(Sorry, this is very late as could not make the computer in Haiti do my address lists, you all know I am technologically challenged)
Once again, we are making progress but also trying to be sure we tie up loose ends, if possible. Surgery has continued to go well, yesterday was a very full day as we had 4 scheduled hysterectomies, then had two twisted ovarian cysts come in, both in a lot of pain, understandably, as the ovary is dying due to the twist cutting off the blood supply and it becoming very painful. They are fun to do as they usually are rather dramatic, they come in in a lot of pain and the next day, though the incision is painful, they are much relieved and bounce back quickly. We also did an interesting neck mass as well as the usual hernias, etc. Overall, a very satisfying day. We did have an 85 year old lady we had done a hernia on the day before have some bleeding when I saw her in the morning on the dressing, that seemed to stop all day long, then restart in the evening, so I took her to the OR to sew it and it stopped again. I had her get up and walk around, not a drop came out, so a puzzle, but then restarted this morning and we found the culprit and fixed it.
Speaking of culprits, when we arrived, the entire physical therapy department, which had been polished up last month by Margie and Marcia, was pouring raw sewage out under the door on our arrival. How long this had been going on was anybody’s guess, trying to get facts straight in Haiti is always a difficult situation. Patients will tell you the problem has been there for years, just to emphasize that they want you to take them seriously and fix the problem, often confusing the situation rather than clarifying it. However, it appeared that there was a blockage downstream and all the sewage from the hospital was finding this easy way out. Even in the OR, the rather unpleasant smell permeated most everything. After some research, Dan declared a state of emergency and kept all the American and US workers to dig in the driveway, trying to find the obstruction. As the driveway has a lot of traffic, the ground is very hard and they needed pick axes as well as shovels to find the plugged pipe. After many hours of hard labor, they were able to locate the river of foul water blockage and repair it. It was a bunch of “flushable wipes” that did not flush and plugged up the 4 inch pipe on the way to the septic tank. We are very thankful for the success of their labors, though it is a bit of a puzzle how this got there, as Haitians normally do not flush even toilet paper, rather put it in the wastebasket provided in the bathroom to prevent filling up of the outhouse sewage hole, which just lets the material seep out into the ground around it. This has put them considerably behind on the list of projects they have to attend to. Dan and the crew have had a number of other urgent repair projects, from the microscope in the lab and the chemical analyzer to fixing the fussy washing machines and helping me fix items in the OR, so, as usual, he is greatly appreciated. I am constantly amazed at the multiple talents God gives to those who are willing to accompany me to Haiti and work away at anything that presents itself.
Jose brought two delightful ladies who work in the surgical supply department at his hospital to help arrange the supply storage rooms. They have been working in a sweaty, dusty and dirty environment very diligently. There are numerous termite trails and they have made inroads into some of the supply, despite the monthly termite sprays that the maintenance crew is supposed to do. The termites destroy anything made of wood around here and we are slowly replacing shelves, etc with metal materials as we find these. We greatly appreciate their labors. Jose himself has been very helpful in keeping the OR running smoothly and allowing me some time to do administrative meetings, especially Tuesday as we had Dr. William with us for the day. He worked in the OR in the morning and we had a lengthy meeting about some plans for reintegration of him in 20 months or so back into CSL and more of planning for workable options should I be less able to return or not at all. I much prefer to work in the OR, but I suppose this is needful. Actually, I know it is, but not my forte. Jose also has added some dimensions to our activities with his opinions. Sunday morning, everyone went to Renault and then the camp except he and I. As we got home late from the airport Saturday night, after getting things put away, it was midnight and I slept in a bit in the morning, as the hospital chapel service for the patients is 10 am. I came out pre shower and his remark was that I should give some attention to my “Dutch hair.” He has nice, short, curly hair that likely takes little effort to look acceptable, though admittedly I don’t put a lot into my hair if possible. He also has dubbed himself the “Missouri Mule.” He seems never at a loss for some interesting comments, including those revolving around his area of expertise, some surprises he has found there, etc.
Will get to bed and get ready for our last day in Haiti again. Thank you so much for your prayer and other support of our ministry here for His glory at Centre de Sante Lumiere.
In His Service,
Bill, Dan, Dave, Jenna, Jordan, Jose, Joshua, Kelly, Mary, Patti, Paul, Stephanie