Am waiting for Dr. Moise and the med student, Dubuisson, to complete a vaginal hysterectomy (not enough room for 3 people, so I am there ready to help out if needed but Dubuisson is tougher and younger and will let him assist Dr. Moise, as the surgery is really a one doctor case with an assistant to pass tools, hold retractors, etc). So far, the week has promised to be busy all the way, so trying to be up for it. We had two hysterectomies yesterday, 5 today, plus a bunch of other cases and, if surgical clinic numbers have any indication, it will be a crazy time. Other than the volume, things are going well with one very sad exception. Yesterday, a young lady (ok, age is quite relative now) with a huge bunch of fibroids in her uterus was complaining the last few months that the pain was unbearable and she begged me to do a hysterectomy despite her young age. I scheduled her for yesterday, we did some young kids first thing, as always, as they can’t be trusted to not eat, given the chance. She complained to me when I brought up the little ones afterwards that the pain in her abdomen was unbearable and wanted me to do the surgery sooner. We brought her to the OR about noon, but then, even before we started, she complained of shortness of breath and rapidly went downhill and passed away, despite our attempts at CPR, etc. I wonder if she had a blood clot that traveled to her lungs, likely aggravated by the huge masses in her uterus? Her pastor had a lot of kind words to say about her afterwards, so trusting that she is in heaven, but it certainly was a major shock to us all and a reminder of how fragile life is, especially here.
The trip down was not quite uneventful, the plane to Philadelphia was only about 20% full?, to Miami was totally packed and that to Port au Prince was probably 20% full also, mostly Americans on mission trips. We assumed the last plane was empty (as was the waiting room in Port au Prince for the return trip) due to all the unrest in country reducing desire to travel. We had a 2+ hour layover in Miami, then they announced that a bracket on the outside of the plane was broken and the Miami mechanics were getting advice from the Dallas mechanics about how to fix it. Two hours later, it was fixed, but then the pilot was running out of time, so another crew had to be found. About then, American Airlines brought a cart to the jet bridge with sandwiches and drinks and chips to calm the passengers and we were ready to go. However, by now, we had lost our push back crew, then we had lost our place in the takeoff line, so we finally took off, knowing things were going from bad to worse, seemingly. Midflight, they announced that, to encourage the passengers, they were passing out free alcoholic drinks (Tom and I figured that might have been after they noticed that the majority of us on the plane were missionaries and unlikely to take them up on the offer).
On arrival to Port, a number of our small group of passengers were unable to find our luggage, so that prompted another delay while we filed all the paperwork needed (you have to have all your boarding passes to be able to qualify for this, but I knew that from previous mishaps and always hang on to them) and we headed out without any luggage, arriving at the hospital about 1 am. Poor Jean Eddy and Dudu went back the next day as Jean Eddy has done this many times and was afraid the suitcases would be empty if we didn’t jump on it as soon as it came in, likely he is right. Only 2 made it that day and 2 the next day, but we appear to not have lost anything, a real reason to thank the Lord (and those of you who were aware and prayed for this to occur). I must admit I was wiped out, as had my Immunotherapy on Monday and the last 2 sessions have been tougher. They increase the dose each time til I can no longer tolerate it and these were #s 6 and 7. Basically, no appetite, some nausea, all over body aches, low grade fever and no energy. Other than that, tolerable. I do think that I was able to adjust my schedule for the rest of the year so that I don’t leave for Haiti on the weekend after treatment, it still is not fun if I am home, but not getting much sleep for a couple days enroute here doesn’t help fight the situation.
I have not yet heard back from Dr. Bartlett regarding my latest CT scan 10 days ago (the Spectrum reading says maybe 10% advancement in the cancer, but they also state my nonexistent spleen is normal, so one has to take that with a grain of salt). I continue to be thankful that, although I am slower than I would like to be, I am still able to work pretty much normally and Karen and my coworkers, friends and family are super supportive and I consider myself very blessed of God. When I see all the frustration and discouragement of so many of our Haitian brothers and sisters, especially those who don’t know the Lord and are trapped in the voodoo problems, I really am appreciative of His care of me through you all and your prayers. I just finished reading Job on the plane ride in and couldn’t imagine scraping myself with a broken piece of pottery all by my lonesome, seemingly abandoned by all, including God (we know better but poor Job didn’t).
Tom has repaired some things in the hospital as well as in the place we stay, again a blessing greatly appreciated. The employees thanked the Lord this morning in chapel for the downpour we had last night, I briefly woke up with the lightening bolts and thunderclaps, but the rain beating on the roof is very soothing. The dependence on God for our daily bread is so much more obvious when they have so little and one does not go to the grocery store to get rations. Not a bad reminder for us to go to Him for all our needs regularly. Continue to pray for wisdom, strength and endurance for the rest of the week.
In His Service,
Tom and Bill