I suppose life in general, and certainly our week stints in Haiti, seem to fly by so rapidly that one wonders what happened. Our week has been good, it hardly seems that tomorrow I will give my usual Friday devotions, then we have a 10 am meeting with MEBSH regarding them assigning us a new chaplain (a real item of prayer, as it is a great need in our opinion, not sure others see things in quite the same light), we will slice through our surgeries, including 3 possible amputations, and wrap things up for the week. Then we head home, the whole group of us, Tom, Nick, Beth Newton, Joyce Thrones and myself, to whatever awaits us there. For me, I will have to be the old dog learning new tricks as our office went to the infamous electronic medical record 2 days ago and I will be stepping into the fray of things on Monday morning, I suppose. Life here is so much simpler in the medical realm, a short note about what surgery we did and whether it went
well, what we found and on you go. However, progress dictates we use computers that dazzle and leave me wild eyed and confused.
From a personal perspective, I am glad that I feel great and can do most everything the Lord gives me to do each day, except needing to be a bit selective in what and how much I eat at a time. With all the questions about the progress of the cancer on the CT scan, we had a flurry of ideas from Dr. Bartlett’s physician’s assistant, including chemotherapy restart and possible vaccination in combination with that once we obtained more tissue, not an option at present. Then, suddenly, quiet and not sure what that all means, but, considering that chemotherapy isn’t a whole bunch of fun, will not push the issue at present. So, we will wait until I return from my next trip to Haiti and repeat the scan and then reconsider the options, depending on the progress (in this case, negative, ie enlargement of the tumors) we see on the comparisons of the 3 month testing. In the meantime, I hope to get a chance to go with Karen, James and Jenn to the Netherlands to
see my mom’s sister, as she now is the only remaining relative on my mother’s side. Her brother, my uncle Hans, died now a bit over 3 weeks ago, the 4th of our close relatives to pass away in a month, starting with my brother in law, Harold, then my dad’s two sisters, one after another about a week apart and a week after Harold, then uncle Hans and now, yesterday, another uncle on my dad’s side. It surely reminds us all of the brevity of life and the importance of making each day count for the Lord and for His glory.
Tom and Nick just returned from 2 days of working themselves to the bone at Rod and Debbie Wray’s camp, installing a bunch of plumbing in the apartments they are building there for longer term short termers to stay and work at the camp. They looked tuckered out when they came back tonight and haven’t seen much of them since. They unpacked the crates of medical equipment packed and shipped from Grand Rapids the first two days of the week and hung the new OR lights in the 3rd OR room, a place where we will do little stuff, like the closed reduction of a fractured and dislocated ankle we did this evening, so that we don’t dirty up the big OR’s but can find a place to safely give the patient anesthesia and then reduce the fracture without having scores of interested onlookers, as privacy is a rare commodity here. Will see what each one of us can get done tomorrow to wrap up the many loose ends we always have the last day. We should have at least a dozen more surgeries, which will get us into the 50’s for the week. As mentioned, Olga II (Olga I is here all the time and runs the Women’s Center, Olga III came and is a teacher helping out at the center) has worked out well, she is quite humble despite being a surgeon and has decent English, though we have had to explain some of our accidental figures of speech or whatever you call the phrases we all use that make no sense when explained to newly learning English speakers. Plus, we have an entire lingo of Franglais expressions all our own that we have developed over the last 12 years together, such things as “faire the flapping,” when you develop the bladder flap, “off in Africa” when one is under the effects of Ketamine and not quite in control of his senses, sort of what the nurse anesthetist says when she thinks the patient is able to undergo the incision without feeling pain, and a number of others that she has bravely waded through. She has taught
Dr. William, who really has a gift for languages, a number of German phrases that I had pushed back in my remote memory as I struggled to master French before we left for Africa, so it has been fun to revive ancient history.
As mentioned, the surgeries have gone well, including a number of procedures I could do on some of the missionaries, so it has been a well rounded week. We are trying to sort out replacements for Drs. William and Adulte, a rather staggering order, especially for the former, as he does so many different tasks so well here that replacement will be difficult. He is trying to get his house literally in order to be able to leave in, hopefully, October, for the surgical residency program in Cap Haitian. With all the unrest on the political scene with the upcoming elections, we hope that they will be able to do this in some semblance of correct time. Today, Beth went to get some official papers ready for her trip to the US with us on Saturday and found out that it was yet another government holiday, a surprise to even her after 26 plus years in Haiti, it was “God’s Birthday?” She said that she overheard someone muttering, likely in frustration at this new, revolting development, whether God would enjoy blowing out candles for this special event. Wow! In anticipation of the two valuable doctors leaving us for 3-4 years, we are working on giving a possible replacement a crash course of on the job training with Drs. William and Moise in the 4 months before they depart to make the shock a bit more tolerable.
So, will send this to Karen to send on to you (cooperation in the communications realm is sadly lacking always, just a few notches worse this week) and hope to see many of you in the next few weeks. Thanks so much for praying for our service here for Him at Centre de Sante Lumiere, Cayes. It it greatly appreciated, needed and felt by us all.
In His Service,
Bill, Tom and Nick