Tuesday, 17 October 2017

A day in the life...

The latest update from Bethesda...

A day in the life

Imagine you live in Haiti and you need to go to the doctor, friends have told you that Bethesda is good, that you will find the help you need there, but you need to go early.  So, the next day you get up around 4am to get ready, its dark so you light your kerosene lamp.  Once you're ready you walk to the main road to find a tap tap or a motorbike that will drive you to Bethesda.

 You arrive around 5am and get a ticket from the security guard, you are number 14 which means there are 13 people who arrived before you.  Now you have your place but the staff don't start work until close to 8am, so you wait. 
Once the staff arrive, you hand in your ticket and the staff will look for your dossier (chart). But, for you, this is your first time so the staff create a new dossier for you. 
Then, at 8am Pastor Exalus leads devotions for all the patients, by now there are almost 100 patients waiting to be seen. This devotion time includes a prayer, a song and a message from the bible.  After devotions one of the nurses stands up to give an education session on Tuberculosis.  After hearing what she says,  you begin thinking of people you know who cough a lot, maybe you should tell them to come here...

After devotions you line up to pay, a general consultation including lab work and medicine cost 700gds. ($12 US).  This is a lot of money for you but you really need to see a doctor.  
After payment, the next stop is vital signs where you are weighed, your blood pressure and temperature are taken.
From there you wait until your name is called, then you are seen by one of the four consulting staff: Dr Rodney, Ms Ketlye, Ms Prudence or Ms Jackie.

Once your initial consultation is finished you are sent to the lab for tests.  At the lab you are instructed to give a urine sample and you will need a blood test.  Once you have had the appropriate tests done its time to wait for the results.
You wait and by now your tired and hungry.  There are ladies selling food and drinks at the front of Bethesda, its 100gds ($1.60)  for food and 25gds ($.40) for a drink.  Your not sure if you can afford that after spending 700gds on coming to the clinic.
But then your name is called and you go and see the doctor or nurse who did your initial consultation.  You are told what is wrong and what you need to do to get better.  Then you're sent to the pharmacy to pick up your medicine.

By now its early afternoon, you are tired and ready to go home, it's been a long day. But you're happy that you were able to see the doctor, get your test results and medicine to treat what is wrong with you.  On top of that you learnt important information about Tuberculosis and you were encouraged from God's word...all in one day.  

Fundraising November

November is a month of special fundraising for Bethesda.  If you would be willing and able to hold a fundraiser for BMC please get in touch with us.  We will give you all the information and promotional material you need.

Our biggest project right now is to purchase and install a new digital X ray system.  We also need extra funds for the maternity clinic, malnutrition fund, medicine and our general fund which covers day to day expenses.
Perhaps your not able to hold a fundraiser, would you prayerfully consider giving a special gift towards Bethesda Medical Center in November?  All of your support no matter how big or small helps us provide medical and spiritual care to the people of Haiti.

Sunday, 8 October 2017

Career orientated

Anyone who knows me well will know I am not career orientated.  Going to uni to become a physio was mostly to fill in time until I got married and had a family.  Don't get me wrong I like being a physio, I like helping people get better but I definitely don't want to do that until I'm 65 or 67 or whatever the retirement age is now.

I remember being at a pilates course and one of the other physios on the course was sharing with the group about listening to a podcast about rehabilitation of hamstring tears.  Everyone in the room was extremely interested in what she was talking about, then other people started talking about different podcasts they listen to.  The whole time I was thinking I don't have enough time or desire to listen to podcasts about physio!

Saying all of that when I am at work I try my very best to get people better, but when I am not at work I don't think about it.  I'm not listening to podcasts, or reading articles or doing research, I'm at home looking after the boys.

But last week the importance of physiotherapy was highlighted to me...I got a man up to walk for the first time in a year.  He had a stroke a year ago and had regained some good movement but had never been prepared for walking. So over the past month I've been working on preparing him for walking and on Friday he walked for the first time in a year.


Little Yvelinda, who first came to me in January with probable CP, uncontrollable dribbling, unable to old her head up or talk is now holding her head up well, rolling over and sitting for a few minutes on her own.  Her dribbling has almost stopped and she is starting to talk.

She came a couple of weeks ago with a skin infection...that's another story.

