Alice Bezil

Monday, September 27, 2010

Alice is a close to 90 year old lady, no one knows exactly. She has been living here my entire 10 weeks and apparently several months before that. She had a right femur fracture which occurred during the earthquake (from what I understand) and she laid on the floor at General Hospital for two months before being transferred to us for surgery.

I don’t have all the dates exactly, so if you know the details please fill them in, but she was operated some time in March or April, and no family had ever been present. Due to her old age she also had a prolapsed uterus and one of the Haitain OBGYN’s had promised her he would do the surgery for free, as she had no family and no money. He’d been promising my entire first month here. Alice was always fussing at me for something. Sometimes it was because I would forget to greet her when I walked by her cot (I’m really bad about that). Sometimes it was just because she wanted money for a soda. But for many weeks it was because she wanted her operation done.

I finally went to the OB one Wednesday, telling him that I didn’t know the details but Alice was claiming he had told her he’d fix her uterus. He simply said, sure, that he’d do it on Friday. As this promise had been made many times before I made sure that she had all the appropriate tests and NPO (don’t eat) orders on her chart. At 3pm on Friday while Alice was yelling at me because she hadn’t eaten all day I went and found the doctor. I asked him if he was going to have time to do her surgery because Alice was getting impatient and was hungry. He said sure, he’d do it now…finally.

Alice has a little dementia, as to be expected at her age. She would fuss at me everyday following her surgery for not letting her go home, never really understanding that there was no where for her to go home to. One of the translator’s even took it upon himself to go where she said her house was a look for her family. They were never found. IOM an NGO that helps Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) find homes and often provides tents looked high and low for somewhere for her to go. They said the area Alice claimed she was from was badly damaged and unsafe to return to.

IOM found a home for the elderly for Alice. I didn’t even know they existed in Haiti. To us it seemed miraculous. But Alice was not interested. We had several fights about it, in which she said she wasn’t going anywhere until her family came. She said I needed to put her in the car and take her to her house…and I considered it. I really did. I wanted her to see for herself that her home had been destroyed and there was nowhere for me to take her.

Jeanty, a translator who had become her caregiver…feeding and bathing and taking her out in her wheelchair was at his wits end. I tried to get him to convince her that the home would be best and at least get her out of the hospital hallway…but she would not have it.

On Monday Ruth, a PT here from the UK here for six months found me saying that someone was packing up Alice’s stuff in the hall. What!?! Apparently a friend had told Alice’s nephew at church that she’d seen her at the Adventist Hospital and she was waiting to go home. Unbelievable.

The nephew came the next day to pick her up. What a celebration it was! Between “I told you sos” Alice was crying and laughing and praising God. “I told you I have lots of family!” she said. I guess she was right.

Alice in her 90 year old, slightly crazy self had been right all along. Her family was out there and just didn’t know where she was. She is home with them now.


is it Sunday..?

Sunday, September 19, 2010
After being almost completely emerged amongst Adventists, I rarely know what day it is anymore.

Blog posts are few and far between these days and I guess that is a testament to the "honeymoon phase" being over. The teams have been phenomenal the last couple of weeks and I also had a five day vacation in the DR with my parents. It was really good to get away from Port-au-Prince, although I confess my brain was here the whole time.

I felt like I was coming home when Richard picked me up from the airport and it's good to be back at work. Our census is down to ONE page and while we have some very sick patients who will be here a long time, we have lots of space for the new Ortho MD who arrives on Tuesday. We actually have a full three days without an Ortho Surgeon here, which is a first for us, but it's been good to breathe and get organized before the chaos starts up again.

Prayers have been answered on the "political" front and it looks as though God is providing new leadership at the hospital that will hopefully help to fix many of the system problems. There are still a lot of questions when it comes to patient care that isn't Orthopedic, but I think things will start picking up quickly.

Our team is small right now, there are only six volunteers here, opposed to our usual teens and makes the hospital a quieter place and slightly more organized...although, Monday will be very interesting.

