"I'm really just thankful for clean water" ~Azaria

Thursday, November 25, 2010
"If nothing else it's good that you were happy to return to Diquini," Ruth said about my trip to the north. And she was right. I would like to say that I have returned with a very different attitude. Maybe it's because I'm going home in just a few weeks or maybe because there is some encouragement in discovering that nowhere else is any better than here.

It's been a constant theme in my time here and though sometimes it's scary, it's nice to know that the country, as a whole, is messy. It's not just my hospital. It was good to return to the support of my friends here as well. There are so many beautiful Haitians that make each day here a delight. Sometimes they are hard to please and their expectations are impossible to fulfill, but all in all they provide consistency and support. Even the patients that I see operated on returning to clinic is rewarding. This morning I was greeted in the hallway by our patient that had his leg amputated due to elephantiasis a few weeks ago. I always worry a great deal about the amputees. In an already difficult country, losing your limp (after managing to keep it through the earthquake) is always depressing. But this man had such a giant smile on his face! He knows that his life is better and he is healthier now.

And there is Jonas. What a story of thanksgiving! He was said to be a "stable" femur fracture sent from a town a couple of hours away. I wasn't here when he rolled in but his hemoglobin in the 3's and a grossly dislocated knee and broken femur (moto wreck) made him everything but stable. He was watched for a week or so, I think as many as three doctors hoping his leg would pull through...but the stench became unbearable even to him, and after many washouts and revisions he ended up with an Above the Knee Amputation for a dead lower leg. We were afraid that wouldn't be enough though, as he looked septic with high fevers and talking out of his head on many occasions.

He went home yesterday. A man with a beautiful wife and two small children stood on the balcony with me yesterday telling me he wouldn't forget me. "I know I lost my leg but I'm glad I have my life. There was awhile when I wasn't sure I would make it out of here," he told me. I told him that we felt the same way. He had been very sick.

For his life I am thankful. For Maffie's too. She's a 18 year old trauma who we all thought would die her first night. Four weeks and about seven units of blood later (in a country where it's hard to get one) she is still on bed rest but she is alive!

Yesterday Partner in Health's MD emailed me saying that they would treat Wilny (see earlier post). The pictures of his cancer lesions are too graphic to post, but I would love to show them so you all would have some understanding of what this means. I'm trying to be patient and not rejoice too much until he is scheduled for treatment, but everything is looking good.

Thanks to the God of messy places. Thanks to all of you who pray and support me in endless ways. Thanks to my family who is steady and unwavering in their love. Thank You for the cross.