Little miracles happening in my very hot little room everytime I'm there.  We want to see more of those little miracles and that is why we are building this new therapy room.  We are so close to finishing, all the outside is done next we need to do the electrics, tile the floor, paint and add the windows and doors.  But our funding has run out so were stuck.  Please pray with us for the rest of this funding to come in and if you feel led to give please email me and I will explain the best and quickest way to give.

I have so many plans for this building which you can read about here and we have a PT team coming the first week in January and really need the space for the things we have planned.





Also, I learnt a lesson about faith this past week, on Monday I arrived in my room and my books were spread out over the plinth but my folder of notes along with my diary and some blank paper were gone.  This meant starting all my assessments again and not knowing what treatments I had already done with patients.

It was quite strange how my stuff was laid out when I arrived on Monday. 

 I shared this on Wednesday in prayer meeting and Danni prayed that everything would be returned. I was thinking there is no way, who would steal something then when they didn't find any money there, make the effort to return it.

Yet I was proved wrong, on Friday Dr Rodney came to my room with my folder of notes, my diary and the blank paper.  Someone had found them in the patients toilet.  O ye of little faith.  I didn't really believe that God could do that, but he did.

So were praying and believing that God will provide the rest of the funds to complete this project.  Will you pray with us?

Luke 1 v37 
For nothing will be impossible with God 



Sunday, 1 October 2017

Being stretched

I've been working with a little girl called Lanouska since January of this year.  She is now 13 and has a very complicated history...like most medical histories in Haiti.  Until she was 11 she was able to walk, not completely normal but mobile then one day she fell after school and hasn't walked since.



I have been going to her house to treat her every Friday we have been working on getting her stronger and being able to stand.  She has weakness and neurological issues in both her arms and her legs.  Having never worked in neuros or paediatrics I feel way out of my depth but she has definitely made progress since January.  After a few months I was able to get her standing with two people helping her.  Then Phil built me a standing frame for her which we have been using so she can learn to stand independently and she continues to improve. 




I have been trying for months to get her a decent wheelchair so she can go out and maybe even go to school.  Finally and thankfully  I was able to get one from the walkabout foundation and I delivered it to her last Friday.  She was very pleased and even able to push herself a little which I was not expecting because of her arm weakness.  This chair will keep her in a much better position and give her a little independence.




The issue now is the closest school won't accept her, shes 13 and with missing a couple of grades of school because of financial difficulties, then missing again after her fall she is now only in 3rd grade so she would in be in with the 8 year olds.  Not only that she would need someone with her to push her chair and take her to the toilet.  So school is not working out.  The family have talked about paying someone to come to the house but they just don't have the money. 

This is a very difficult situation, not knowing what is wrong with Lanouska makes her difficult to treat.  I am sure her family is putting on their hope on me to help her walk again which I don't know if that is going to happen.  It has also been hard to get her family on board to continue her therapy in between treatment sessions.  I have had lots of opportunities to share the gospel with her family so please continue to pray that God will speak to the family.


The new physio building is so close to being finished and should be done by the end of this month.  We are so thankful to God for his provision for this building.  I am working on getting equipment and other supplies I need so once the building is open we will be ready to go.  My plans for this new building are :

  • To continue to treat patients but have a bigger space to do so
  • To run group classes and education sessions
  • To work with Pastor Exalus and Pastor Daniel to incorporate evangelism and discipleship into these classes
  • To have group treatments sessions for children with neurological diseases so their parents can have a time to talk and support one another
  • When we have visiting PT's and OT's we can use this space as an education room to help develop Haitian PT techs in the area. 
I can't wait for the room to get finished!Dr Rodney continues to amaze me, not only is he a doctor, director of BMC, running the nursing school and teaching there and an elder in the church.  But he drew up the plans for the building and it looks brilliant!






I am still looking for any PT's and OT's to come and work alongside me, especially if they have a specialty.  As far as I am aware, there are no occupational therapists around the Cap Haitian area.  Your role would be to treat patients and educate not only me but other Haitian PT techs in the area.  If you are interested and want to know more please email me.

Meanwhile Bill has been teaching his two residential courses and his translator, Leme, told him 'Bill you don't need me anymore.'  Leme had just been in the room just incase Bill needed him but he is not using him so Bill is now teaching without his translator and is doing fine.  This year EBS is offering weekend courses for people who are working full time and cannot come during the week.  Yesterday was Bill's first weekend class and he will be teaching for the next two Saturdays. 

