Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Toto, I don't think

Wednesday, July 8 at 4:15 PM
Toto, I don’t think . . . .
we’re in Kansas anymore. Just a stream of consciousness this afternoon about all things Haiti. I let the students go home at 3:00. After keeping 4 of them busy all day, my creativity for keeping 4 balls in the air at once had reached the absolute limit!

I could not help myself this morning on rounds! I jumped in and watched and talked to the MD’s about the patients. Beyond that I couldn’t hold back any longer---that patient needs to take off his sling and elevate his arm in bed (I did just that). This patient needs a volar splint--the surgeons will make one during the next surgery. This comatose patient needs to be turned--the MD helped me do it. I tried to pull in the students whenever possible, but today surgery rounds were, selfishly, for me.

The first tiny room on the pediatric ward (emphasis on tiny) has SEVEN children in it, each with at least one family member there to provide for food, toileting, and bathing. When the surgery team walked into the room, all the toddlers, about 4 of them began to wail. The older children held off as best they could, but they too joined in when their bandages were removed. The sound was overwhelming.

Two hours later one small boy with burns still had no new bandages. His Mother chased away the flies hovering over his legs. I could stand it no longer. I asked my student to please find his nurse and ask that his bandages be replaced. A little before noon, she finally did so.

I continue to struggle mightily to get my students to talk to me. It often feels like pulling teeth. Translation is an ever present problem. Even the best translators are limited in English. This morning it took 4 or 5 attempts to get across a question that I posed to the students. I finally had to stand and act out the process that I was talking about. Practicing patience . . . .

On Sunday night about 9:00 PM, just as we were getting ready for bed, we were literally blasted out of our chairs with loud Haitian rock music that shook the walls of the house. My bedroom window opened directly to the side that the noise was coming from. I moved to the living room to stretch out on the hanging swing, but the music was still overwhelmingly loud. I finally fell asleep. It continued until after 1:00 AM. Someone said today that the police chief had a party. Don’t know if that is true, but it may explain why nothing was done!

I started Kreyol lessons yesterday and second one is today. l I have a wonderful energetic teacher, but I am afraid it will take forever for me to be fluent. I am the solo student sitting at a desk in an empty classroom with the teacher up front conducting with great energy. I hope I can get a picture!

There are ants crawling on my computer. Talk about debugging.

THANK YOU to all of you who are keeping Duane and me on the prayer list. It has worked! Last week I left my fanny pack with my camera, money, and keys in a public bathroom in the administration building. Yesterday, Duane left his iPhone in the library. Both places have somewhat limited access, but they are still open to many people. Both of us realized what we had done only after some time had passed. Miraculously, we both got them back--they were waiting where we left them. The prayer list is working. Please keep it flowing.

Until later, Judy


  1. Judy,

    Thank you for the work you do and for taking us with you by sharing these thoughtful posts. You are an inspiration!

    You're in our hearts and prayers.

  2. Hello Aunt Jusdy,

    It sounds like you are doing such good down in Haiti. The people are very lucky to have a special person like you in their lives.

    I'm laughing at the crazy police chief's party and the ants!

    Hugs and Love you,