Jul 22, 2011

Haiti Update

Haiti Update

I figure it is about time I give another update on all that has happened since my last post. On Father’s Day I became an aunt once again when Asher James Cottos was born weighing a little over 5lbs. He got off to a rough start having to be placed on a vent and chest tube day 2, but pulled through well and was able to go home by the 4th of July. Chris and Andrea are both very proud first time parents and doing so well with the little man. I hear he is eating like a champ and even learning to take good naps between feedings. Can’t wait to hold him for the first time and not just see him through pictures. Times like that are really when it is difficult being so far from home.

I did recently get to go back to Texas for two weeks for a friends wedding. Got to catch up with a lot of people and enjoy some wonderful food. Nice contrast to the usual rice and beans that have become staples with every meal. It was wonderful to be back at my home church St. Mark’s and to visit everyone. It was also nice to see some of my old patients and co-workers at the hospital. I continue to be overwhelmed by everyone’s love, generosity and support of me and the work that God is doing in Haiti.

Now that I am back things seem busier then ever. We are starting to really work on developing our stroke prevention and education programs. The other day I saw 8 patients and 6 were strokes. There is a definite need for this kind of education. We also currently have three orphanages that we are working with. We have committed to partner with the Haitian rehab techs that are currently working in the orphanages. We are really trying to come along side them and teach them some more therapy techniques and the rationale behind it as they share more with us about their culture and way of life.  What an incredible learning experience for all involved.

In my last blog I shared with you about my friend Jon that taught me so much about overcoming the obstacles that are placed in our lives. He had such a beautiful spirit that radiated God’s love and joy into everyone he met. Now I want to introduce you to another one of my friends that also has such an amazing will to survive and love for all those around her. We first met Beetlove in May when she came carried into our clinic by her mom.  At the time she was skin and bones. She could not sit up well independently or even talk. Her right arm just hung off her body and her legs were curled up under her and she would scream out in pain at any attempt to try and straighten them. Mom explained to us that Beetlove was a healthy active 13 y/o until she collapsed Easter weekend and needed to be hospitalized. She apparently had a small infection in her foot that went septic throughout her body including into her brain and heart. She had five operations including one to the brain and one to the chest and was in a coma for 8 days before waking up. To survive all that alone in Haiti is nothing short of a miracle. Beetlove spent a month in the hospital doing very little movement until mom decided it was time to take her home since they were not doing enough to get her moving. This was when mom found the clinic and was referred to therapy.

Beetlove’s mom is a single mom with three other children at home but she still managed to bring Beetove everyday to therapy. Every afternoon I would look forward to Beetlove rolling up on a moto side sitting in her mothers lap sandwiched between her mom and the moto driver.  Here we see patients that can’t even sit up on the back of a moto (motorcycle) all the time. That is the only way for them to travel without a car because they can’t get on and off of a public tap tap.

Slowly over time Beetlove began to sit up, talk and even was starting to tolerate some supported standing.  This little girl who had lay there in such pain with just a blank stare across her face was coming back to life just before our eyes.  She would try to dance and even started singing before talking. She is just so motivated especially to walk again. She was sure to learn each of our names and brought each of us a gel bracelet. Most kids here have very little especially of their own so to give each of us one of her bracelets meant so much to us.

Just before I left to fly back to Texas we started to get worried about her left hip. She was starting to have more and more pain and upon assessment her hip appeared to be dislocated. The x-ray confirmed what we had suspected her hip was dislocated and was going to require surgery. Surgery #6 was done the day before I flew back.

She was placed in a cast that started at her chest and goes completely down one leg and half down the other with two large bars across the middle to keep the legs spread. Now imagine having that large of a cast on, unable to bend to sit up, in 100 degree heat with no ac, laying on the dirt floor in a small one room house without electricity for 6 weeks. But there she lay with a smile on her face allowing us to sign her cast and just laugh and joke with her. The Haitian people just blow me away with how resilient they are and there will to overcome. I know for so many it has to do with their faith. We have since taken off the back of a wheelchair and rigged up a frame to support her and her large cast and finally got Beetlove off the floor and outside for the first time in a week. We will continue to check in on her several times a week until we can get her back in therapy. 

I once again want to thank everyone for their continued love, prayers and support of this ministry. As you can see we are making a difference in the lives of those we meet as they are often making an even bigger difference in our lives. We have so much to learn from each other when we truly take the time to just be in each other’s presence. God is good!!!! Blessings and Love form Haiti.