So were taking it easy this weekend, celebrating Matt's birthday last night and having home church this morning.  I find going to church in Haiti with the boys hard, trying to get them to be quiet and sit for 2 hours takes all my energy so when it comes to listening to the sermon in Creole I barely pick up anything.  Every 6 weeks or so we get together with our neighbours and listen to a sermon online, this morning was Francis Chan on John 21 when Jesus asks Peter, do you love me?  It was great, he challenged us on do we really love God and if we do how does that reflect in our lives.  



Wednesday, 20 September 2017

From one miracle to another

The second session of intensives is over and now residential classes have started.  Over the past two weeks we had...

Dr Charles Lake working with Jodnel teaching Discipleship and Evangelism.



Dr Steve Tsoukalas teaching Philosophy for understanding Theology



Dr Don Little teaching Isalm and the christian faith.


It is interesting having all these doctors coming for dinner and listening to their theological discussions (most of which goes right over my head!!) and getting to know them for the little time there are here.  There were travel issues because of Hurricane Irma but we enjoyed having Charles for a few extra days!

Bill has his first class this morning teaching  Old Testament wisdom literature and then on Friday he teaches Introduction to the New Testament.


My routine feels a lot more manageable than last year!With Sam being in school from 8am - 2.30pm means I can work in the clinic the three days he is in school that gives me two days at home with the boys...which is great.



Its always easy to figure out where Sam has been playing...




I was a little worried about Sam being in school for so long especially as he is still only 3 and it was a new teacher. When I picked him up on his first day he said ' Hello, why are you here to get me already?' No need to worry then!!


We've been asking and asking about Withlande (I had previously written Woudislande, that is her sister, you can see how I got confused) and keep being told she isn't too bad and the baby isn't too bad.  I just found this really difficult to believe.  She was so ill, needed 3 pints of blood, miraculously got one and was sent home from the hospital.  How could she be not too bad?
Stacey called in to see her on Sunday and she and the baby are doing great!  The baby is getting bigger, feeding well and looks healthy.  It really is a miracle so thank you to all who prayed.



I'll finish with one more miracle from one of my patients last week.  This lady first came to see me in August she had suffered from a stroke about 4 weeks before.  She could not walk or stand or move her right arm.  She also didn't understand much of what I was asking her to do and she was neglecting her right side.  I explained to her daughter that because of her lack of understanding that therapy may not work very well for her. 

She came back last week, walked in the door by herself, talking and waving her right arm.  It took me a few minutes to remember so I took out her notes to make sure I was remembering the right person.  I couldn't believe the difference so I asked what happened and when?? Her daughter told me
'last week I had a dream and in the dream I saw my mum walking around the house and talking with no problems at all.  So the next morning I  got up and ran to my mum's house to find her walking and talking and having full understanding. She had been healed.'


They left that day praising God for his goodness and healing in their lives. 


Friday, 8 September 2017

Hurricane Irma part two

Well Irma has been and gone and things did not go as they were forecast to.  All of this week we have been checking the national hurricane centre for updates and every single one put the north coast of Haiti under hurricane warning.  I am sure you have read in the news but this wasn't any old storm,
 Irma was a category 5 hurricane, the strongest one to hit the Caribbean in 100 years.  




We live just east of Cap Haitian right beside the coast.

So on Tuesday we asked you to pray for us and for Haiti.  We asked you to pray that the storm would move north away from Haiti's coastline.  We know of people in Northern Ireland, in Canada and in the US who were praying. And God answered.



Yesterday morning we woke up to a little light rain and wind and were waiting for the storm to start.  Every single website we checked said the North of Haiti should be getting heavy rain and gale force winds.  Throughout the day we had short bursts of wind and heavy rain but by 7pm the rain had stopped and overnight we had a bit of wind.  We have experienced much stronger storms here,  in fact just last Wednesday it rained hard for about 30 mins and a natural river formed over the grass outside our house.  Yesterday with Irma we didn't get any of that.


This is last Wednesday after a heavy downpour...a natural river has formed which the kids took great advantage of!

The grass behind Joel is the same spot after an afternoon of Hurricane Irma...


We do not yet know the effects in the city centre, which floods almost every time we have heavy rain, or further along the coast closer to the DR.  But what we do know is that Haiti did not get the battering which she was expecting.  God had his hand over Haiti yesterday and what we were experiencing was a miracle.

