Saturday, March 20, 2010

Another birthday is here. When our waiter at Changs told us last night that he is 29, I told him I am too :) Lol...he believed me! Both of my friends that went with me to supper just smiled and nodded and laughed. Trouble is, I think they believed me too! Truthfully I am hitting the big 3-2 today. When I was in my early twenties I remember looking ahead and, I really do not want to hit 30. There is such a stigma attached to 30! When I hit 30 two years ago, I was super excited. I couldn't believe 30 was finally here. I felt like I could close the chapter on my twenties and forge ahead. I was ready for new life, new adventures and living every opportunity God gives me in this life to the fullest. Why not? After all, my twenties were hard! I went to nursing school and graduated, got married (not necessarily in that order), started a new career, moved (twice!!), lost loved ones to physical death, had a baby....and so much more. My twenties were just a "starter" decade.

Now I'm on to the good stuff. First of all...the baby is grown up and moving on to begin her 2nd decade on this earth, she'll be ten in October. So life there is easier...for now, lol. I have an amazing kid. My marriage is strong and beautiful and ordained by God and that makes life so grand! We are at a good place in life. My relationship with God is amazing. Words cannot describe where I am at in my walk with God. There is ALWAYS room for improvement and I continually strive to please Him more each day...that being said, I am so in love with my Creator and I cherish our relationship.

We have our daily struggles and our bumps in the road, no doubt about it. But my thirties are fantastic thus far and I look forward to all this decade has to bring. I'm not wearing rose colored glasses by any means, I know life won't always be this grand, but I choose to take this blog, this day and praise God for all He is in my life. I praise Him because He's brought me so far. I praise Him because He will continue to be with me and guide me. When He is for me, no on can be against me. I know there will be more bumps in the road ahead and I know life will be hard at times...but looking back on what we've been through and how God has worked, I can't help but feel optimistic knowing He is in all things...He knows every hair on my head, and I know He has great plans for me (Jer 29:11).

Praise God...Happy Birthday to me...32 isn't too far!

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

When I Am Weak...

I know I've talked a lot about my spiritual journey with God before my trip to Haiti ever happened...I've said a lot without giving details. It's still hard to speak of. As soon as I answered God's call to serve in Haiti...satan began his attack. He attacked in the most personal way he whispering lies in my ear. He held the same line of fire the entire couple of weeks...thankfully, God is bigger. Thankfully, God has dominion over my heart and mind...not Satan. I'll get more into what he was lying to me about another time. The biggest thing to know is this...satan is the great deceiver. He will tell you anything to attempt to separate you from God's will. Luckily nothing can separate us from the love of God. What a blessing! It's easy to sit on the outside and say "but those are just lies of Satan, you know better"...when it's a real situation in your life, it's different. What happened in the insuing days was nothing short of glorious and wonderful and painful and hard. God took me to a place I had never been. He required things of me that I've never managed to accomplish before in my walk with Him. It was a time of completely melting me down to the point of being completely reliant on Him...on the Holy Spirit and the comfort He brings us. When we are at our weakest point, He can then mold us to His likeness and fill us with His strength. Then He began this glorious rebuilding process that is still ongoing and I hope never stops. I finally understand...fully comprehend...what it means when ones says "where there is light, darkness cannot be found". When I am fully consumed by God, the Holy Spirit, His continual prayer and surrounding myself with people of like mind and possibilities are endless because there is no darkness to be found. My purpose in going to Haiti is still being revealed to me...and I am excited what God has in store (a little scared too! His will can be overwhelming at times!).

Satan is a power that dark..evil...scary...but the victory over him has already been won by One far more powerful and all knowing. His darkness still stries to creep in...but with God's strength, it will not overcome the Light within me!

