Update on Haitian Donkey

Dear All:

 

A quick update for those of you who have been waiting on word of the Haitian Donkey’s hospital stay. After having been in surgery roughly 8 hours, his surgical team finished their work. They reported that they had done what they had hoped, and sent him to the ICU. They have cleared large sections of tumour and repaired some of the damage and blockages that were making life difficult for him.

 

Now the big work begins for the Donkey. Because of Covid, unlike his last surgeries, the Donkey will be alone for all but 3 hours a day in the hospital, trying to recover from this massive shock to his system, get through the pain and let his body heal enough to be cleared to leave. This is a task that will take time and strength, so I am sure he will appreciate knowing he is in your prayers. We will keep you updated as we can.

 

Rachel for Bill et al

The Haitian Donkey Leaves for Pittsburgh to Try Surgery Again

Hi All:
On Wednesday, the 7th, we had a visit with both Dr. Bartlett (that was a last minute add on but welcome, as he is the most experienced at this, likely one of 3 people in the world who have done this many cases and have done well) and his partner at her office.  He happened to be in the hospital on administrative work for the cancer team, something he may do, just not see patients and do surgeries as the primary doctor.  He feels that my abdomen is soft and thus is hopeful of being able to give me relief of the nausea and vomiting and also some of the tumor burden with the surgery.  Gord and Margie took me and were very impressed with their kindness, thoroughness, and care, so we all feel more comfortable with the procedure.  He did say that he felt the risk of complications, including death, was higher than the 5% mortality rate with the previous three operations, more likely 15%, a bit daunting.

 

So, will leave Tuesday morning (the 13th) and get my brother Will and I settled into the Family house, go early on Wednesday to have all the preop evaluations done and hopefully get cleared for surgery and then they will begin early on Thursday.  Please pray that the operation will go well, likely 12 hrs or so again, and that complications, especially infections and intestinal leakages, will not occur or be minimal and allow me to recover well and return home again soon.  Will will do his best to keep you all updated, the exact specifics still have to be settled as he lives in Wisconsin but we will do our best.

 

As always, thanks for your prayers, support and encouragement as the Haitian Donkey enters this new phase in his life.  May everything be done well and to His glory.

 

In Him,

James, Jenn, Rachel and Bill

The Haitian Donkey Considers Another Huge Surgery

Hi All:

In the last letter, the Donkey explained that his bowels are blocked, nothing comes through and the normal intestinal juices, about 1.5 quarts daily, go in the reverse direction and are vomited daily.  This has shown no signs of letting up but I am relatively stable otherwise.  I originally had called Dr. Bartlett to see if he thought radiation might help shrink the tumors, both he and Dr. De Cook thought this might, but radiation specialists by and large have been reluctant to try this, including those in our area.  When the obstruction showed up, I called him again and sent him the latest CD of my CT scan.  He reviewed it and thought he might be able to help me get some relief with a 4th exploration.  As he has been there 3 times before, he knows the difficulties likely he will encounter but thought it was worth a shot.

I obtained cardiac clearance a couple days ago and will go on Wednesday, the 7th, to see his partner in Pittsburgh at a new hospital (to us), Allegheny General Hospital, the consortium he has switched to and is the head of the entire cancer department, I think there are 7 or so hospitals involved.  As this location is too close to University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, his partner will be the official surgeon but he will be one of the 4 on the team and assures me things will be no different than before.  If she feels the large hole in my abdomen through which now just tumor protrudes is closeable, etc, we are scheduled to return to Pittsburgh on the 13th for preop testing, blood typing and crossmatching, etc on the 14th and surgery on the 15th.  

Since it does not appear that Allegheny General will relax it’s rules and allow switching to a new caregiver after a week or so, my nurse brother, Will, will take that role, as he is retired and his family can keep his farm going in his absence.  Needless to say, he is a great answer to prayer for wisdom as we carefully seek the Lord’s will concerning this major step in my care.  The Covid rules still only allow him to see me from either 9-12 am or 5-8 pm daily and the family house he will stay in is the same as the one we had before, across from UPMC. They only have 3 houses scattered throughout the city and none near Allegheny General.  Due to Covid, the shuttle is not running but they will arrange Uber to get back and forth.   

Needless to say, this is a major decision for the Donkey, but the obstruction doesn’t seem to let up, the protruding tumor continues to enlarge and make care difficult and smelly, so this seems a reasonable, though risky, solution.  We would greatly appreciate prayer for God’s guidance through the remainder of this pre procedure evaluation and the surgery itself and recovery, if that is the way He chooses to lead us.  

The Haiti Team filled and sent a 40 foot container on Friday, October 2 with building and medical supplies and it is on it’s way with equipment for the teams coming later in the year.  I am very thankful that we were able to obtain a fair number of general surgical and orthopedic tools from an organization in Pittsburgh that hopefully will keep the surgical department going for years to come.  The tools are especially useful as so much of surgery is being done laparoscopically and thus the open tools are much less available.  Continue to pray that we will get more funding for the solar project as this would ensure reliable, 24/7 electricity (maybe with a couple hour generator boost daily for Xrays and the washing machine) in the midst of the continual political upheaval and uncertainty.  Rumors have it that the government has mandated an almost 50% increase in minimum wage, understandable with the runaway inflation, but where do they expect the funds to come from?  We may have to increase charges for services some, but that is only a limited solution as the patients don’t have increased funds. 

