The week has been progressing nicely after the rough start. Monday night, the retching stopped and Duane had made some chicken noodle soup for the three of us and my little bowl tasted so good. I didn’t eat much the next day, but Johannes and Luise invited us over for dinner Tuesday night, always a gastronomic experience. They certainly know now, but don’t know if they knew it before, but they make special dishes and they have a book of the 100 best dishes of the world, one for most countries and they made Nasi Goreng, the food from Indonesia, a variety of fried rice and one of my most favorite foods in the world. Needless to say, any thought of not eating succumbed to the temptation. They sent the rest home with me and I continue to enjoy small amounts regularly. However, my belly fistula has rebelled and I have been changing my clothes at least twice daily as it suddenly discharges not so savory intestinal contents that flood my dressings and other equipment designed to control the outbursts. I have a stack of scrubs in my bedroom to change into as needed, but will stop eating and drinking Saturday morning as don’t have that option on the planes. My strength is returning and have been able to keep the clinic running (short as Dr. Rachel has been ill all week) so have tried to help out with more than just surgical patients. It would be easier to do the surgeries with Dr. William or Moise and make the others work in the clinic, as they know the French meds better than I, etc, but my goal is to help the hospital progress all I can. We have goodly numbers but they are down from normal and few people come further than 1/2 hour from here as the roads are dangerous. Normally I have people come from as far as Port au Prince and further, but that has been limited.
Dan and Duane have been fixing things, though I think Dan has given up on trying to fix the lab machine I brought all those suitcases of reagents for and we will carry it back home and send it back in January with the team then (Jose and a couple of his colleagues plan to come with Dan and Duane) and Dan will go with me in February whenever we can find a way to get here with Delta dropping out and in country travel likely remaining nasty. Sometimes it is a bit eerie as it is so quiet on the road that goes past the hospital, where normally the traffic is noisy as one could not drive in Haiti without a horn and they use it liberally. As the hospital is on a hill, the traffic has a blind corner to turn from the town of Simon onto the dirt road that runs to the missionary housing and other places past us. So, vehicles toot their horns when they approach, but things are very quiet around here. There just are very little in the way of motorcycle taxis or other modes of transportation around, nice to have it quiet, but the reason, not so good. Speaking of the hill, the government told us a while ago that they were going to widen the road (someone out of country must have donated the huge payloader, it was brand new and worked well), so they told us to move the fence around the hospital back 10 feet. We didn’t want it on the edge, as the poles are imbedded in cement, so Dan and Duane and crew moved it back 13 feet or so. Despite our protests, the government took the whole 13 feet, exposing the cement bases which now are unstable. Another way that Haiti makes things more difficult than it needs to be. They are organizing the guards more, with the anticipated continued unrest, to handle the possible difficulties that may arise with robbers, etc. The guards told them they didn’t like the bright shirts they had supplied them because they can’t hide well if trouble comes with them on. An interesting concept. They have finished the cashier’s room and we hope this will help relieve some of the congestion in the lab, clinic, etc area. They are trying to organize things to allow us to use less fuel until, hopefully, we can raise funds for a solar project. There is so much uncertainty that it sometimes is hard to know how to proceed.
Surgery went pretty well so far. William went back to his training program so I have filled in more. Did a small lady with a huge, fibroid filled uterus on Thursday that was a struggle from start to finish. I must have been more tense than I realized as my upper back was speaking to me the last 1/2 hr of the case. We also had 2 people attacked by boar hogs 8 hr apart show up at about the same time last evening. We ended up trying to salvage the lady’s leg tendons and clean up all the debris and infection the pig had left, as I doubt he brushed his teeth before biting her. I worry a lot about losing the tendons in the infection that inevitably will follow, plus a lot of her skin was literally chewed up and not salvagable to cover the defect. . Physiotherapy is progressing nicely, thanks to Ulrike Schaller, a physical therapist from Germany who does this at Port a Piment an hour up the road donating some of her time to us, as well as her great expertise and some of her trainees and we are very excited about the development of that department.
Lord willing, we will pack our bags tonight and take a flight with our friend, Ken De Young, tomorrow morning and hope to get home a bit before midnight. Pray for safety on the trip, no floods of intestinal contents and also that we will be able to make plans for some sort of safe travel to the hospital in the months to come. Obviously, if God brings a measure of peace to Haiti, that would make things so much simpler, but we will try to make plans otherwise if needed. It is hard to plan without knowing what is going on. Thanks again so much for all your support, prayers, encouragement for us and our CSL team as we strive to serve Him safely for His glory.
In His Service,
Bill, Dan and Duane