A Travellerspoint blog

Home Aug 8 2012!!!!

Where has the time gone? Lots has been accomplished, yet there seems a never-ending list of things to do! But that's the way life is...we've always got a reason to get up each and every beautiful morning.
It is very hot here now, hard to sleep as our invertor doesn't last very long as they don't run the generator very long due to the cost of fuel. I try to go to sleep while the fans on but wake up when it's off. Last night the mosquitoes finally won and I moved inside to sleep! This morning as I sit her and type, I'm in ANOTHER pool of wetness! I'm being polite so you don't think of me as stinking to high heaven! : )
Today they are finishing painting and hopefully starting on the tiling of the walls and the OR workroom, new 2nd OR (small) and new delivery room. All the supplies were moved out and the help I had were great. They dusted off what needed to be dusted and hauled it all down to another big room.....into a pile! Miss Gretta and I have been going through things....making a stack for the YES items, the NO items and WHAT SHOULD WE DO WITH THIS??? items. The NO items will go to the incinerator and the WHAT items maybe to another hospital or ?
Yesterday morning we (Miss Gretta and Dr. Ronald and I) met at 7am and took a little 2 year old boy to the OR. Gretta gave him Ketamine....anesthetic drug of choice around here....and we proceeded to debride him, clean his burn wounds and redress him with flamazine, petroleum gauze and kling. He came in Friday after being burned by a pot of hot beans on Monday...1st and 2nd degree burns over 70-80%. He looks at me with those big brown eyes and I cry inside. His wounds were remarkably clean for being 5 days old. He lives on Lagonave, the big island, and it took them that time to decide to come for help and then get here! Like Carmel, the fellow last year who came on a sailboat from Lagonave with a ruptured appendix. We thought he would die and he walked out about 10 days later!
We are limited by supplies as to how often we will take him for dressing changes and because his wounds are so clean, it was decide every 2 days. So he'll go again tomorrow and I will hopefully find some more supplies in the "pile". Quite a different way to practice medicine. I'm getting a taste of what it's like in the States as here they have to sign to agree to pay before treatment and come up with the money. There's the cheaper "community" hospital across the road and the "nicer" facility, being the big hospital itself. The difference is the size of rooms and the # of beds per room and the cost charged for supplies. (just like home, we pay more for a semi or private!) The nursing staff are still at the "community" facility side, the medications still have to be paid for, the same doctors look after both sides but the cost is different. And the conditions are remarkably different.....a flush toilet vrs a latrine, etc.
It is hoped that the elite side will eventually make up the cost of operating the community side. Right now, there are far more patients on the community side.
When the teams come, people will still be charged and that will help bring $$ into the facility. It used to go against my idea of why we come....as we bring the supplies and do the work for free.....but we need to also help this facility become sustainable and to do that, it needs incoming $ to pay the bills.
I'm learning....slow but sure.
Today I'm heading to Mission of Hope rehab again with Brijory. His one leg splint (AFO) has caused some bad abrasions on his skin and needs adjusting. He is still doing so very well. I keep complimenting him on his new beautiful feet that God and Dr. Nelson have given hiim! He is so shy, I love him dearly!
Kim Coleman (radiologist from Nebraska) is here now and has been teaching the docs how to do ultrasounds. Today she's running an obstetrical clinic which is just as well that I'm missing as I would be teary eyed all the time thinking of Sean and Em's little munchkin growing in Emily's tummy! Yes, I'm going to be a Grandma for those who haven't heard. What a blessing from God! Due Dec 30!
Kim has been here many times before with Dr. Joe Miller's team and is such a blessing to them here as U/S is an easy diagnostic tool to have....and they have the machines sitting here.
Well my coffee is finished....I love the botum and want to bring many of them back! Time for a shower (not sure why???) and then off down the highway about an hour away to the rehab. Kwam and Lisa have a funeral to go to this afternoon so will be back by then with the truck. It is a blessing to have Annie's truck to use. Tap-taps are fine, motos are sometimes scary!
There are so many stories....but all for now. Please pray for this little boy. He is drinking and eating and peeing. His lungs are still clear, his wounds are clean.

Posted by jdouglas 05:05 Comments (0)

crazy winds......

