Sep 15, 2011

The Latest from Haiti

The Latest from Haiti

Okay time for another update. We have been blessed the last 5 weeks with an OT student Rachelle. Rachelle is originally from Haiti but moved to the states 8 years ago and is now in her second year of OT school. She wanted to come back to Haiti for the summer to visit her family and volunteer. We were able to teach and share therapy techniques with her while she was able to help us with our Creole and teach us more about the Haitian culture that we so desire to learn and understand. So awesome to meet a Haitian that has a love for learning and desire to become a therapist.  We really miss her and her smile around the clinic but know she has a bright future ahead of her.

Our stroke program still continues to grow. Rick our rehab RN has started to facilitate weekly stroke prevention classes. We plan to add an exercise component to the classes in time. We continue to see new strokes every month but are getting many within a week of the stroke so it has been fun to watch them progress. We had a pleasant visit from one of our former inpatients Lyciano who was also seen as an outpatient. We remember the day we had to have a discussion with Lyciano about safety and using a walker not knowing if the day would come when he could walk unassisted. Well he surprised us a few weeks ago when he not only walked up without an assistive device, but came driving himself in a stick shift car. He was so proud to tell us he drove here and was wearing of all things a referee shirt.  Appropriate given the crazy roads here.

The same day we were celebrating Lyciano’s accomplishments we had another former inpatient return secondary to a second stroke. Simeon is only 40 years old and now has suffered from two strokes. He literally was doing everything that was asked of him taking medications regularly, watching his diet, and exercising but they were still having difficulty controlling his blood pressure.  Many days he would get frustrated that he could not do therapy because his blood pressure was too high but we were trying everything that was possible. This is such a problem here. We knew he was at risk for another stroke and there was little we could do. Fortunately we have received a grant that has allowed for a variety of additional hypertension medications. We are glad to report that Simeon returned back to therapy with a great spirit after three weeks of different medications that seem to be controlling his hypertension. His goal is to return to his functional independence pre stroke.

We continue to be a full service rehab clinic willing to do what we can to help our patients return to whatever level of independence that is possible. We have made home visits to stroke patient’s homes to assess needs when it is too difficult to transport them to the clinic. We have been able to help show families how to assist with transfers and daily activities while learning a thing or two ourselves from families about how to adapt things.  We have provided leg lifts or supports that have assisted many with walking. My favorite was an 84 y/o old gentleman that came in just asking for a new crutch tip for his beat up crutch that did not even have a handle. We noticed he had a huge leg length discrepancy after a tibial surgery and were able to use old tires (thanks to our prosthetic group) to make him a shoe lift and give him a pair of tennis shoes. When he tried on his new kicks he got a big grin on his face and tossed his crutches aside and took off walking for the first time in over a year without a crutch.  Then just this week we got to see Michelle our patient that arrived being pushed in a wheel barrel 5 months ago walk in a walker adapted with a home made bag to port things (Thanks Jeanie) and her own personal cup holder. It takes her a while but she can now go get herself a glass of water and bring it back herself without assist. She was so proud. We even got to see a brief smile on her face.

We ask for your continued prayers and support for the upcoming clinic fundraiser September 30th- Oct 1st in Memphis. As our health and rehab clinics have grown so has the ministries financial needs. Haiti Medical Missions of Memphis has fund the clinic the last 10 years by the 24 hour Tour d Esprit Race/ Auction held every Fall in Memphis. If you would like to check out more about Haiti Medical Missions of Memhis and the Tour d Espirit feel free to check out the new website at We really believe in this ministry but can’t do it without the faithful support of so many.

God continues to use this ministry to touch our lives and the lives of those we encounter everyday.  It certainly has not been without challenges but far more blessings. I continue to thank you all for you love, prayers and support.