Friday, March 25, 2011
Our time at the beach was quite relaxing. It was so nice to take some time and reflect. It was also a nice way to transition back to normal life. We shared all of our memories and the many things that we enjoyed while we were here. One re-occuring theme was how close we all feel, like an extended family. I sure will miss all of you when we separate tomorrow.
There is so much more I could say, but we have to get up early tomorrow, so I won't say anymore.
This morning our English devotions were from Joshua chapter 9, where the lesson was to not make a pact quickly, because sometimes things are not always as they seem.
When we went to the Creole/staff devotions our lesson was from Galations chapter 6: 7-10. The message was that we will reap what we sow and that as we have the ability, we should do good, especially to them that are of the 'Household of Faith.'
Today, I feel God brought both messages home as we operated on this huge mass that we thought would be largely vascular and would lose a lot of blood. We also were doing our surgery in the name of God and many prayers were offered up before we made incision. It is kind of neat here, because for a 'Time out' before surgery we identify the patient and the proceedure and then the surgeon or staff has a short prayer before they make incision.
We were very blessed as the loss of blood was not as bad as we thought (Dr. Dixon thought about 50 mL's, I thought about 150 mL's, so we compromised at 200 mL's). ;)
The procedure did not take as long as we thought and we all feel very blessed as we are heading to the beach soon and can genuinely feel that God's hand has been in our mission.
Hope everyone at home is doing well!
Thursday, March 24, 2011
I am so glad Kristin has done so good at posting. I have been exhausted almost every night before bed. I have been learning TONS! I am glad Karen is such a patient teacher. Some of the things I have done for the first time is removing sutures, packing a gunshot wound, irrigated a Foley catheter, and dressed tons of extreme wounds (i.e. GSW, stab wounds, cantaloupe sized necrotic tumors, etc). I have also been adjusting from the role of a student nurse to being not only a full nurse, but also a nursing instructor. With Karen's help we have taught several diabetic patients and we developed a new checklist form that the nurses can use in there diabetic training. We (mostly Karen) presented this to the nurses in an inservice. After we were done Gary present the staff with French Bibles. Then Shirley, Karen, Jeremy, and I taught the nurses some transfer techniques. Today Karen and I finally got a little more organized and our rounds went great.
We have been having a good time with some of the patients. The little boy that had the hernia repaired was cute. He was still pretty apprehensive but we finally got a smile out of him.
It seems like such a different world down here. We in America have been so blessed. We are still waiting to start our evening rounds with Dr. Rudy, so I had better quit.
We hope everyone is doing good at home,
I forgot to add a photo of the ladies of our group. So here it is. If I haven't mentioned everyone before, I apologize.
I think I left out Monsieur Gary (as Joanna and Janet Dixon call him). Gary is the understated man of the group ;) He has been helping in nearly all capacities and is always willing to say a prayer or lend a helping hand. Today he passed out French Bibles to the Haitian staff at devotions. We all love Gary and will miss him when this trip is over!
As for the keep silent, keep sweet, and keep stepping, that was part of our devotional encouragement from Bro. Bob Beebe. We have all enjoyed each day that we have had together, but have admitted that we are all looking forward to seeing those who are at home. :)
Today was a whirlwind of therapy, dressing changes, fixing various equipment, and surgery. We only ended up with 5 cases to do. Perhaps 3 tomorrow, we will find out when we round. Dr's Dixon and Rudy were blessed today as I had no voice. :) It came back at the end of the day with a vengeance, though. I think everyone has had a little touch of something throughout this trip. Everyone comes to accomplish as much as they can in the short time we are here, and it's hard to say no, or leave a task unfinished....
Hopefully tomorrow will be a little more restful. Tomorrow we plan to work in the morning and then go to the beach and have a nice dinner. Then we will leave the complex at 5 am Saturday and head home. It has been such an enjoyable trip. God has blessed us all so much, I know I am speaking for everyone when I say that.
Wednesday, March 23, 2011
Last night we did five cases ending with a man who had a fractured pelvis and femur from being hit by a car. We had packed a tear in his rectum when we stabilized him yesterday, but we needed to do a diverting colostomy (remove the torn piece of intestine and divert the intact intestine to the outside with a colostomy) so that he would not get an infection if he had a bowel movement (this would essentially go into his intestines) and he could die from septic shock. This was an emergent surgery, so we took him back to the OR and put him to sleep. He had already received at least two units of blood and we were waiting on a Hematocrit (blood level) to come back. We already had the patient asleep when we got the hematocrit of 16 (yikes! Normal Hematocrit is around 40). We had 2 units of blood ordered and got two more ordered.
Anyway, to avoid being too graphic, the patient was not doing too well at the end. His breathing was very labored and he was oozing blood from several orifices. Every person on our team was quite helpful (Literally, everyone had a part) and he ended up waking up and telling us to stop talking because he wanted to sleep in peace. Trust me, though, I don't think I can describe how nerve wracking it was for about an hour.
