As mentioned in the last update, we had a most comfortable trip down, except for the reindeer strike midway to Miami from Grand Rapids. We are still puzzling as to what that was, but I have dried out from my Sprite shower and we are busy but enjoying the, at least temporary, return to peace in Haiti. At least partially due to the quietness out on the streets, the surgical patients have been quite numerous, had a C section that went well with a little girl (again, I never noted the gender, just glad to get a healthy baby to pass off to the girls and get back to taking care of mom, putting things back together, etc) a number of hysterectomies, a goodly number of hernias and some other interesting cases. It never ceases to amaze me that the 3 OR nurses get so fixated on the little one that I have to bug them to pay some attention to mom and us.
We had to replace the well again, it is a hundred feet or so deep and pulling it is quite heavy, so lots of hands needed to prevent it from dropping. We will keep a couple spares at all times as we are dead in the water when it goes out. If no one is here to replace it, we do have a line to Cite Lumiere, ie where the missionaries live, where we can open it and one or the other can profit from the water from the other group until the appropriate well is replaced. Having clean water to drink, use for surgery, etc is a great blessing in this land where water quality is questionable at best in most places. The cleaning ladies asked Dan and Micah if they wouldn’t just consider moving their families down here and staying to repair things for the hospital, as breakdowns are the rule rather than the exception down here, it seems. The team also finished the construction of a toilet and a shower for the downstairs (ER, OR, infectious disease, maternity, etc) as well as the morgue on the other side of it. They also are trying to teach the Haitians a revolting concept, rotating stock so that the old stuff gets used first. I wish them the best in their efforts.
We came back on Tuesday night from Johannes and Luise’s house from another fine gastronomic experience, they are always a great delight. Dan and Micah were met at the door and asked to work on the sterilizer while I had several patients to see in the ER. One young man had at least 100 pellets of birdshot all over his body. He was in considerable discomfort, wanted me to remove the offending agents that were causing him pain, but that would likely take an entire day and cause him more discomfort, as one would have to dig holes to get them out. I think I convinced Dr. Sony, who was working with me in the ER, that this was not appropriate, not sure the patient agreed. He had bullets from his neck on down all over with a great distribution in his back side, so that he will not likely be able to sit down comfortably for a while. The other OR cases have been interesting, including an 87 y/o with a large cancer of his face that we were able to resect, doubt it will be cured, but hopefully the unsightly, smelly thing will wait a while before it gives him grief again. At his age, he also may outlive the recurrent cancer. We had a lady who had a large uterine polyp that her uterus tried to deliver, but, as opposed to a baby, it was hooked to the top of the uterus and inverted it, causing considerable confusion (and pain for the lady) for a while for us all, though we did finally get it out and sort it all out. She looked great this morning, blissfully unaware of all the sweat she caused Dr. William (here for a day from Port) and I.
Dan has spent the little spare time he has sorting out the finances, he has encountered a number of surprises that we are working on making sense of, plus figuring out a way to be sure we can correct them. As the administrator, Welser, states, it is very hard to change things in Haiti, whether right or not, everyone hangs on tight to advantages they feel they are entitled to. So, we will go slowly and see if we can correct things without too much of a firestorm. We also interviewed a young lady from the area and one of our churches who is finishing physical therapy school and interested in possibly joining us. Ulrike Shaller (sp) is a German physical therapist who has worked in Port a Piment for years and has been willing to help me reorganize the department from scratch and brought her here and will help whoever we hire learn the ropes, a great blessing to thank the Lord for. They loved the cleaned, painted and reorganized therapy room that my sister Margie and her friend, Marcia, slaved on for a week in December, again something we are very thankful for.
Thanks again for your prayer, encouragement and support.
In His Service,
Bill, Dan and Micah