We would appreciate prayer for His wisdom for the Donkey’s surgical situation and the hospital construction, maintenance and financial organization.  Thanks to all you who so faithfully support us in these endeavors for our Lord at Centre de Sante Lumiere.

In His Service,

Dan, Duane, James, Jenn, Rachel and Bill

September Trip

Duane, Evert and I left for the first trip to Haiti since the middle of February. We talk about our trips there always being an adventure, sure enough our adventure this time started on Saturday morning leaving Miami. Of course there are all the Covid precautions that must be followed… so after boarding the plane which was completely full, not an empty seat. We were informed the plane was overweight, so we sat while they ran the engines for a time to burn fuel, then must of thought more needed to be removed so they literally drove the plane around the airport. That must not of worked to their satisfaction so we returned to the terminal to remove four passengers, The process of asking for volunteers, to paying people to get off, was stressful for all. There were a bit of chuckles as four small people left the plane. Guess what….. now we don’t have enough fuel for the trip, so we wait for fuel. It just kept getting better, we are then informed that we needed new pilots because they will run out of time they can fly, so we wait… Finally leaving two and a half hours late. We arrive in Port Au Prince after five hours sitting like sardines, shoulder to shoulder, so the logic of loading row by row to maintain social distancing made all kinds of sense. Well it continues… because of all the unrest in Haiti, we have been flying to Cayes. Our pilot had left to fly someone else by the time we got to that terminal. We realized that there is no night flying in Haiti our time to get on a plane and not have to find somewhere to send the night in port, was pretty short. We were assured the plane would be back and we would get to Cayes (the pilot would have to stay in Cayes and fly back in the morning). The plane will be here in 5 minutes, a little fuel and you will be on your way. Yea, right we thought. We were happy to see the plane land a few minutes later. Guess what they couldn’t find the fuel truck, now there was a little panic…. After a couple minutes, here it came from the international terminal, we might just make it. Not yet, they could not get it to pump fuel, at one point two men were under the truck trying…. After a few minutes, we saw the hose just and fuel flowed. We ended up landing in Cayes a little past dusk. So much for a easy short travel day.. Evert did enjoy being able to fly the plane most of the way….

We haven’t been able to get to Haiti for over 6 months, so we were very happy with the condition of the hospital; there is a growing pride in the Mission at CSL. This is a little of the fruit of several years of trying to cultivate that attitude. As a whole they have done a very good job during this trying time. We stayed open during this whole Covid time. When a lot of services were not available, our staff showed up and served the people. We are so Thankful to them.


Dr William is back after almost 6 years doing his Surgical residency, ( he needs to complete a research project by the end of the year) everyone is excited to have him back. We are excited to be able to offer services we couldn’t before. He will be putting a lot of focus on training. We are looking forward to lot of changes in how we operate.


We must acknowledge the staff that has had to handle additional work load during this time. Dr. Moise and Welser have handled the bulk of the load… Thank You.


Duane, Evert and our Haitian construction team were very busy preparing for several work teams who will be coming to CSL in the next 4 months, to remodel our Dental building into offices for the USAID program, Replace and reinforce the roof on the in-patient area to support future Solar panels, replace most if not all the doors in the whole facility with steel ones. (Despite our efforts to control the termites they have had a feast on a lot of the door jambs.) and to prepare the electric supply for Solar system as well. It was HOT, it took a toll on them.. Of course the list of normal repairs was large and was worked on everyday as well.


The week was filled with meetings discussing many aspects of the Ministry. Our goal is that everyone who enters our gates will see and hear the good news. We continue to encourage our staff to show that love. In a country where life is as hard as it is in Haiti, we are encouraged with the progress being made.


Times are always hard in Haiti, but they are extremely hard now. We are seeing an increasing need for use of our Poor fund. We appreciate all of you who support the work we do in Haiti, and hope you continue.


Thanks for your support.
Dan, Duane and Evert

The Haitian Donkey is back in the Hospital

All,

This is Bill’s son James sending this message to all of the prayer warriors for Dad. We wanted to let you know that my wife Jenn took him back to St. Mary’s hospital early this morning. He has a fever that has spiked as high as 103, likely from another infection. Pray that the hospital staff will be able to get his temperature down, and get him stable again. His condition does seem to be quite serious, but it is a little early to say how much so. We will update you as to any significant changes. If you do have any questions, I will try to monitor Dad’s email and reply if possible. Pray also for Jenn as she is the only one currently allowed at the hospital. 

We appreciate the support all of you have given to the Haiti mission, and to our family, over the years, and look forward to that work continuing far into the future.

God bless,

James for Dr. Bill, Jenn, Rachel, and our dear friend Tabitha