Thursday, 25 March 2010

Physio works after all

Today was one of those days when I love being a physio (I don't very many of them!!). I have been out at Milot and working in the clinic. There is also another physio here from home, Heather she arrived last Monday and she is here for 3 weeks, it is very nice to have someone from Northern Ireland here.
Anyway I was so tired today on the way out to Milot, its like an hour and a half drive and I'm driving and to drive in Haiti you have to concentrate....alot. To be honest I felt way too tired to do any work. So I went over to the paeds building first cos I knew that would give me some motivation to work and wake me up a little.


After that I went over to the main tents and I stopped to talk with a guy who I always say hi to. I had spoken to him and his friend the first day I was there, both of them had become christians after the earthquake. So when I go I always pop my head in and say hi. Today he called me in and I said how are you? He said I'm not happy with you. Im like oh why? He said you always come and say hi but you haven't prayed with me again, so I did. Then a few more people came over and said Julie will you come and pray with me.

Its been great to go to Milot and see an improvement in the patients, so many of the teams are just in for a week. We got to do a couple of exciting things today. Heather and I got out the PAM aid. Its a physio thing you use for amputees to prepare them for prothesis. Today we got up 2 people who were double amputees, we put the PAM aid on one of their stumps and got them up stand with a frame and us helping. This is only the second time they have been able to stand since the earthquake, it was so cool to be able give them that opportunity.
The PAM aid.

But the best bit was when we went round to the paeds building and there are a couple of amputees there, so we took it round. At first the looked at it as if what is that and there is no way I am going to use it. But I explained and told them it wouldn't be sore so lets try it. So we tried it on 2 girls, there are a couple more but they are too wee for it. This is the first time they had tried and it been able to 'walk',before they have been hopping about on crutches. Honestly the look on their faces was brilliant, if I ever have enjoyed being a physio it
was today 


A terrible photo of Heather and me but I hope you can see the look on the patients face, it was great.

That all was actually yesterday but being a physio today was good aswell. I discharged my first patient from the clinic. It was Anicee the guy who was in the earthquake and lost all movement in his hand and wrist, Pastor Lucner's brother. He has full movement back in his whole arm and it is nice and strong so he doesn't need me anymore. I still sort of can't believe it, 6 weeks ago he had no movement at all in his hand. I did have another patient a wee lady who had a stroke just 4 weeks ago. I really praise God I worked in the stroke ward in the royal for that short time because I have seen alot of strokes here and I really wouldn't know what to do if I hadn't have worked there. So this wee lady is now walking and today was the first time she got movement in her hand and you should have heard her husband it was brilliant. Really physio shouldn't be working that quickly, she is only coming to me once a week, its just impossible to ask them to get a tap tap with someone who cannot walk and bring them here everyday, so Im teaching the family and they are doing all the physio at home. And they are doing a great job!

Although you never get away from suffering in Haiti, even among all the good stories of people getting better there is always people you wish you could do more for. The last patient I saw today was a wee girl who was 2years and 4 months. Her mum brought her in and here is her story. Her mum has lost 4 babies all when she was 6 or 7 months pregnant, the girl she has now was born at 7 months in the hospital in town. Her name is Ashkala. She was fine after she was born and developed normally, then 9 months ago she had a seizure and was taken to hospital. Since then she cannot move at all, cannot hold her head up, she cannot talk and cannot eat very well at all. Her mum came because she heard we have someone in our clinic who works with children who are like that. After a few minutes talking to her I noticed Ashkala was seizing and I asked does she do this alot, her mum replied all day and all night. During the 40 minutes she was with me, she has 3 small seizures. After chatting with her I found out she is supposed to be on medicine to control the seizures but her mum does not have any money for it. Here she is a lady is in her 30's, lost 4 babies already, her husband is very sick and she looks after him aswell as her sick child. There is no possible way she can work. I told her the most important thing she can do right now, today is get the medicine to control the seizures but she just doesn't have it.

I give her money for today's perscription, I really don't like giving people money directly but I had to. I explained I cannot do that everytime because I won't be here forever, we need to figure out a way she can make money to buy the medicine. Only after the seizures are under control can we start with some physio.

Then this is what she said to me 'I know what I need to do and only God can help me, no-one else. I used to be a christian, used to walk with God but I lost my way,  I lost 4 babies then God gave me one. And when she got sick I began to pray again, I began to walk with God again because I KNOW God can do everything. He can do much more then any man can do for me if it is his will he can heal her. I am trusting in him to help me.'