Thank you for your prayers, had hurricane Irma hit Haiti with the force it was predicted to,  I'm sure most of the north coast of Haiti would have been destroyed.

Let us take a moment to say thank you to God for his answer to the prayers of many people.  Let us also continue to pray for those who have been devastated by this hurricane and for those whom it will hit over the next few days.







Tuesday, 5 September 2017

Hurricane Irma

We are asking for your prayers as Hurricane Irma approaches.  If it continues on the predicted path it will cause a lot of destruction here in the North of Haiti.




We are not worried for ourselves, but for our friends, neighbours, colleagues, seminary staff & students.   Many of whom live in houses built with mud and sticks with a tin roof, or a small 2 room block house.  These kind of houses will not withstand a category 5 storm.




Everytime we have a heavy rainfall there is flooding in town.  Along with the flooding comes mudslides and an increase in cholera and malaria. So you can imagine how much damage will come with this storm which is expected to dump 10 inches of rain along with  100mph +  winds.
 



Please pray with us for the path to change.  For protection for the people of Haiti and the other islands which are affected.  We are praying to God to calm the storm as we know he can do.

We will keep you updated as we can, but it is likely we will lose internet as the storm comes.

Thank you for your prayers.



Sunday, 27 August 2017

A God of miracles

Last Saturday we went to see Michilene's daughter, Woudislande, and her brand new baby girl.  She had given birth by emergency c section the Monday before and was sent home from the hospital with no pain killers.  Early on Tuesday morning Michilene phoned me, Woudislande's wound was not looking good, she was still in a lot of pain and they were going back to the hospital.




Later that day we heard that she was severely anemic and urgently needed a blood transfusion but the hospital had no blood, neither did the other major hospital in the north and neither did the red cross. By Thursday there was still no blood and we heard that the problem is that one of the machines which analyses the blood for hepatitis B, is broken.  This is the only machine in the north of Haiti.  Eight people from Michilene's family had been to the hospital the day before to donate blood but because it can't be analysed it is not allowed to be given. 

To be honest the situation looked hopeless, everyone we spoke to said there was nothing she could do but wait.  So here was Woudislande, in critical condition, unable to get out of bed, struggling to feed her new baby just waiting for the only thing that will save her life....the blood transfusion.  

So we did the only thing we could, we prayed.  Woudislande had people from Haiti, Canada, Northern Ireland and America praying for her...praying for a miracle. Imagine that, this young girl from a small village in Haiti which is famous for its voodoo, has probably hundreds of people, from hundreds and thousands of miles away praying for her healing.

And God answered.  Early on Friday evening Elsie (Michilene's sister) phoned, they had found blood and she was getting the transfusion as we spoke.  Literally a miracle.  God provided exactly what she needed, exactly when she needed it. 


Stacey went to see her and the baby today, she is looking much better.

She is not out of the woods yet and is still incredibly weak but she got that life saving treatment which she needed.  Praise the Lord. 

On Friday morning in clinic devotions Dr Rodney was asking for testimony's from the week past.  A story was told of a woman who came to Bethesda, very sick and covered in burns.  She has been ill for a long time and has been going to a witch doctor to get better,  it wasn't working so she decided to come to Bethesda.  The burns are probably a result of whatever the witch doctor was doing and now  she is being treated for TB and is on her way to getting better.  Dr Rodney's question was this ' where do you see God in the story?'



It's easy to see God is Woudislande's story, providing the impossible but do we look for God in the stories when its not that obvious?  In staff meeting on Monday night we were reading Acts ch 1 and discussing if we still see God doing miracles today?  If not, why not? Why is it not as obvious as it was in the early church?

Maybe the problem is we don't look for the miracles, Dr Rodney challenged us to look for God in every situation, see where he is and how he is working. Where do you see God working in your stories and situations today?

Please continue to pray for Woudislande, pray that each and every day she will get a bit stronger and that she will be healed completely.  Pray for Michilene as she spends 24 hours a day at the hospital with no bed and no chair, spending each night sleeping on a sheet, on the floor.  Pray for her baby girl, who is living in a hospital with a very sick mummy who can't possibly be providing all the nourishment that her little body needs. 

Today we are praising God for his hand at work in a seemingly helpless situation and for the body of Christ coming together from different parts of the world to pray for Michilene's family.