I love the winds and the rain each evening as the air cools off for sleeping.....but it comes with such force and without warning. If I'm watching the sky, I can see it coming as the clouds absolutely roll across the sky and then it's here. Tonight I thought it was hurricane force but I checked the internet a couple of days ago and nothing like that is brewing so it's just "wind"! The tall trees here literally bow over and often break off. Tomorrow morning everyone will be out cutting up what has landed on the ground....to make charcoal. I can see some of the "deforestation" in this country is caused by Mother Nature. Big trees at times are totally uprooted....I often see that on the road up into the mountains where OSAPO clinic is. Last week part of their roof blew off one day, they were still working on it the next day when the rains came and part of the top floor filled with water. We were sweeping the water away and mopping as fast as we could! Ah.....life in Haiti!
I thought of how different my days here are when I was handwashing my clothes this morning before I left for the hospital. How easy it will be when I get back home and can push a button again! : )
The big bus accident yesterday showed me how the hospital has changed for the better. They actually brought the people to the hospital instead of just driving by to St. Marc. Obviously the word is out that it's a working hospital again with good doctors and nurses! There were broken bones and so the orthopedic fellow was consulted from St. Marc and he soon arrived and took a couple to the OR and fixed a couple of others. All very efficient!! : )
I think I'll head to Lagonave, the big island, next week for a couple of days. My friend Elsie wants to see it before she leaves Haiti and Chuck has offered his home for us to stay in. I went there last year and it is truly a paradise. The view is to die for and it's peaceful and rural and beautiful. We can't get at the OR workroom until they're finished the renovations anyway. When we can, it'll be long days and lots of work....hopefully done before I leave Aug 8! That date is coming up quick. Hard to believe I'll be home soon. I'm looking forward to seeing the guys...and gals again and catching up on their lives. Joel will be finished "training" in about 9 months....that has gone fast! And Sean and Em are moving into the next stage of their married life....times are changing for all! : )
Mangos are pretty well finished. Oranges have long been done...I miss them! Lots of breadfruit and custard apple still....and passion fruit. Thanks to Audrey I was introduced to them all this time! : ) Bananas (figs) are always plentiful...I can buy about 10 of them for just over a dollar.
Tomorrow we're off to Deschappelle for Eddy and Emicile's wedding. They're a couple who work here....both about 40! Eddy is nervous as all get out....Emicile left about a week ago to get everything ready. She's quiet and calm! She's wearing the wedding dress that Audrey brought....fits her perfectly!
Well the invertor just quit so I'm sitting here in total darkness and all the bugs are attacking my computer screen. The fan also quit and I'm starting to slide off my chair in my sweat! : ) Doesn't that just make you want to come and join me????
I'm looking forward to our week at the lake and I'm going to spend the entire time in the water!
xo Judy

Posted by jdouglas 18:40 Comments (0)