Everyone has been very busy here doing dressing changes on patients (Arthur and Karen), Physical therapy (Shirley), Operating on Patients (Dr. Dixon), Fixing everything (Dad and Bob Beebe), Helping with supplies and witnessing to the Haitian People (Jeremy and Jonathon), Getting supplies and being everyone's right hand assistant (Janet Dixon), working out the kinks with the hospital (Bob Beebe), and doing anesthesia (Joanna and her student Kristin ;) ).
Tuesday, March 22, 2011
Yesterday was quite a busy day. Shirley worked with the Therapy team doing Physical Therapy with the many hospital patients. Arthur Karen and worked with the nurses helping to teach them where they could. Dr. Dixon, Dr. Rudy and I worked in the OR, with the assistance of Janet, Jonathon, and Joanna Dixon (They watched, took pictures, grabbed extra supplies, ran for snacks--basically they kept everything running smoothly).
We operated on 7 patients yesterday. We started with 5 on the schedule and then had an emergency incarcerated hernia (as big as my head, no joke!) show up in the ER so Dr.'s Dixon and Rudy fixed that. We also had an add-on fractured pelvis and femur that we stabilized as best we could. We left the OR at 1:30 am and even then, reluctantly ;). If it hadn't been so late, I would have tried to recover the last patient myself as it was difficult to keep his blood pressure greater than 80's systolic.
Dr.'s Rudy and Dixon finished rounds at about 1:45 (True Lightning Rounds) and we pounded out a tenative OR schedule for today. We have 3 scheduled cases and we will see what comes into the ER in the meantime.
For the record, Bob Beebe, Dad, Sheila, and Jeremy Dixon were also hard at work, but since I was stuck in the OR all day, I wasn't able to see their efforts. :)
Sunday, March 20, 2011
So, after leaving the hotel at 4:30, yes 4:30 am, all 12 of us (and our luggage) boarded a hotel shuttle to Miami airport. We checked in quite easily enough and even had time for breakfast. Our flight to Haiti was uneventful, and I was given my last Diet Coke of the week. Considering I drank it this morning, withdrawals are sure to come. ;)
When we de-planed in Port-Au-Prince, we rounded up our suitcases and totes and found our driver. We road through the city and part way up the mountain (a 60 mile trip that took 7 hours). After many bumpy hours and several Near Death Experiences, we reached the pick-up point where Sheila and Joan had driven to pick us up. Heather Christianson, another missionary had driven with them to help pick us up.
The ride with Sheila and Joan was not near as harrowing as the first leg of the trip, so we can probably safely say that all our new grey hairs came from the initial driver. JK (For anyone over 19, this means Just Kidding).
We reached the guest house with all lives and limbs (and luggage) intact and toured the hospital. I think Dr. Rudy would have started rounds right then, but instead took Dr. Dixon immediately to the ER to see a 3 year old (Tim) with an incarcerated hernia. Dr. Dixon manually reduced the hernia while I provided the anesthesia (held him down). Tim was adoreable and no longer seemed to be hurting after the manipulation, but still eyed Dr. Dixon with suspicion. o_O (stink eye)
After the tour we enjoyed a fabulous dinner of rice and beans, chicken, cole slaw, tomatoes, plantaines (smashed and fried banans) with some pound cake and brownies for dessert. Yum!
On to rounds where we saw approximately 5,000 patients (20) and changed 1/2 million dressings (15), okay, Arthur changed the dressings. There are many cool pictures of the patients that I will have to post on here sometime. The rounds lasted until 2 am, Ha Ha.
We finished the evening with some singing and guitar playing (Jeremy Dixon). The fellowship was sweet. We are really enjoying ourselves so far. We will see what Monday brings (probably a less verbose post by Arthur). :)
Saturday, March 19, 2011
We are thankful that the Lord has brought us all safe as far as Miami. The whole team arrived last night (Fri.) in Miami. It was really nice to meet the rest of the team in person. The team consists of John W. Rufener (Rittman, OH), Dr. Jerry Dixon and Janet Dixon and their three children Jeremy, Jonathan, and Joanna Dixon (Benton, AR), Kristin Rufener (Rittman, OH), Karen Martin (IL), Shirley Leman (IL), myself Arthur Greenbank (Akron, OH), Gary Hunnicutt (Benton, AR), and Bob Beebe (South Bend, IN).
I opened this morning to St. Luke, where Jesus was sending for the 70. Verse 9 had stuck out to me because it spoke of healing the sick and telling them that the Kingdom of God is come nigh unto them. Later in verse 20 it spoke of the 70 rejoicing that the spirits were subject unto them, but Christ reminded them that it was more important to rejoice that there names were written in the book of Heaven. Please pray that we could continue to remember that our purpose is to serve and please God and not rejoice in what we can do, and that God would continue to grant travelling mercy.
Hope everyone is safe and blessed back home.
Friday, March 4, 2011
Lord willing, a group of us plan to travel from Miami, Florida to Port-a-Prince, Haiti on the morning of Saturday, March 19th. We certainly covet your prayers as we make this endeavor to help our fellow mankind. We also would ask that you would pray that God could use each one of us as He sees fit to further His Kingdom.
This blog has been primarily created as a means to communicate with our families, friends, and anyone else who is interested as we traverse a range of experiences while we volunteer in Haiti. We also hope that it can be useful to inform others of the needs that are present in Haiti, and of the progress that is being made there.