A Travellerspoint blog

October 2011

Oct 19...pre-surgical team arriving!

It poured rain this evening and now it's cooler. It'll be a great night for sleeping. I've just been online looking at Jacmel and Port Salut Haiti. They're 2 beautiful towns on the southern arm, both look to have beautiful beaches and historical places. Jacmel boasts of many artists and cultural events. Dr Toussaint and Gardy told me today to pick a weekend and they're taking me to one of these places for a weekend at a resort with their families. I think I may pick the weekend that Sean's here. We'd be able to see so much more of Haiti. Susan really wanted to go to Jacmel last year. Hopefully she and I will go there together next year!! Hey Susan!
Hopefully the new autoclave will be installed tomorrow and then it's time to learn how to run it!! I sure wish some of you with more knowledge than me were here!!! I've got stuff ready to get sterilized and then the team arrives Sat and OR's start Sun or Mon.
Teaching day tomorrow...the 5 nurses have all picked a day next week that they'll each come and work with me at the hospital in the OR. It'll be a great experience for them...and for me.
This is a short one...my brain's numb as not a very good sleep last night. I ate 2 bananas for the first time in 5 years and not sure if that's what caused my restless sleep or not. Today I ate some avocado....bought the hugest one that I've ever seen for 10 goude....25 cents!!!! Smeared it on fresh bread...yummm. That's my first in over a year and no swollen lips! Thank you God! I was finding it real hard to live in this country surrounded by this good food and not eating it!
All for now......God bless........Judy

Posted by jdouglas 19:02 Comments (0)

already Oct 15!!!

where has the time gone?? I have been writing and having to save it.....waiting for a time when I was online and could post so I guess tonight's the night! It's cooler now....I actually don't sweat all night like I used to. I know, not a pretty picture!!
The first surgical team arrives Oct 20-22 and then OR's will start next Monday. It's come up way too fast and there are still preparations but we'll do the best we can to be ready. The team only stays a week so they come ready to roll!!!!
So here's what I've been writing to you since Sept 25.......get comfortable... : )

Sept 30 2011

A day of firsts!!!
I’ve never taken 18 “ti mouns” (children) + a 35 year old man in a W/C + 3 women to the dentist….all at once! It was a long but marvelous morning. We had to be there by 7:45 and made it by 7:50. Quite an accomplishment I think! All of them in the truck, me driving down the highway between Montrouis and Pierre Payen. The dental team was from the States, can’t remember where. There are lots of “those” guys that come here!! : )
We were about to leave and Guito and 4 women came walking across the highway from the clinic to the hospital carrying a young woman who I thought at first was unconscious. She was cold and clammy, tachy at 140 and RR about 40!!! All 5 of them carried her right into the OR…we’re not talking about a pre-op check here!!
Emylene, the nurse anesthetist, was there and we got another IV in her and started squeezing the fluid into her. Her pressure on one reading was 50/35. She was conscious throughout. Dr. Jean Robert then stuck his head in the door to tell us her Hgb was 2.6!!
I helped as Emylene tended to her and she stabilized, Dr. Jean Robert was coming back to do a laparotomy…and I quickly drove all my entourage home and then went back to help. As I walked into the OR, they were stitching up fascia and there were quite a few saturated lap sponges on the field!!! Her pressure was stable, still tachy at 130 and totally somnolent and relaxed, under the effects of Ketamine. They use that a lot here. Emylene does not do general anesthetics and can do a spinal with her eyes closed!! Too risky with this lady for a spinal though, so just used ketamine!
We then talked about transfusing her. Of course there was no blood in the Blood Bank….in fact there is no blood bank! So 2 people of her blood type on the dental team volunteered to give blood. We started a #14 in the lady’s left AC and another one in the donor’s right AC (donors lay on a stretcher right beside the OR table) and Emylene withdrew a 60cc syringe full and I infused it into the patient!!! This definitely was a first for me!!!
What a day….we gave her a total of 700cc and off she went to the ward!
I’m back home now ready to eat for the first time today….well had a peanut butter bunwich this morning with my coffee….and then off to the beach with the kids. I promised them we would go after the dentist and bless them, they didn’t complain at all when I explained that I had to go back to the hospital. They saw the woman as she was carried past them on the stretcher.
God is good…..medical care is pretty basic here. Jean Robert only works Tuesdays and Fridays so this woman’s appearance was very timely! Otherwise she would have had to be driven to St. Marc or PAP…perhaps with dire consequences!