Sunday, March 7, 2010

I've been home for a couple of days now. Still trying to catch up on sleep! I've had some time to digest and process some of what I experienced. I think, while I was there, it was hard to process. You just dealt with situations and people as it all happened and pushed the emotion of it back until later (except when we got that baby breathing and crying, I cried for sure then!). People keep asking me how my trip was. It's hard to say, it's impossible to put into words. Our experiences were not just limited to hospital experiences. We got to somewhat experience everyday life with the Haitians...through our travels and through our relationships with patients. It's tough. It's overwhelming. It's sad. The spirit of these people is great. They are hard pressed but not in despair. They just keep pushing on. In situations where I think I would crumble, they just keep going. God gives them strength (as I'm sure He would to me to, had it been me in that situation). There is so much to be done, you just can't wrap your mind around it all. Who knows the best place to start? All I know is that I can only do what I can do. God will take care of the rest. Know trip to Haiti was not a choice I made. God called me to it. I am simply a flawed vessel. I just loved my brothers and sisters that were created in the same image I was. What an honor and a privilege to have the opportunity to do that. God's love overwhelms me. I don't know why He chose me to get to do this, but I am so thankful. God is so much bigger than all the problems in Haiti...and I am so humbled that He allowed me to love these people with His love and compassion while I was there. Many folks in Haiti worship the same Jesus that I do...and for that I am thankful and I pray for their strength. Many are consumed by evil...many are caught in between, and for them I pray for Christ to be made real and evident and for their transformation. It just has to start with one, and it can snowball from there. Will I go back? Maybe. But a part of my heart is still in Haiti and will remain there.

Friday, March 5, 2010

Praise God above, we are home. I have to say, mission trips like that don't come along very often. It was wonderful, it was sad, it was funny, it was depressing and it was eye opening. It affected me in such a profound way that I cannot even begin to put into words. From the journey that God took me on before the trip ever began to the trip itself and our journey home, well, it would take a book to get it all in! For now, I can just say, God is good. All the time and in all situations. He is amazing in every way, He is beautiful in every way and I pray that with our work in Haiti, His light shined through us. His light is so needed in such a dark place. With mass graves in one place...and hundreds, if not thousands, of bodies still buried underneath the rubble, life still goes on in Haiti. Grieving continues, but is starting to be coupled with thanksgiving for what they do have. Some still have nothing...and as oxymoronic (is that a word???) as it sounds, some have less than nothing? Is that possible? In Haiti it is.

I'll post more...but I want to leave you with something sweet to look at. In the midst of all the despair and void...God still brings happiness to the people of Haiti. Take a look at the pics...more later (after my 36 hour nap...)

Thursday, March 4, 2010

So I'm really bummed, my post didn't come through from last night. I had a great one too. It was our final day at the Community Hospital...we were just to be tying up loose ends, closing down triage, inventory, etc...not so! We ended up helping take out two x-fixes (pins and plates to hold bones together to fuse them before casting). Our ortho docs are great and love to teach, so it was a great learning process. We checked on our malaria/yellow fever lady on the unit and she was doing better...honestly, we didn't know if she would make it on Tuesday when she arrived to us from a nearby village.

The first x-fix we removed was from a man's times. Big ol shot of morphine and here we go...that was my contribution, that and dressings. But it was cool to watch. Then myself and another doc went to another patient's room, more morphine and on to the procedure room (a black tarped 6x10 space, just enough room for a couple of people and a massage bed, or procedure table). This time the pins were removed from a leg. This poor guy was pitiful and constantly asked for "anesthesia". Hate to tell ya pal, morphine is it! So to calm his nerves myself and another nurse sang Amazing Grace to him...not sure if we were trying to calm his nerves or make him take his mind off the leg pain and focus on the ear pain from our singing, but I think it helped!

After our morning at the hospital we moved on to a tour of Port Au Prince. Not sure how to put that one into words yet.

I'm going to try to post pics of the baby in the truck I posted about a few days ago...if not tonight, then when I return to the states :)

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

So I kind of left out my Monday here goes. Monday was good. 5am is getting harder by the day! I hear we had a slight tremor last night, but my tired butt slept right through it. From what I understand they are quite common, but put the folks around here in a state of mass confusion. One day last week they had a 6.5 aftershock and said when they got to the hospital, they had to coax the patients back into the hospital, it took over 2 hours. My heart breaks for these people that are living in fear from day to day.

