Once again, the week flies by here. We all seem to make good progress, though some differences of opinion as to the pleasure of the heat index. As per normal, I am loving it, the rest of the crew seems to think it is an unseasonably hot October for Haiti. Poor Duane is out in the sun with the crew, they poured the floor Monday, then have been fabricating the forms for the walls and roof of the new, improved, incinerator. The sun definitely beats down on their heads and wears the crew down, but they are steadily making progress. I think he plans to pour the walls and top on Monday. His crew is definitely being stressed to the limit to get the work done, although our projects are starting to get wrapped up and they fear that the opportunities at CSL will be drying up soon, so they are motivated to do their best. Someone who is always there and was missed by Duane on Monday was Alphonse, who many of you know if you have been to Haiti on work teams, now he is 82 but is always there. I ended up taking a large bladder stone and a bunch of gravel out of his bladder on Monday and he is recuperating well.
Surgery is going well though busy, to be expected as I missed my last trip here last month. Tabitha had never seen a dermoid ovarian cyst, so we obliged her with 2 this week. The first was about 12 x 10 x 8 inches and adherent to everything, the intestines, the walls and fluid filled but also a good sized ball of hair that interested her but also made her stomach a bit queasy. We did a second one today that was much smaller and also had a hairball plus teeth, just to keep things interesting. Our cases this week include a number of patients operated on elsewhere in the past with a significant amount of residual scar tissue, making things a lot more of a puzzle and messy. I am encouraging everyone possible to come see Dr. Luke when he follows me in early November, as we cannot accommodate them all and he is willing to pick up the slack (greatly appreciated).
I did notice that both Dr. Moise and I have matured some since we started here over 14 years ago, some of the joints talk to you during long cases and we work hard at getting done by 8 pm at night so that we can get a good night’s sleep. We have made it each night, not by much, like 2 minutes, but thankful that we can serve so many suffering souls. The head OR nurse, Miss Lisberthe, slept at the hospital last night as she didn’t want to make the journey home late at night just to return in the early am. Her level of dedication is a major reason why we have so few infections working here in Haiti, as she scrubs both ORs from floor to ceiling and everything in them the week before I arrive and everything is spotless. She seems to have a significant amount of energy and often takes off on the run to get a tool I ask for (unfortunately sometimes too fast, not waiting long enough to totally understand what we need and she comes back with something other than what I really need and I have to wing it and use it a bit before asking again for what I really want, so as to not hurt her feelings). However, it is so much easier to direct someone that is moving than to get them to overcome their inertia.
It has also been a bit difficult to get an open bed for more surgical patients as we are full all the time at present, having a number of medical patients, a couple burns, some CHF people and other serious cases tying up the beds. Overall, everyone seems to be adjusting well to the situation. It is difficult to realize that my next trip will be December already and making plans for our Rice and Goats fund to be distributed at Christmas, as this year it will be most appreciated again, as the exchange rate is 74 Goudes to 1 USD, making life a struggle for especially our 30 people who make less than $100 US/month. So I thank you all in advance for making this possible, we all greatly appreciate it.
In His Service,
Bill, Duane, Ruth, Tabitha and Zella