Friday, July 27, 2012

Exulted Low Straight Revealed

"I have a dream that one day every valley shall be exulted,
every hill and mountain shall be made low,
that rough places will be made straight
and the glory of the Lord shall be revealed
and all flesh shall see it together."
-Martin Luther King Jr.

Please don't make fun of me today.


I can tell you the story if you want.

Yes, tell me the story.

About a month ago, a little girl was burned in a house fire. Her burns were bad. Really bad. On her face, on & in her ear, down her arm, all of one leg. We saw her several times. Then she stopped coming. So we chased her down. Convinced her Mom one day. Then her Mom started refusing & hiding. Then we found her Dad. Convinced her Dad one day. Then he started hiding. And we had to find uncles, cousins, neighbors to convince. Every time we saw her, they had removed her bandage & taken her to the voodoo priest. To put something on her burn. Sometimes it contained eggs. Other times goat poop. But every time it required scrubbing the burn to clean it. And it hurts her. It hurts her a lot. And she cries. She cries every time.

Earlier this week, I walked into their yard. Called- no answer. Called again- no answer. I walked into the house to find her all alone. She knows who I am. She knows what I've done to her. But she reached up with both arms for me to pick her up. And I went and pleaded for someone to let me take and clean her burn. Her burn that was crusty & pussy, no bandage. 

I don't think that they trust.

I don't think so either.

No, I don't think they trust. I don't think they trust Jesus. They don't know Him. We need to pray that they will know & hear from Him.

Yes, yes we do. I don't know what to do. What is the right thing for her? For her family? For her foot? For Jubilee?

I will ask God to tell you. I think He will tell you.

The voice of Jesus sounds like a 15 year old boys. And guess what? He speaks Creole.
His hands help hold a little girl as she gets her burns cleaned.
And He intercedes to the Father. He intercedes & asks when I struggle to know what to say.

"Those of us who are strong and able in the faith need to step in and lend a hand to those who falter, and not just do what is most convenient for us. Strength is for service, not status. Each one of us needs to look after the good of the people around us, asking ourselves, "How can I help?" That's exactly what Jesus did. He didn't make it easy for himself by avoiding people's troubles, but waded right in and helped out. "I took on the troubles of the troubled," is the way Scripture puts it. Even if it was written in Scripture long ago, you can be sure it's written for us."
Romans 15:1-4

Friday, July 20, 2012

Got saved by some Baptists

Last weekend, we had big plans. Plans to make the jump across the border from Haiti to the DR. Well, this is Haiti. And it didn't happen. There was lots of riding in the car, rain, sketchy cops, & traffic in Port Au Prince. But we decided that we were all still in for an adventure. So we decided to head south to Jacmel. A few wrong turns, some more traffic & darkness happened. And we ended up rolling into the Baptist Mission Haiti that night. No reservation. No call. They don't know us. But we chatted up some security guards, pulled some very gracious missionaries from their movie night, & ended up staying in an apartment up in the mountains of Kenscoff. For two days. It was cold- I wore long pants, long-sleeved tshirt, & a blanket or two, we had REAL soft serve ice cream, & ended up hiking into a ravine, and then up another ravine to find a waterfall. Restful & oh so beautiful. We are so grateful that there was room in the inn.
Beautiful hike up a river. Yeah, walking through the river
We hit a huge landmark this week in clinic. We have been talking, dreaming, emailing, & talking some more about re-vamping out prenatal program. And this week, our staff started doing blood sugar tests for our ladies at 7 months and monthly urine tests. Plus we introduced completely new charting. I know that now that I fall into the "missionary" category, everything I do should make me joyful & happy all the time... right? No. There are still things that require work and effort. But for an end result. A lot of what we do here is like walking up that river- it takes a lot of work and can be exhausting but the beauty along the way is worth it. Plus occasionally you get to see things change. Or run into a waterfall. And those glimpses stick with me and help me to remember to not forget to be thankful. For the Haitian clinic staff here. For friends- with both white & black skin. For random time in Port Au Prince to see a little girl we sent there for severe malnutrition. For soccer games. For new music sent from a friend. It's such a blessing to find something to strive for.

"Give us the courage to win over our enemies by our love and to wear them down with our grace."

"I'll put one foot in front of the other one.
I don't need a new love or a new life
Just a better place to die."
-"One Foot" by Fun.

Labs in clinic!
Soccer tournament in Jubilee

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Just a glimpse

Go to the people.
Live among them.
Learn from them.
Love them.
Start with what they know.
Build on what they have.
But of the best leaders,
when their task is accomplished,
when their work is done...
the people will remark:
"We have done it ourselves."

First (hopefully last) moto burn

Draining abscesses

Dr. Sharon perfecting our suturing

Running suture
Very routinely, we do not get to see the results of our efforts. Whether is a patient who we send to the hospital and never hear from again (even after attempt after attempt to phone them) or gnarly wounds we clean, suture or pack, there is no guarantee we will ever see them again. A few months ago, we had a woman come in with raised blisters on her neck. They were huge, covered her neck & face, was pussy, & made it difficult for her to swallow. Her daughter had brought all of their charts- from their other efforts to be helped- & we discovered she had been diagnosed with HIV. LAST YEAR. Never started on medication. I sent out an email to Dr. Brian (Infectious Disease MD) & got instruction to treat her aggressively for a herpes zoster infection. When she came back to get the medications, her blood pressure was 70/40. This is insanely low. We explained to her our thoughts, gave her the medication, prayed for her, & sent her to get treatment at the HIV clinic at the Haitian hospital (La Providence). And heard nothing back. In my mind, she had passed away. You don't last long having HIV plus a blood pressure of 70/40.

Last week, I went to La Providence to work on getting some paperwork for my residency here. I was passing a woman through a doorway, made eye contact, & thought "huh, she looks vaguely familiar." We have over 1300 patients at clinic. So that didn't mean a lot. Until she said "Miss!" And I realized that this was her! Her blisters were almost completely gone, she was receiving treatment for her HIV, & looked incredible! Plus she said she was feeling healthy. This means two things. One: this woman was not dead. Two: our referring people to this hospital for HIV testing/treatment was working. This is a big deal. 

Pray for the welfare of your city.
Occasionally we get to the privilege of getting a glimpse of that coming about.
My loyal guard dog, keeping me safe