Monday was more of the same. Some seriously sick folks, some not so much. We mix meds with the water from our own water bottles, because the hospital water simply isn't drinkable. We give our sick patients our water, because there is no more. I had an asthmatic come in today in severe distress. I'm sure the walk up the side of the mountain to get to the hospital didn't help any. His family said he'd been having these attacks since the earthquake. I started a neb and got his vitals, not pretty! But finally after 4, count em 4 nebs with albuterol (it's all we had!), 60mg of prednisone, 80mg of solu medrol IM and some puffs on an inhaler, the guy was still wheezing and pitiful. We sent him home with prenisone and's all we could do!

The ride back home is always interesting...goats on fences, chewing on whatever they can find, children walking down the road, shoeless and carrying machetes, tent cities as far as the eye can see. And these are no Colemans...they are cardboard, tarps, tin...whatever they can get their hands on.

So Tuesday was uneventful until 6 people were bused in from a nearby town, Cabaret. One of our outlying mobile clinics brought them in. Probably malaria and yellow fever, I was told when our doc in charge called me. So we got our supplies ready...and they arrived an hour and a half later. Tired, feverish and pitiful. We tried to send 3 to the hospital ER (they were the lesser of the sick...diarrhea, malaria), but they refused to see them. Not sure what they'll do tomorrow when it's ALL turned over to them! So we treated them and sent 5 of the 6 was admitted and I had the pleasure of helping carry all 70lbs of the 27 year old emaciated woman down the hall to her room - on a green army stretcher. Not sure if she'll make it, but at least she's on a soft bed tonight.

Last but not least, the highlight of my day...helping fish a pebble out of a 2 year old little boy's nose. Fun times, fun times, fun times. Right up my area of expertise!!

More tomorrow...last day of work. We'll tour Port Au Prince tomorrow afternoon as well...looking forward to my bed at home, a hot shower and my family (not necessarily in that order!)!

Monday, March 1, 2010

Sorry...internet was down last night, so here's my latest...will do some more later hopefully!

Sunday was great...we started out a little early with a worship service at 6:30, our bus was a little late. It had returned to the Dominican Republic (the DR, we call it) the day before for maintenance, however it got hung up at the border and the Haitian officials wouldn't let him cross back in. They made him wait until 6am Sunday morning to cross the border, leaving us with no bus until 8am. So we made the most of our time! Worship was wonderful, I love my good ol, unashamed, Bible loving, God worshiping friends.

We loaded the bus finally and, well, it wouldn't start. The battery looked like it had been around for a few years and had seen better days...our lovely new doc that arrived on Saturday fixed it for us and off we went.

The sites we see on the way, well, I'll just have to post pics later. It's amazing. Folks roaming the streets, goats, cows, pigs, you name it, it's out there. Displaying their wares and hanging out. Not really sure what they do, but they are all there. A lot of them don't sleep inside of structures, even if they have a home...they are scared. I can't say that I blame them. We are about 25 kilometers from the epicenter and destruction is bad. We go into Port Au Prince on Wednesday, so I'll blog about that later.

We got to the triage late and jumped right in...only to find out triage is "closed" on Sunday. Well, the chairs were full when we got there. An hour into it a little boy comes in with his daddy. The little boy had gotten his finger caught in a door and part of it was severed. Our new doc to the rescue again...he sutured the finger, we quieted the two year old with a sucker and all was well. Doc says the feeling in his finger should be okay, so that's good. It was nasty!

An hour later, we were hopping busy when young man came in yelling, emergency, emergency, lady in the parking lot having a baby! One nurse grabbed gloves as we ran out the door. Myself and a translator (a necessary in this country!) got there first...the baby had already arrived. It was not good. Mommy was not good. As I climbed into the back of the truck my first thought was, oh crap, not good. I can't do this. We assessed the situation, cut the cord, got baby suctioned (in the most rudimentary way I've ever seen) and got him inside. Mommy was touch and go as was baby for a while, but both were great when we left and Mommy was walking around by the time we left! Neat!

All in all a great day... God is good, He is always faithful and He equips us for what we need. My cousin quoted a statement to me before I left..."God doesn't send those He equips, He equips those He sends" I like that. More later....