Monday, 19 November 2018

Looking for the good

Most of the time living in Haiti its so easy to complain.  There are so many things to complain about...the road, the constant sweating, mosquitoes, being stared at etc etc Anyway this post is supposed to be the opposite of that so I won't complain anymore!

Its been hard adjusting back to life in Haiti and I've had a hard time seeing the positives and where God is working but over this past week I've been looking and want to share a couple stories with you. 

Last Friday we had an old man come in for physio.  He had had a stroke in 2014 and a neighbour told him to come to Bethesda for physio.  We got talking and this man told us his story.  He is from Port au Prince but left come to Cap for a job in 2006 and has not heard from his children since then.  After his stroke he has been unable to work and now a friend gives him somewhere to sleep and other friends give him some food.  He suffers from diabetes and high blood pressure (on Friday his BP was 180/100!) and his feet were incredibly swollen.  He doesn't have the means to go to any doctor so both are uncontrolled.  Altidor and I quickly realised his main problem could not be helped by physio. I spoke to Dr Rodney about his care and he wrote a note that Bethesda would pay for his care.  The next day he returned for a consultation where he received the medicine he needs for both blood pressure and diabetes.  What is even better about this is he can come back every month and get the medicine free of charge.  This is only because of our indigent care fund which enables Bethesda to help those people who are really poor and cannot afford medical treatment.

Afterwards he came back to the physio room to say thank you and told me ' God sent you here just for me to get taken care of, I am really happy today.  God bless you,'

Next was a patient I treated in January.  She had been ill for about 8 months with extreme back pain and leg pain,  gradually loosing strength in her legs and now unable to walk with out a zimmer frame. She is only in her early 40's and had been to many doctors and was now going to a neurologist but was not improving at all.  I only treated her twice before she returned to Port au Prince to keep going to the neurologist.  She came back this week walking independently! I couldn't believe when she walked in.  We asked what happened.  She told us she had been to a neurologist, then a orthopaedic doctor, but neither made any difference. After that she said she 'did another thing' but wouldn't tell us what that was, which usually means she went to a witch doctor.

Later I was taking a full assessment and she repeated about the doctors then she told me she just prayed and prayed and every day she saw people around her getting up and walking.  One day she heard a voice inside saying she could get up and walk so she did.  And from that day she has not used her zimmer frame.

It truly sounded like a miracle but why not tell us what happened in between, what was the 'other thing'? I went home pretty confused.  She went to a witch doctor but then believed God healed her.  How can I sit with her and tell her its really a miracle that she is better but not know the whole story.  I was also quite discouraged.  How do I know if people are telling me the truth or not or are they just telling me what they think I want to hear?

She has been coming back for exercise every couple of days and one of the days it was just her and Altidor and Altidor got the full story.

This patients family had been paying for her medical care and they were fed up spending money when they didn't see her getting any better.  They kept telling her go to the witch doctor, go to the witch doctor, go to the witch doctor.  Finally just to keep them happy she went but she remembered her father always told her to never go.  But when she went she told him I don't believe in anything you do and I will never take anything you give me. I believe that only God has power and only he can heal me.  Needless to say the witch doctor was angry but her family were satisfied she went.  She continued to pray and one day she was listening to a christian radio station and that's when she heard the voice to get up and walk. So she sat on the edge of her bed, held onto the wall and stood and felt good so she took a few steps and felt good.  All the pain she had been experiencing had gone.  She had been healed.

Her legs are still very weak and a little unsteady but her pain is gone, she is able to walk on her own without the help of a zimmer or walking stick.  God has truly healed her.

I am so thankful to be able to work alongside Altidor who helps me so much with language difficulties, explaining exercises to patients and cultural understanding of many many things!

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