|Hi All:In the world in general, I suppose that donkeys are not well known for having rather high Intelligence Quotients. Those in Haiti, and the one braying to you in particular, are likewise not overly endowed with wisdom and thus we come again, asking for prayer for divine wisdom in knowing how to treat the struggling Haitian Donkey and plan for future trips to the homeland, etc. I am well aware that the Lord has allowed medical care to advance to the level it is at now in the USA, even amazing the Donkey in his 40 years of practice. Because of this wonderful care He has permitted, I have been privileged to benefit and be able to live fairly well for the last 6 years despite my aggressive cancer and the consequences of the extensive surgeries I have undergone. Also, the progression of the TPN (Total Parenteral Nutrition) again in my lifetime has allowed me to keep living and working despite not having enough intestines to live (I only have 180 cm of the minimum 200 cm). But, the Donkey is also acutely aware that it is especially by the prayers of so many faithful friends and supporters, some of whom I will never likely meet this side of heaven as we don’t live on the same continent, that He has ordained that I am allowed to live despite the severe restrictions and conditions imposed on me by the nasty cancer and the consequences of the treatment of same. I am constantly humbled, amazed and encouraged by you all and your kindness and willingness to sacrifice your time and energy on my behalf. To God be the glory.
So, I come again, asking for prayer for God to guide my thoughts as well as those working on and with me for the near future as well as a bit longer, should He allow me to continue to live and work for Him. As I mentioned, my strength was a bit down in Haiti last week. I had a sinus infection a few days before departure and felt a bit dragged down, but treated it and, although it is still there, is tolerable. However, Wednesday night and each night thereafter, I had fever and chills, tolerating the warm nights only with my sweatshirt on to keep things on an even keel. The trip home went well, though very thankful for my heated jacket (like the hunters wear, with batteries to keep me going) and the team took care of the 11 suitcases of stuff while Karen took me directly to the ER from the airport. I had a temp of over 103, a white count over twice normal at 21.500 and they wanted to keep me in the hospital. However, they always take my bundled clothing away and I shake like a leaf. I know they want the temperature down, but I don’t do so well with chilly temperatures. They did start me on the ever faithful Vancomycin and I have continued it to this day as it seems to be the only antibiotic that will work. However, we checked levels on Wednesday morning and the usual dose was not sufficient this time, so have bumped it up and yesterday the levels were acceptable. Thus, am hoping this critter will surrender his territory and go away soon.
Part of the body’s way of dealing with sepsis, the severe infections that I get from either my hole in my intestines or the lunch line in my chest, where we dump in 35% Glucose with other nutrients that the bugs like to share with me when possible, is to third space fluids, causing swelling in the legs and a bit in the lungs. This normally has been a bit of a struggle for the Donkey, but this time, I seem to be hanging on to considerably more fluid, about 15lbs. worth, and it is causing some congestive heart failure for me. Thus, a flight of stairs makes me so short of breath that I have to rest before going back the other way with whatever I have come to get, etc. Additionally, in my first 15 hour surgical marathon, they spent a fair amount of time picking cancer globules off my cardiac area (as well as the rest of the abdomen, etc) and since that time my heart has done more than it’s share of flips and flops and other fun things that the Haitian Donkey does not enjoy, so have been taking a beta blocker with help. As I have been struggling, I did see a cardiologist on Thursday, who did what all medicine men do, shuffle your pills, trade a green one for a red one and a yellow one for 2 white ones, etc, as well as do an echocardiogram that shows I have some heart damage from the infections. So, am slowly getting back on my scrawny (though puffy with water) donkey legs and hope the healing process will continue. My blood tests done yesterday showed some improvement, the white count down to 13 but still having low potassium due to the water pills, etc. We are making progress, I have lost 10lbs so far, but not out of the woods yet and appreciate prayer for wisdom.
Also, as we are working on organizing work teams for Haiti for the future months and my health status being a bit unknown complicates things. I am deeply grateful to Drs. Jim, Jose and Luke for their invaluable help, especially as Jim and I both struggle with significant health issues and he never states no when I ask him to help, often on short notice. However, we need God’s wisdom and help/direction as we work through other topics that need addressing at the hospital that they are not able to help with, due to language, cultural, etc barriers. We have been working on getting the rather gentle new administrator, who similar to myself, needs an infusion of backbone stiffening, better organized in setting up rules and guidelines for the hospital. He is so much easier to work with than the last one I have endured for 12 years, an autocratic ruler that all hid from when he came around and who now seems to have made his way with his family to Canada??? However, we are trying to set things up in the administrative realm for years to come with the help of Dan and Duane when they are available. We also are working on getting the reintegration process going for Dr. William, who hopes to be done in 20 months more with his Haitian Surgical Residency. How this picture will work out is taking lots of time, prayer and wisdom that the Haitian Donkey lacks but asks you to pray for divine intervention in this regard. So, planning on future trips, the composition of them as I never am able to go alone just for the TPN that needs a second person to help haul, etc is a bit difficult as he struggles with health questions and concerns.
The Haitian Donkey, true to form, has rambled on a bit, but appreciates all your prayers for wisdom, encouragement and strength from on high.
In His Service,
Bill, Karen, Rachel, James and Jenn Ten Haaf