We are now fully in the swing of things here, the partygoers, the revellings in things not so good (from my standpoint, at least) and the other negative things that go along with this all. Sunday, there were a bunch of patients coming in before the holiday (I didn’t know that the government shuts down for 3 days to “properly celebrate” the holiday, this means a day or two to prepare, the Tuesday to waste oneself and then Ash Wednesday to recuperate, is what Dr. Sony informed me while we were operating together today). The patients wanted to get care before all got shut down, as these are government mandated holidays. We had a bunch of patients to see in the emergency room, in the clinic and inpatients. At present, every hospital bed is taken and will try to move some out in the morning to make room for more patients, both surgical and otherwise. Other than that, the hospital is running well, we had 4 hysterectomies and a ruptured appendix and a number of other cases for a total of 13 on Monday, Tuesday was about the same, though the clinic was closed except to emergencies, to allow our employees off that holiday, though we ran the OR like normal, with 5 hysterectomies and a couple hernias and a smattering of smaller cases. Just before noon, the painters came up to me to tell me that they were running low on paint (they really fly with the sprayer, don’t want to slow them down) and could I get some more from the store? Fortunately, the desire to gain money was greater than the desire to party for the storekeeper, who graciously opened up the store and sold me 15 gallons of paint to keep things going.
However, a negative side of the partygoers is that, in addition to the roadblocks to collect money for the village celebrations, some others took things into their own hands and while Dr. William and I (and 4 of his 5 boys) were sitting together in Simon church on Sunday, some thieves broke into his house and helped themselves to the little amount of money he had on hand and other items, including his camera. On questioning, the neighbors said they didn’t hear any barking, so makes one wonder if the thief was known to the dogs? It was a great discouragement to him, plus the feelings we seem to have when someone takes stuff from us without our permission, stealing seems like such an invasion of our personal space and life. He filed a police report, but who knows what will become of it, likely not much. The police are also out celebrating, from the looks of it. The upstairs has some walls on it and beams for the ceiling, but no roof and no bars for the windows, so the thieves had little trouble entering through the partially closed off stairway inside the building. We hope that things can be locked up better in the near future.
We had a meeting in the house I stay in (which doubles as an office to meet in, as well as a number of other functions) but the critter infestation was nasty. It took a bit to figure out why, but Beth found out that the screens on the back porch had been removed for painting and not replaced, so the lights on for the meeting were an open invitation to come and partake of our veins for a meal. I put them in and will try to caulk around them if I can find some. It has been raining a lot at night (and some during the day, slowing down the painters a little bit at times) but I must admit I am oblivious to this all, as putting my head down on the pillow means the lights all go out in the room as well as my brain. Plus, the new roof and insulation seem to really make the rain hardly noticeable. I really appreciate the improvements to our housing situation and am thankful to the team members who did such a great job on the building. Thanks to you all!
Today, Ash Wednesday, things have been a bit slower as it still is a holiday, with only a few injuries from the festivities so far. I do have a number of stomach/abdominal pains, that is to be expected with who knows what went down the hatch in the incapacitated state. I ended up taking a second leg off a 91 yo who had gangrene of his foot, it was a difficult decision for both of us as I was reluctant to further handicap this elderly gentleman in a handicap unfriendly country, but the options were not great. William had debrided his necrotic toe a couple weeks ago, that is not healing and when I cut across his leg, none of the arteries even bled as they were so clogged with cholesterol plaque. Few Haitians make it to 91, he is quite spry and we wanted to give it a try.
The painters have sprayed the roofs and the rest of the edges of the administration building, as well as the two containers and the space between them next to where I sleep, it looks great and should protect the metal for years to come. They plan to do the container and spaces down by the hostel tomorrow and work on some of the worn spots of the hospital, as they seem to have made it a personal job to make things look up to par here and it looks great. I have never worked with a paint sprayer, but it beats the brush method out here in the open spaces. However, the paint that misses the mark or over sprays leave interesting patterns on the painters and the onlookers, who we have warned repeatedly to keep their distance, but curiosity is a bit dangerous to one’s appearance. We don’t want to wreck their clothing, but they insist on getting their faces as close to the topic as possible. I may need to make another paint run if they keep flying as much as they are, fortunately the store is only a few miles up the road, about a 15 minute trip one way, so not bad.
Once again, thanks for your prayers and support of our service for Him here in warm Haiti,
Bill, John and Mark