I went and saw her the next day. She was lying in bed, still a bit tachy but stable BP, drinking, passing gas, abd soft and flat. She had some analgesic and then we sat her up in bed, did some deep breathing and ROM and she tolerated it OK. Dr. JR had arranged for a couple of units of blood to be sent from PAP…and so I helped the nurse start the first. They were being stored at the bedside in a small cooler that probably had ice in it originally but now the bags were floating the cold water! No sheets to sign….just get on with it and hang the blood!
I hope to get there today but I’m having a “prep” day for my class on Thursday. Hopefully I’ll finish in time to go up to OSAPO to check on the autoclave…please pray that it keeps working!

Oct 3/11
I am so pumped…I just have to share my thoughts!
Yesterday was an amazing day…I felt called to do something that I really didn’t want to do but everything I read in my devotional time or felt in the past 2 weeks seemed to be telling me to obey God and do this task, that He was with me. So I obeyed and felt such peace as I spoke…and such joy during the whole day.
And now this morning, I’m reminded of something that I wrote in my Bible in 1994 when I first got it…when I first became a follower of Jesus!
“God has a wonderful path chosen for me and my passion will be in discovering that path!”
Today, my devotion book says…..
“If you don’t try to discover your purpose, you’re likely to spend your life doing the wrong things. Our responsibility….AND OUR JOY….is to identify it.”
I feel blessed by God in that I feel I’m on the right path, that I’m doing what He has called me to do.
I pray the same for all people….but it takes faith and commitment and dedication…and turning your life over to Jesus. Some people, some friends included, think that means giving up freedom and control but it is just the opposite. It gives joy and peace and such freedom that one could never imagine!
I pray you’ll give it a try!

Oct 7/11

Just returned from Port. Left here at 0730 and it’s now 5:30! The drive there is about an hour and all the rest of the time was spent in a line-up or with a number taped to my hand, waiting for my turn! Yep…just like home when you go to the Emergency dept. and have to wait to see a doc!
Kwam and I took the 3 kids back to the Adventist Hospital in Carrefour to get xrays done and the final consult. The team’s xray machine was still broken. I decided to pay the $$ at the regular xray dept and get them done. as who knows when the “free” machine will be fixed. It’s been over 2 weeks now. It seemed strange to be paying for services that I just take for granted in Canada.
So when I arrived, I knew I had to pay first and then take the receipt to the xray tech. So I did that and he looked at the reqs and waved me back to the hallway to sit. So being the good Canadian that I am, that’s what I did. No one else was sitting there so we had lots of choice. The kids had their books and so I was sitting there with mine….not noticing that a crowd of people started waiting right in front of the xray door! Aha…..the line-up!!! Xray doesn’t give out numbers like waiting for the doctor and so I squeezed myself to the front and in my best Creole, explained to the crowd how long I’d been waiting there already. All but one rather “pushy” lady agreed and I guess she told me so, in no uncertain terms cause when the tech. finally opened the door again, she was ushered in first!
A young girl with a rather gross looking pin in her hand was declared 2nd and I was 3rd. Not too bad I figured. Well who knows what was going on in the xray room, family members kept coming and going out of the room….and after an hour, we were still in line. Then the lights flickered……and the power went out! After about 40 minutes, it came back on again! We all cheered…but it was short-lived as after 10 minutes,it went out again………and #1 customer still hadn’t emerged from the xray room!!! I wondered what to do….would it ever come back on, should we stay? Kwam just shrugged and said “this is Haiti!” So I settled in for the wait.
Finally it really was our turn and so all 4 of us went in together. All the children got their xrays….I helped the tech figure out the reqs….and then off we went to the hallway where I knew the docs were seeing patients. I had been told previously to come there once the xrays were done and give them to the docs and the decisions would be finalized. However….yep, you guessed it……I should have gone over there and got a number before I stood in the xray line!!! They were on #23 and I was given #33. We settled in for the wait and were the last ones to be seen. A team of 3 docs reviewed the xrays, re-examined the kids and decisions were made. 2 of them will be seen by a paediatric specialist who is coming Nov 7. They are quite complicated cases and Dr. Terry highly recommends this fellow. As we were leaving, one of the docs said to me….”be sure and get here early that day as Dr. Nelson sees all the difficult cases and there often are 100 here!” So the plan is to be in the lineup no later than 6 am! Kwam says….”no pwoblem!”

Oct 11 2011

MOM’S birthday…..and I think the world should know (as if the world were reading this blog!! : ) that my mom is now 88…….and she is MARVELOUS! I would hope that if I make it to 88, that I’m in as good shape as she is…physically, mentally and spiritually. This amazing woman loves our Lord and reads from her Bible every night before bed and thanks Him for all her blessings and turns to Him for strength and guidance during her trials.
Thank you Lord for blessing me with her! I love you Mom! Happy Birthday!

