I thought I would send you an update as to what is happening in the life of the Stumbling Haitian Donkey and his Friends. The question mark is because some of his friends might be listed in the “fair weather” category or maybe even less than that. So, I would like to share a number of surprises that the Lord seems to have put into my path recently that appear, at least on the surface, to have turned progress towards our goals into Haitian sized potholes on the road of life. Since the Haitian Donkey is NOT a mountain goat, he does not like the rapid descents from the heights of flying in the clouds to the valleys of slogging through the Slough of Despond or whatever John Bunyan called the speed bumps on the road in Pilgrim’s Progress. I have to keep in front of me, as we are encouraged in Heb 12:1-2 exhorts us, “Let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us. Looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him, endured the cross (certainly much more difficult than anything we are asked to go through, but our Example, surely).” So, pray with us that we will do His will in all that follows. It is not a coincidence that one of the last sermons I heard before going to Haiti was from Acts 14, where Paul was stoned and left for dead, but in v 20, he didn’t feel that “God is calling me back home to minister there,” but went back into the city. So, we need God’s divine wisdom to direct us in how to best proceed for His glory and our good as a ministry for Him in Haiti.
The major change in my work environment in the US has been that, on my return from Haiti, I fell on all 4 feet into the new electronic medical records installation in our office, the government mandated system that is supposed to make things easier for us all. So far, I think all of us have put in tons of extra hours plus considerable sweat and frustration with not a lot to show for it. I have typed my own records for 12 years now, so that part is not so bad, it is just finding the answer they want, rather that what makes sense to the rest of us, that is so frustrating. So, some of my nurses have told me that the Haitian Donkey cannot be other animals at the same time as I mutter about “trying to teach this old dog new tricks,” the fact that I am only “a bear of small brain,” and cannot learn this, and at times, I have what I call “Epic (the name of the system forced upon us) nightmares” and flop like a beached whale in the bed, much to Karen’s sleep disruption. Additionally, my partners have added the famous “dragon speak” to help them with their limited typing skills and they always mutter about the dragon slipping away in the middle of the work they are doing and trying to catch him and bring him back to the job at hand. So, we struggle with adapting to the changes to be implemented in our practice of medicine.
From a personal medical standpoint, I am doing quite well, other than occasional reminders that my surgical colleagues have left their trademark in my abdomen in the way of some adhesions that seem to cause some temporary, partial intestinal obstruction each few weeks of late. Since severe abdominal cramps, nausea and it’s friend, vomiting or retching isn’t the way the Haitian Donkey likes to spend his days and nights, Karen has reduced my diet to blenderized or otherwise finely processed food. The texture at times reminds me of baby food, but it goes down and doesn’t get stuck, so that is a blessing. Will get my next CT scan on the 12th of August, after I return from the next Haiti trip, and praying that the cancer will not have progressed much, so that we can delay the even less fun chemotherapy for a while longer.
But the biggest reason for this update midstride is that many of you have been praying diligently for the progress we seem to have made in the first 6 months of this year in possibly getting Drs. William and Adulte into a surgical training program in Cap Haitian, to make them legal surgeons and thus able to do surgery in my absence, for the long term function of the Centre de Sante Lumiere for years to come, should the Lord so will. We were thrilled that Hopital Justinien, the government run hospital in the north of Haiti, seemed very eager to work with us in a collaborative effort to improve conditions at both centers. I fear I am the eternal optimist, Karen at times has to bring me back to reality, but it seemed that they were sure this would work out. I sent Drs. William and Adulte up there last week, bringing some supplies to help them out along with a letter from myself, asking for their help in properly enrolling them into the residency program according to Haitian rules. When Dr. Derevois, the director of government programs in Haiti, a Christian doctor favorably inclined to our needs, had originally suggested that I set up our own residency program in surgery at CSL, she had honestly told me when I asked if I could pick my own trainees, as US programs do and obviously taking my own mostly trained people first, she clearly told me that that was not possible, rather that the government makes all the decisions. So, I was surprised that Cap Haitian said they could arrange for our two doctors to go there next year, but we all know that proper incentives make things work in Haiti, so we just thanked the Lord that our men could get the proper completion of their training.
Dr. William was told last week that Cap Haitian no longer is allowed to pick their trainees either, so we are applying to the government for the possibility of our men going there anyway. Since I have traditionally not made much progress working through the proper channels, I am a bit skeptical of the outcomes, but spent much of last night, after receiving the news from a very discouraged Dr. William, praying for wisdom and direction for our next steps. I, now with Karen’s help, am writing formal letters to the proper authorities again and need wisdom and aid in that regard. I am the typical American, try to say what you have to say without a lot of flowery language, but that does not fly in Haiti. The French way of writing letters reminds me of Acts 24:2, where the orator Tertullus, speaking on behalf of the Jews against Paul, spreads a lot of flowery language around in addressing the Romans, who the Jews disliked quite strongly, and it makes me chuckle to think that I have to use similar terms to write my letters, with Karen’s help, of course, as my French synchronization of genders in nouns and adjectives leaves the Bewildered Haitian Donkey unable to sort out the proper path to take.
Of necessity, this is a rapid production of a request for prayer and divine guidance as we plod down this new, dusty path in Haiti that leads only God knows where.
In His Service,
Bill and Friends