I continue to often be discouraged by the attitudes of the Haitian people. I don't know that I have mentioned it much because so many people read this blog that I have never met. But the entitlement and "give me" attitude starts to wear on you.

I spent yesterday in Jacmel at the spring (yes we went David!) and the beach. It was a beautiful drive and it got me wondering what other parts of Haiti are like. People can be extremely diverse in different parts of the states and I wonder if a lot of the attitudes that I deal with daily are localized to this city. The capital. The port. That area that has been most used and abused, pillaged and provided for for many years.

For those of you who pray, pray that I will love these people whole heartedly. Pray that I'll be selfless and have endurance. Some of them are so easy to love, others nearly impossible. (As it is with all people). But then, I'm not really doing it for them I guess. Michelle reminded me that there is a Nazarene guy who said it was all for him...

September with no college football.

Sunday, September 5, 2010
I always know it's been too long since I've posted when I can't remember what I did yesterday, much less last week. There has been so much change these last ten days that I'm not sure I can explain it all. I think I already mentioned the departure of David Harris (see I can't remember anything). He was the incredible individual in charge of all things supply. Just getting a hold of the keys to central supply since he has been gone is quite a task in itself.

Dr Scott Nelson, the orthopedic surgeon who put this entire Ortho program in place came and went last week. Brooke Beck who has been running this hospital since February from a nursing point of view officially moved on to greener pastures as well. Jean Junior, the orphan who had been living with us since my first week here and his father's death also moved to Frantz's mother's orphanage, definitely the best thing for him right now, but all the same very hard.

I've never been one that hates change. I don't love it either. I've discovered that I get bored with things after about two years in the same place, or two months if we're talking boyfriends. Overall I think change is good. I can't stand feeling stagnant or unproductive. Same ol' same ol'. It makes me want to scream.

But this kind of change is hard, especially because it has come with a lot more responsibility for me. But I think God likes change. I think He intended it. We should always be moving when it comes to spiritual things. And I believe that everything in life is it should all be moving forward.

My heart has felt something the last two days. I've told my parents, though never mentioned it here, that I feel incapable of processing emotions here. Of any kind. I haven't been truly happy or sad. I haven't cried (except for almost as Brooke drove away). I haven't really let myself love either. I feel so distant.

Yesterday a sweet 15 year old girl named Kensia invited me to her home. After a scolding from Frantz because I didn't know exactly why I was going, I went anyway. (Yes he came along). She has a serious heart problem. I don't know what because all of her medical records were destroyed in the earthquake. She lost her family in it as well. You can almost hear her heart murmur standing next to her. She comes to the hospital to find Brooke, or now me, when she is having trouble breathing.

I went to her home and she and her cousin sang for me, she gave me a picture she had drawn and a coca-cola, and she asked me to adopt her. She lives with her neighbor, whom she calls her aunt. Her Aunt told me that they can't afford to help her medically. Even if they could I've never heard of heart surgery in Haiti. She makes me sad.

We got confirmation over the weekend that Joseph has bone cancer. He came in to preop this morning. We have to amputate his leg tomorrow. Other than a second earthquake, amputation is every Haitian's biggest fear. I can't tell you how many patients in ortho clinic have agreed to surgery as long as we promise we aren't cutting their limb off.

Joseph is 21 and at this stage in the game he wouldn't have another option even in the States. This is his only chance, although without chemo before and after he still might not make it. He has a perfect smile and speaks some English. He is terrified. He made me so sad.

Some good changes are happening as well. Brian arrived. An architect from Oregon who is hopefully going to make some real changes happen around this place. He's also a our little family is growing.

My parents are coming to Haiti this weekend and I will get my first real break in two months in the Dominican Republic! Just in time.

The weather is starting to cool off...or maybe I'm just used to it. But I haven't been hot today.

My kitten looks healthy now and actually runs to me when I enter the room rather than hissing at me.

My Creole is ...slowly...improving...and my new teacher is supposed to come by tomorrow!

I hear it's fall in Georgia and thus the SEC has begun to take charge. All the teams I care about won yesterday...which really just means Auburn.

War Damn Eagle.