I was just blown away, alot of people would more than likely question God...why the only child she has had to get sick  like that. Yet it was that which caused her to come back to God. And she firmly believes nothing is impossible with God. Please pray for her and for me as we try to figure out what is the best thing to do to help her.


Luke ch 1 v 37
For nothing will be impossible with God.

Wednesday, 17 March 2010

Help needed!!

I have a couple of things to write about. Ive been working out in Milot 3 days a week and 3 days a week in our clinic then sundays off! Im glad taking a day or rest is a commandment!!right now the big big need is at Milot. They have 279 patients and nearly every single one needs physio, today we had 5 physio's which was way more than ever but still 5 physio's for 270 patients is not alot. If you know any physio's or if you are a physio and would like to come out to work, it doesn't matter how much experience you have or even if you don't have any. We just really really need physio's and will do for the next few months. Please email me if you have any questions or are interested in anyway at all. If your not a physio please pray for some more to come!



Also our clinic has a brand new Ultrasound machine which has been donated, which is wonderful because they are so expensive and it has been donated but no one here knows how to use it. So it is just lying in the clinic not being used. What we need would be someone who knows how to work it, Im not sure if that is a sonographer or a radiographer. I know in the states they call it a sonographer and its highly specalist training apparently. We would be using it for would be antenatal stuff. There is pregnant lady day each Wednesday and if there is any problems there is nothing we can do. So what we would really need is someone who does that and could come for a couple of weeks to train up someone, more than likely Hannah who is an X ray tech or what we call a radiologist. Even if its only the basics. Again email me if you know anyone who would be interested. I'll find out the machine and take a few photo's of it and post them up here.

So if your not medical maybe you think you can't do anything. One more thing I'm asking for is prayer for a we girl Ive been talking to out in milot. Her name is Sterlina, she is 14 actually I wrote about her in the last post. She lost her mum & dad is the earthquake and she literally has no-one else in the world, no other family. The first day I met her she was in great form and seemed to be coping with what was happening.But the past few times Ive been back she's been lying in bed saying her head is sore and doesn't want to get up. I have been talking with her asking what is wrong. She is just not coping with what has happened, she doesn't know where she will go, actually she doesn't need to still be in hospital but she has no where else to go. They have told her more than likely she will go to a orphanage but she does not want to. Ive been chatting to her and praying with her, she is a christian but just really having a hard time. And because of Haitian culture other people tell her to stop crying when she does, culturally they can only cry for a short time after something sad has happened after that its not acceptable at all. She really needs people to pray for her, for strength and peace about the future. And mostly to help her grieve and be able to heal.


Sterlina is the little girl beside me

Although today was so cute, they took all the kids on a wee parade down to where all the adults are, all the patients were outside waiting for them. Some walked, some hopped on crutches, some in wheelchairs and one wee girl who is so cute was carried on her bed like the queen!They were singing for everyone, it was lovely. Here's some photo's of them





Monday, 8 March 2010

Milot hospital

I spent all day Saturday out at Milot hospital. Its about an hour and 45 minute drive from here and basically all their patients right now are being flown in from Port by helicopter everyday. I really don't like telling alot of really sad stories but unfortunatley that is a reality in Haiti, even more so now after the earthquake. And I know they are awful and you will probably be sad after reading this, but Im telling you for the reality of life in Haiti and to urge you to pray. I cannot see anything else that will help these people except the Lord.


Milot is normally a pretty small hospital (Im not sure how many beds) but its a good hopsital and if we have anyone really sick at our clinic then we advise them to go to Milot. Right now the 'wards' are outside in 6 big army like tents. Part of the reason why they are in tents is because the hospital simply doesn't have enough room the other reason is so many of these people are still so scared to go inside any sort of building. Like today all the patients were being moved from tent 6 into either tent 1 or a building because the tent has no floor making it difficult for patients who were using crutches and other walking aids and making physio very hard. One of the nurses made the annoucement and immediatley nearly everyone shouted 'Im going to tent 1', the idea of being inside a building is just a very scary thing for people. Each tent has around 40-50 patients, they also have an ICU inside. They have been doing alot of spinal and orthopaedic surgery. Its amazing actually there are teams of people coming in from all over the world, all working together. Teams come and go for a couple of weeks at a time. After so much surgery there is alot of patients who need rehab, there was lots of orthopaedics, amputees and spinal cord injuries.....much needed physiotherapy patients!

