her.

 Working on Lela in the MOH Clinic

Working on Lela in the MOH Clinic

Little Lela seemed almost perfect at a glance.  But her Oxygen levels were in the 60’s.  We placed her on oxygen and her levels returned to 98%.  Mom was reported to be getting sick and Lela had a fever so she was given antibiotics.  I started an IV on her.  She seemed to be doing better.  Meanwhile, Stacy was still trying to find a bed for this little one back in Port-au-Prince.  After a while we had a bed and felt that she was stable for the rest of the transport.

 Isn't little Lela just precious? 

Isn't little Lela just precious? 

She did well during the transport and we arrived safely at the hospital.  The ER didn’t want anything to do with us until we paid the bill which is common here.  We contacted the pediatrician that accepted her and moved her right to the PICU and skipped the ER.  Dad still had to pay a $40,000.00 Goud (Haitian currency) deposit before she could stay though.  I am happy to report that the last update I saw she was doing better.  Praying that the Hypoxia doesn’t bring any long-term effects for her little body.

These are a few of the highlights since the last blog post.  But on a day to day level there is much more that happens here.  I try to keep these interesting and at a moderate length but I think on the next one I will try to explain the average day and week a little better.  So stay tuned!  

I greatly appreciate your continued interest and support of the work that Kelby’s Kids is doing every day in Haiti.  Together we are touching lives and making a difference everyday so that maybe life can be a little easier!

Until No Child Dies,

Kelby