I spent 2 days last week sorting again at Pierre Payen Hospital but God has sent me a partner…a nursing colleague from Armstrong!! Can you believe it? Barry has been in Haiti for awhile and I met him at the Sunday “missionary” meeting. I love God’s timing as Barry encouraged and supported me and then offered to help. I found the time working with him, to just fly by, as you all know I love to chat as I work. I found myself however showing him some of the things that are driving me crazy…and I felt like I was complaining about “how Haiti works” way too much!
And sure enough…in my devotion book….God had me read
Ephesians 5:20 “Speak to one another with psalms, hymns and spiritual songs. Sing and make music in your heart to the Lord, always giving thanks to God the Father for everything, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.”
“Even a few complaints can set you on a path that is a downward spiral, by darkening your perspective and mind-set. With this attitude controlling you, complaints flow more and more readily from your mouth. Each one moves you steadily down the slippery spiral. The lower you go, the faster you slide; but it is still possible to apply brakes.”
Instead of complaining, I know God is asking me to thank Him for bringing me here to Haiti, so that I can use the gifts He’s given me, so that I can have a purpose and help as He leads me to do. To be thankful that I have 2 arms and 2 legs so that I can work for Him. To be thankful that I do eat food every day and have clothes to wear. To be thankful that He sent me a friend to help me do this tedious work of sorting and counting and inventorying with joy in my heart!!!!
And once again I learned that if I choose the right response (ie. trusting and thanking God instead of complaining) I will experience His unfathomable PEACE!!

Psalm 13:5
“But I trust in your unfailing love;
my heart rejoices in your salvation.
I will sing to the LORD,
for He has been good to me.”

What a great way to start the day!!

Another day I was thinking lots of a good friend of mine. We haven’t spent much/any time together in the past few years but I still consider her a good friend. As I was reading this, I thought of her…I think it’s meaningful for a lot of us as we race through life, climbing “where ever”, avoiding dealing with problems.
Again from the book “Jesus Calling”…
“Sometimes I lead you up a high mountain with only My hand to support you. The higher you climb, the more spectacular the view becomes; also, the more keenly you sense your separation from the world with all its problems. (Hopefully) this frees you to experience exuberantly the joyous reality of My Presence. Give yourself fully to these glory-moments, awash in dazzling Light. I will eventually lead you down the mountain, back into community with others. Let My Light continue to shine within you as you walk among people again.”

I pray that we all use these high moments to think of our purpose in life and how exciting our path with Jesus can be…and not use them just for our own pleasure.

I just came back from the big market in Montrouis. I went with Genesis to shop for the house. I tried to catch what she was saying as she bartered with different vendors for their produce. A couple of times, she walked away from the deal offered and found someone else selling what she wanted! Of course, I’m the only “blanc” in the market and I get a lot of stares but if I smile back and say “bonjou”, I get lots of smiles and waves. They’re just curious, like you or I would be. I bought a huge bag of oranges and a dozen mangos for 150 goude…about $3.50. It’s the end of mango season and I was glad to get them. Haitians buy oranges for the juice and throw away the pulp…which I love. They think I’m nuts! The orange’s skin is green, thin and tough but very tasty fruit. Genesis bought a big chunk of red meat…I never ask what it is as I’m not sure I want to know. Be interesting to see what will be made out of it. Lately we’ve been having a lot of the tomato sauce, flavored with fish and onions.

Oct 14 2011

Mom, I’m so sorry that I never got these birthday wishes online. I haven’t had a connection for days!!! Still not able to get online tonight here at the house. I was so looking forward to emailing mom daily while she’s in Edmonton at Doug’s. Hopefully she’ll be there for a few days longer!
Annie has arrived……..and the house seems like it has 20 more people in it. Annie is an amazing woman, lots of energy and love for Jesus and everyone that she meets. She truly is an inspiration and we’re happy to be sharing time together again. We even got in our first game of UPWORDS last night!
We visited a woman last night with a nasty burn on her leg from a moto exhaust. Dressed it and visited for a bit and will return again tomorrow to check on her.
Today we were off to the port in St. Marc to pay a bill there to get the processing started on a truck that has come in from Florida. Annie is doing the paper work for a friend of hers from Nebraska who will be in Haiti soon to do some well digging. Then off to the market and a few “stores” to stock up on some food, picked up Barry enroute and headed to Pierre Payen Hospital to do some more work there in the OR. No patients, nurse sleeping on a cot in the office with a fan blowing on her. I’ve discovered that most of the nurses have other jobs and often arrive at the hospital after working all night somewhere else! It’s just the way of the world here and so they are allowed to sleep if there’s no work to be done.
Got lots more work done today….Annie was counting some supplies and Barry finished up all the drugs counts and started organizing sutures. A hint to any of you who want to send supplies to the 3rd world countries…..PLEASE sort things before sending.
The kids are up in the “TV room” watching a movie that they’ve probably seen 10 times already. Snack tonight is “figs” and crackers!

Posted by jdouglas 19:10 Comments (0)

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