Friday, 12 January 2018

A day to remember

Just saying '12th January' to anyone in Haiti immediately brings the earthquake to their minds.  Everyone is connected in someway to that date and  today marks 8 years since that awful day.

The statistics will never be accurate, but it is estimated that over 250,000 people lost their lives that day and over 300,000 people were injured.  I had the privilege of working with probably around 300 people over the year who were injured on the 12th January.  It was my job to get them out of bed, teach them to walk again, show them exercises about how to move their arm again or to just pray with them as their mind tried to comprehend what had happened. 

I just want to take some time to remember some of my patients and their stories today. 

Yveline, lost her husband and child while they were all in the house together.  She dislocated her shoulder and shattered her elbow.  She really struggled during her time in Milot and broke down almost weekly.  Slowly but surely she improved, not only physically but emotionally.  Through the help of Mercy Inc we were able to find her a place to live and set her up with a small business when she was discharged from hospital.

These three little ones who just got up and got on with it.  Everyday the girls got up, put on their prosthetic leg and just played.  The kids were so good at lifting the mood and just making everyone smile.  Many of the kids I treated had no idea where their parents were. 

This is Dove, Dove's leg was amputated really high up and no one thought she would be able to walk with a prosthesis.  But she proved everyone wrong and she did it!!

Stephanie came to see me in Bethesda, carried in by our security guard because she could not put her feet on the ground.  She had been trapped under rubble for days before anyone found her.  She was in a lot of pain and her legs were so sensitive to even touch.  I had no idea how to help her.  But I did what I thought would work and after 2 months her pain was gone and she was walking normally. 

Joseph was probably the strongest and most courageous of our patients.  He learned to transfer himself almost immediately and when it came time to take those first few steps with his new legs he was more than ready.  He was the first of our double leg amputees to walk with a stick and to get up and down off the floor by himself.  

Every afternoon around 3pm the girls in one of the tents would come together to worship and sing hymns.  I would be working on someone's back or doing exercises with a patient listening to them praising God.  After all they had been through, here they were sitting in a tent far far away from Port, having lost their homes, families, jobs and even limbs yet looking to the Lord for strength and having an overwhelming sense of thankfulness that they were alive. 

And a little miracle.  Julieanna's mum was 12 weeks pregnant when she was trapped under rubble for days. She lost her leg and her baby should not have survived, but she did.  Six months later she gave birth to a healthy baby girl, Julieanna! I am wondering if she knows she is named after a physio from NI and an X ray tech from Oregon! 

These people showed great strength and great courage and I often wonder where they are today.  So today, 8 years later I am thinking about them and praying for them. 

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