Here are a few people and their stories how they got to where they are today.

This is Yueline she is just 32. She was in her house when the earthquake hit along with her husband and her child. She lost both her husband and her child. She lay under her house for two days before she was found and taken to hospital. Then a couple of weeks later was transferred up to Milot by helicpoter. The only injuries she sustained where a fracture dislocation of her right shoulder and a shattered elbow. Both have been fixed by surgery. I was doing some physio with her and getting her up on her feet. I also got a chance to just talk with her, being able to speak and listen to Creole is a real blessing it makes things much easier. Yueline was telling me she really has no-one, both her parents are dead and now her own family is dead. She still cannot sleep well, maybe each night she sleeps for a few hours. She doesn't cry anymore but everything is still going round in her head. She is a christian and was before the earthquake. I got to pray with her and at one point I prayed 'God we know she doesn't have anyone, or a house or a job but we know when you have God you have everything.' and it was the only bit that I prayed that she said Amen to. What a testimoney, how easy would it be for her to question God, to turn her back on him. I expected her to 'amen' to the part when I was praying that God would help her, give her comfort, give her strength. But the bit she agreed with was if she has only God then she has everything. Please pray for her, she really has no where to go after she is discharged and no one to go to. Also for her to somehow to be able to grieve and deal with what she has experienced.

I wish I had written down these girls names cos now I forget them. I was over in the children's ward, it was very cute. For some reason everywhere I go people know my name (well today I did have a name tag on!) so lots of kids were shouting julie come and talk to me. I went over to these two girls, they were so cute but such sad stories but you would never ever know by how they appear, they were so happy and giggling. The girl on the left is 14, she was in her house during the earthquake as was her mum, dad and I think one sister and they all died. She tried to run out and on the way a block fell on her left foot which she then had to get amputated. Now she is in Milot with no family and just making friends around her. Her wee friend is 12, she was at her auntie's house during the earthquake and I think maybe her cousin. Actually she described exactly where she was, she was lying with her head on her aunties tummy. Both her auntie and her cousin died, she miraculously just hurt her wrist a little. She was trapped in the house until it was dark the night of the earthquake and was calling for help when someone came to get her. Both the girls are christians and are thankful to God for still being alive, by reading their stories they shouldn't be. Everyone else who was in both their houses were killed yet they survived without even life threatening injuries.




Some of the kids in the childrens ward

In the middle of all the sad stories and injury, in one of the tents I was working in, it was a girls birthday. Her friend stood up and got everyone to be quiet so they could celebrate her birthday. Her friend said were going to sing, then recite Psalm 23 then pray and after that we'll sing Happy Birthday and that we did. I can't imagine that happening anywhere else in the world. A whole tent full of people who have just lived through an earthquake, been injured, lost their house and lost members of their family but singing How Great Thou Art, Then reciting Psalm 23. For those of you who don't know here is it

O Lord my God when I in awesome wonder consider all the works thy hand hath made,
I see the stars, I hear the mighty thunder, thy power throughout the universe displayed

Then sings my soul, my Saviour God to Thee, How great thou art, How great thou art

Psalm 23
The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want
He makes me lie down in green pastures,
He leads me beside still waters
He retsores my soul, my cup overflows.
He leads me in paths of righteousness for his names sake
Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death
I will fear no evil
You are with me, your rod and your staff they comfort me
You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies,
you annoint my head with oil, my cup overflows
Surely goodness and mercy will follow me all the days of my life and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.

After that a couple of people prayed and then we sung happy birthday, it was lovely.
Here's some more photo's of the day.
Birthday girl in the middle


sorry this post was so long!!

Friday, 5 March 2010

Preparation, Praise and Prayer

I was just thinking today its amazing how God prepares you for things. Just a couple of examples, I worked in 3 different hopsitals in the year and a half I was home. The last one was the royal on the stroke ward for just 4 months, and out of that I was off nearly 3 weeks getting my tonsils out. At the time it seemed almost like there was no point in starting somewhere new for such a short time. But before that I really did not know much about treating someone who has had a stroke. Now Im in Haiti, Im treating quite a few and I feel like I actually know what to do and only because of that short time I worked in the royal. And the girls there (Thank you Emer and Jenny) taught me everything I know!If it wasn't for them I would not be able to treat my patients who have had strokes here!One thing that is difficult though is trying to explain what a stroke is and how is affects a person...all in Creole!


