A Leaky Haitian Donkey Struggles With Health Issues

Hi All:

As you know, Duane VerKaik and the Haitian Donkey were not able to go to Haiti last month due to the uncontrolled riots.  In some respects, that was not all bad, as I developed an abscess in my left lower abdomen that my friend, Dr. Dan De Cook, drained of a mess of things, including what looked like a bunch of cancer cells in addition to pus, etc.  This all remains somewhat of a puzzle.  A couple days later, a fistula (hole) between my bowels and the skin opened up with a nasty smell. I had had that fistula drain 3 years ago, right after my last surgery and it had opened after Dan drained an abscess in the same area, but, by the grace of God, healed with 3 months of nothing by mouth, avoiding the need for surgery. 

Since it healed so well the last time, we decided to go on just clear liquids, hoping it would heal with this restriction (plus it allowed me to control the diarrhea better with the cholestyramine “slurry” twice daily).  All went well for a month, but last Tuesday, the pipe opened up and did the number on everything in sight.  By going back to nothing by mouth, things have cleared up to only a quarter size spot soaking the dressing daily for the last 2 days, so hoping this will heal as surgery would likely be very difficult, if not impossible, with all my scar tissue in my belly.  So, I am staying away from anything oral, on fairly vigorous antibiotics 3 times daily IV and this seems to have controlled the infection.  As the antibiotics are incompatible with the fats in my TPN (feedings in my vein) we first left them out, but I lost 14 # and that doesn’t seem to be a viable option either.  We have switched to TPN during the day, when I can flush the lines before and after the antibiotics (can skip this at the 2 am administration, when I just run Lactated Ringers) and at least my weight has stopped sliding, though am thinking about getting some suspenders to keep other things from sliding down.

With all the health struggles and all the paperwork issues and other jobs that seem to be needful after Karen’s death, I promised the kids to skip a trip and Dr. Jim Webb and Duane just returned from a profitable trip a couple days ago, though they had to fly out from the hospital to prevent some of the grief on the road.  Pray for Dr. Fred Brown and Tom Failing as they plan to go later in August, then, health and other issues permitting, Dan, Duane, Mark and I hope to go in later September.  Pray that the tiny leaking hole will decide to close up (we know our God can do anything and praying it is His will) and my strength will return in time to do this trip and the 2 other trips I have planned for the rest of the year.   

In another 2 weeks, I hope to be moved into the kids’ basement, many friends and relatives have worked hard to make this a reality and it really looks good to me (decorators may not agree).  Am praying that our house for the last 21 years will sell and we can get life a bit more settled on this end.  Also pray for further progress on organization for the hospital in Haiti, again some longer range planning for the future, especially if I become a bit more (or a lot) limited in my ability to get there and work as before.  There is a lot of potential there, but need to be sure we follow God’s will for the hospital in our planning for the years to come.

In His Service,

Bill, Dan, Duane, James, Jenn and Rachel