Last time, I discussed that I would get 3 units of blood and have a stomach tube put in for a blow hole if the pressure builds up. I got the blood, but the CT scan showed that my tiny stomach remnant was stuck to the posterior abdomen and thus not accessible. After all my extensive surgeries, the tons of scar tissue would make an open procedure quite risky and I could have more grief, so we did this with needles and dilators under fluoroscopy. There was a dilated loop of small bowel in front of it, so they placed a smaller tube into this, hoping it was not too far downstream. It is small in diameter but has provided a fair amount of pressure relief. I close it when I take medicines, etc for a bit, though have stopped any oral intake except maybe about 3 glasses of water each day and a few spoonfuls of blenderized whatever the kids are having. This seems to have worked pretty well and I am thankful that I have less vomiting. I still have a considerable amount of heartburn, so sleep in the upright recliner a lot to limit that.
I now have an immobilizer for my gimpy left leg. I cannot lift it up off the bed, etc, so presume the cancer (I have several palpable masses the size of golf balls and one the size of a baseball in my belly) has put pressure on my nerves that control my leg as it had been fine until 6 weeks ago and have had 6 falls since. Now being careful but hate being limited. The immobilizer helps a lot, though one has a stiff leg in it and slows me down. Since it is my left leg, I am hoping I can drive some, as I feel decent otherwise. The kids are not quite as enthusiastic about that as I am.
Rachel flew back home to Arkansas to do some work at the university she cannot do on line, hopes to be back in 2 1/2 weeks. She has been a great help and encouragement, keeps us all on our toes and has helped Jenn a lot with sharing the tasks of meal preparation and laundry, for which we are very thankful. She sleeps in her bedroom in the basement, so if I vomit or have some grief in the night, she is right there. Between the 3 kids, I am very well taken care of.
I have had regular contact with Dr. Moise, who tells me that the hospital is functioning fine but the patient load has tapered down to about a quarter of normal volume due to the Covid scares. They persist in only having the government controlling testing, and that only a limited amount in Port au Prince, so one really has no good idea how many cases they have. It is reported that they have 81 proven cases and only 8 deaths on the WHO site, but due to limited testing capacity, it is likely a lot more. He said that, due to government regulations, they try to practice “social distancing” for the patients coming to the clinic and have spread them out over the hospital veranda, etc, but the patients have trouble comprehending what they are doing and cooperating. Most of them were packed like sardines in the taxi getting there, so why do they have to stay apart. Haitians tend to have a lesser concept of personal space than we do, they live under crowded conditions for the most part, so like the more cozy atmosphere. No employees seem to be ill, thankfully, as they do wear masks and protective gear as much as possible. I am continuing to look into avenues to get more supplies, including more surgical tools for the future as they are very expensive to buy and trying to get good used equipment where possible. I have not had contact with Dr. William for several weeks, as the internet does not work well in Port, so only usually have contact with him when he is with his family in Cayes, but travel is very limited at present due to Covid. Pray that he will finish well and adjust well to reintegration at the hospital when he hopes to be done in October.
As always, thanks so much for your prayers, support and other encouragement for our ministry at Centre de Sante Lumiere.
In His Service,
Bill, James, Jenn, Rachel and the rest of the Haiti Team