6 weeks! July 15 2012

It seems I've been here much longer....and much shorter, all at the same time! I'm surprised as i just counted up the weeks. Time does fly when you're having fun!!! : )
Lots has happened since I last wrote....the 2 boys are walking and running. Their legs are getting stronger daily. Brijory does not sit in the wheelchair at all anymore.....he practices walking on his own, otherwise still uses the crutches (beki) as he is faster that way! I know Annie is going to have many tears in her eyes when she sees him! What a miracle.....for him to do so very well with just one surgery. Thank you God and Dr. Scott Nelson from the USA who did the surgery! Lerry is just counting the days until he can play soccer again. Dr. Nelson told him to wait til 6 months post-op so I'm making Lerry stick to that. That means August 11...I leave August 8 so maybe we'll bump that up a bit so i can take some pics of his first game! : )
Where do I start? I'm mainly working at the hospital....renovations are full steam ahead now. The walls in the workroom were broken down with a hand mallet and the debris carried away in wheelbarrows. 2 new room were made at one end of the space....these will be a delivery room and a small 2nd OR. The workroom itself will now be bigger to accommodate supplies that have been all over the place in separate "depots". It'll make for a more efficient inventory! Miss Greta (newly hired Head Nurse/Nurse Anesthetist) and I will be sorting through supplies, amalgamating like things into bins and she will organize the room as it fits their needs. There is a team coming in October so we must be finished and fully "ready to work" by then.
Randy, an American fellow with electrical background, has been hired by Project Help to aid the upgrading of the electrical system. They keep adding more and more equipment and the generators/invertor have to be organized to handle it all. Soon a new xray machine and mammography machine are arriving by boat!
I feel like I've conquered the world....I just spent the week sorting through about 8 bins of sutures....trying to make sense of them so they can be used. We cleaned out the existing cupboards.....there was a disintegrated paper bag in the bottom shelf of one of the cupboards, who knows how long it had been there!......and will restock them now with sutures that are used and keep a list handy if the others are needed. So yes, God has me making lists again so others will know what there is! We sorted through all the medications already and have given away or discarded anything outdated. Dr. Gardy and Toussaint do not want expired medications used on their patients.
The new staff....both doctors and nurses....are all dedicated and professional. It is great to have medical staff available 24/7. It will be so very much different this time for the American teams to come as they will now have to work within an existing system, truly guests come to work alongside the Haitian staff. There is so much we can learn from each other.
I spent last Sunday at Indigo with Elsie and her 2 kids. A nice break, swam in the pool, walked along the beach with Caleb, relaxed and yakked.
I found out that Lisa (she lives here at the orphanage) would like to go to Cap Haitian along the north shore of this arm and so my job is to convince Kwam, her husband, that he really wants to drive us there. It's not far if you look on a map but the road is terrible and slow to drive. We'll probably have to do an overnight trip. There is an historical citadel to be seen there...apparently well worth the trip! I would also like to go see the new hospital at Mirebalis that the Partners in Health (Dr. Paul Farmer) is building...I know Annie wants to see it too so maybe I'll wait til we can go together.
Pastor Frito's son David has the trumpet now....there was a funeral procession on the road yesterday with a brass band and I wondered if he was playing! I have more things that everyone sent to get over to them...must get that done as time is getting short!
Things that I want to bring next time are....specific clothes needed for each child, medical books in French, flat single sheets and pillow cases, picture frames, more folding tables, a wall hanging with many pockets to use to keep foley catheters organized, more small/med and large plastic bins to use to keep medical supplies clean on the open shelves (there is much dust in the air here), electrical equipment (list being made), laptops (I'm constantly being asked for one)
Next week I'm going to Deschappelle for Eddy and Ermicile's (Ser Paul) wedding. They work here with Lisa at the orphanage. The girls are going.....too many to take the boys too! Hey, anyone want to come to watch the place for the day! We haven't quite figured that out yet who is going to stay with the kids! She'll be wearing the wedding dress that Audrey brought...it fits beautifully....God knew what size was needed!!! : )
There's a little premie baby at the hospital now...was brought in at 12 days of age....mom had died, don't know why and a neighbor brought him. Tiny little thing, the nurses got an IV, he went on nasal O2 for a few days, peed and pooped, mewed like a little kitten.....perked up and is doing much better. Antibiotics obviously helped (he didn't smell good when he came) and a lot of prayer. Don't know what will eventually happen to him. His bottom was raw and very sore looking. We applied some of the Secura ointment that I brought ( I wondered at the time why I was packing it!!!) and his bum cleared up nicely. I never know what is needed when I pack those hockey bags!
I'm planning on returning in September. If God is speaking to your heart to join me, please email me anytime. I'll probably stay until my 180 days are up....sometime in late Nov/early Dec.
All for now....there are so many stories to tell, how can I not tell them all but will try again another day! Love and blessings to all........Judy
PS.....there is an American team coming to OSAPO in October and 2 teams coming to Pierre Payen Hospital in Nov. Get in touch with me......... : )

Posted by jdouglas 09:17 Comments (1)