Cap Haitian Haiti
 
Then in school from 1st to 5th year we had to do french. I can't say I ever enjoyed french class (apart from French orals especially when one of friends told our teacher her granda wears a skirt....definatley a language mistake!) but thanks to Mrs steele I did actually learn some french and it has helped me when learning creole. French and Creole are so closley related (thank goodness Creole is much easier) and knowing french before I came and learning it at school has really helped me learn Creole here in Haiti.

 
At home Im always complaining Im cold....frequently my mum says 'you have no blood in you, your always cold!' Yet look God has called me to the Carribean where it is hot all the time (although today and yesterday was cold, there was no sunshine and I had a hoodie on all day). I have no difficulty coping with the heat because I love it.

When it rains, it really rains alot!
 
One last thing which may seem a little silly, at home there are 5 of us, along with 3 dogs, 4 cats and when I was younger a rabbit, a guinea pig, a hamster and probably a couple of goldfish. Mum is a childminder so there are always kids there to. What Im trying to say is our house is always busy, very rarely would I be in  the house by myself. Then at uni for one year there were 7 of us in a house, then the last 2 years 5 of us shared a house. So Im used to there being a lot of people in my house and it being busy and I really like that. Then I came to Haiti and there was just 3 of us in our wee house with no cats or dogs (although alot of gecko's about and occassionally rats.....thats not fun at all!) and I found it hard to get used to the house being so quiet. When I got home, I lived with just one other friend apart from all the wild parties we had (thats how I get the nickname granny briggs) it was pretty quiet. I think part of that was God preparing me for coming back to Haiti and living in a quiet wee house.


My house
 
I know many of you are praying and I appreciate that alot so here are some specific things to pray about
PRAISE
  • For the people who are still becoming christians in Port, 2 of our missionaries were down this week and 30 more people got saved this week.
  • For how God is working here in Haiti and changing the country
  • For our mission family
  • For the patients Ive been able to help so far in the clinic
  • One thing Ive been thinking about is the privilege it is to be called a child of God. Thank God for that.

PRAYERS

  • Continue to pray for people who have lost family & friends in Port
  • For families who have lost everything and are trying to rebuild their lives again
  • For more patients in the clinic
  • For myself for emotional strength. It can be overwhelming at times to hear and see people suffering everyday and not be able to help.
  • Continue to remember Rosette and Carlos, that the Lord will heal her and she will be able to work again
  • For our mission family feeling stressed, burnt out and need God's strength.  

Monday, 1 March 2010

Blanc!

One of the taxing things about being a missionary in Haiti is that one of the only places to get away from the compound, from living behind the wall is to go to the beach!!I am definately not complaining about that!On Saturday a few of us had a lovely day at the beach, when your there you almost forget your in Haiti. At the beach you cannot see the poverty, you cannot see the hurt people have, you cannot see how difficult life is. You just see the beauty of God's creation and enjoy it. Haiti really is a beautiful country.


Funny story actually, In Haiti as a white person obviously you stand out. And if you walk anywhere or drive anywhere you will always get shouted at 'blanc' (white person) especially by the kids. Well yesterday we were driving home from the beach and a tap tap full of Haitians drove past and the next thing they were taking photos of us!Normally you get a truck full of 'blancs' trying to take photos of Haitians in tap tap yet here they were taking photos of the blancs riding in the back of a truck. It was funny.

A tap tap
Last week in the clinic, this wee girl, she must have been about 3 just, waved over at me very excitedly, I thought maybe I knew her but couldn't see properly without my glasses the next thing I knew she came over. I didn't know her so I said hello, how are you?She said hello then stroked my face and ran away giggling. Turns out she was just excited at seeing a white person and I am whiter than your average white person!!



Then tonight in church  two wee girls came and sat beside me, after a wee while one of them poked me and said about her friend she said she loves you!(Im thinking to myself Ive only just met you) so I said do you know my name, no she said. So we exchanged names and then she wanted to know where I lived, that was it but she still loved me!!

Some photo's from the beach.(not to make you jealous!!)

Cap Haitian