I am alive...and well...in Haiti

Dear family and friends......this is truly the first time since I got here June 2 that I have a good and reliable internet connection!!! Thanks to many of you for emailing and wondering how I am! I have managed to find out a couple of times that the temperature in Vernon is a lot less than it is here...and I smile as I think of you all wearing sweaters and such! We've had a bit of rain this past week and it's cooled down into the 80's....tolerable! I actually have a sheet over me at night now.
I'm writing from OSAPO, the clinic in the mountains, and it will probably be my most reliable source of cyberspace. I bought a modem from NATCOM in St Marc last week but it is worse than dial-up and very unreliable. I'm thinking a waste of money!
Today was the first day I was back here working with Dr. Toussaint and I was greeted with a sign on the OR door...."WELCOME BACK Miss Judy from Dr. Toussaint and Dr. Marius and Miss Andre with love." I was very touched. Today we did a hernia and a myomectomy. I still am amazed at the size of the fibroids that he scoops out of the uterus! Toussaint is still enjoying using the Valley Lab cautery that we brought last year and the cardiac monitor is still beeping away...even though it is still precariously perched on a narrow stool!!!!
I've been to the Rehab clinic at Mission of Hope a couple of times with the kids...and Hercily, the fellow who had his leg amputated last Nov and Sean looked after him. Gedeon is growing and so his leg was too short, Rose Carmen had broken her foot splint again and lost a strap to her arm splint. Jovanee has a strange growth at the end of his arm stump and so we're getting that xrayed soon to see what it is. Dr. Ric Bonnell is here from Texas right now....he's the medical doc at Canaan orphanage where I stayed in 2010 and is a good friend of Annie's and looks after the kids when he's here. His wife arranged for the C-arm (Xray) machine to come to Haiti after the earthquake, when they started using the OR extensively for orthopedic surgery.
Pierre Payen Hospital is barely recognizable. The new administration team has completely cleaned it and painted it and it is now a 24/7 functioning hospital with adequate nursing staff and doctors around the clock!!! Thank you God!!! This truly is a miracle!
Of course the OR supply room still needs lots of re-organizing and inventorying but this time I will be helping the new "Director of Nursing" Miss Greta. She is a Nurse-Anesthetist and will be on-call at night for that. Otherwise she is getting the staff organized and ship-shape. There is now a structure to things which is a real blessing.
Speaking of blessings, my friend Steve in IHA Biomed offered me 2 cardiac monitors and so I said YES, of course but wondered where they might be needed. When I got to the hospital, I was greeted with a sign on the existing monitor "NOT WORKING". I smiled as God always knows what is needed! The plan is to open up the old OR as a 2nd OR room when the teams come in November and so the 2nd monitor will also have a home!
And so my days will keep going! I loved having Audrey (PT) here for the first 2 weeks. I tried to introduce her to everyone and show her the sights. Our first job was to take the 2 boys with the extensive leg surgeries to Port au Prince for their 3 month post-op checks. Lery, the boy with the very wonky legs due to bilateral dislocated patella, is at least a foot taller. His legs are straight and he is doing GREAT. Audrey started him on a daily PT program and his quads are getting so strong. He walks up and down stairs with good balance, he walks or rides a bike to school, which is about 3/4 mile away. Dr. Nelson promised him he could start playing soccer in 3 months! He had 7 osteotomies on one leg alone. His xrays show multiple plates and screws!
Bijory, the 8 year old with the congenital club feet, actually has functioning feet now! They're short and he has abnormal short toes, but he is doing his exercises as well trying to strengthen his quads and toughen up his new feet. He walks around the table supporting himself with his hands on the bench and practices walking around a fair-sized patio with his crutches. We got him going back to school once we arrived and he is loving that. He has a pint-sized wheelchair that he uses there.
Audrey was a great teacher of both the boys and I of the PT program and so we're carrying on since she left. Lery does the stairs in the morning before school and if he doesn't walk home, he does them again at night. After supper and devotions, they do their exercises with me and the other kids monitoring their progress and cheering them on!!!! A true joy to see them both doing so well!
All for now.......I'm loving being back here yet I would love to talk to you all and I think of home often! Everyone asks about my family and wonder where Joel and Emily and Sean are! : ) They all want to know when they're coming back?
Love to all for now........xoxo Judy

Posted by jdouglas 10:15 Archived in Iceland Comments (0)

3 more sleeps.....and off again!

hello to all......I'm booked to fly Vancouver to Port au Prince on Friday June 1. I'm exhausted from the preparations and excited about seeing everyone again. I need a transistor radio yet but have most other things on Annie's and Gardy's wish list.
I want to thank all who supported the barbeque on the weekend at the Vernon Alliance Church. I will now have lots of funds to help many more kids go to school or perhaps pay for some medical expenses of others. I'll be letting you know!!! THANKS AGAIN EVERYONE!
I have just heard from Dr. Gardy that the renovations at the hospital are finally complete and the big grand re-opening of the facility is booked for Monday June 4. Unfortunately I must be off to Port au Prince that day with Bijordy and Laree to see the surgeon. It's been 3 months since their surgeries and it's time to start rehab.
Thank you Jesus for sending Audrey along as our local resident physiotherapist. I have a feeling she is going to be busy.
The last week in June, Kyle Adams and 2 others will be coming to see what's happening at the water filtration unit at Borel. I'll be joining them there for a few days....and then it'll be July.....and then August and I'll be home again.
But one day at a time. I will try to post pics and keep you all up to date on what's happening....with my friends, with the children at the orphanage, with the Haitian political situation, with whatever else comes out on print! : )
Thanks for listening.......blessings to all xo Judy

Posted by jdouglas 22:57 Comments (0)

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