Friday, July 16, 2010
Mostly, I love island life. It is largely slow and relational, with people and relations much more important than tasks and time. This is just a normal difference between warm climate and cold climate cultures. Me, being from a cold climate, has had to do much adjusting over the last 5 years, but it has slowly evolved into my frustrations and amazement being generally less frequent. Well, I am still floored at times by what can happen in what seems like a no-brainer, can't be misunderstood situation. For instance, on Saturday evenings, we as a team like to "go out" for dinner to a local 'restaurant'. This gives us one night a week off from cooking. In the process, there have been times where we have waited up to an hour for our food, and that has discouraged us, to say the least. It is not a restaurant like you are used to, where you are seated, and someone brings you a menu to choose your preferred meal from. This is where you show up, hoping that someone is there with the doors open at the 'usual' time for business. There is no menu, you just ask "what are you having tonight?", although there are standby's that you can always count on, like our usual choice of baleada's. Well, Kathy and I have volunteered to pick up kids for the Young People's Program at church every Saturday evening, so we are much more time conscious than we had to be previously. In order to speed up our dining event, I sought out the cook, and let her know that we would love to eat there, but would need our food at 6pm, because we had to leave by 6:40pm, and for what reason. She assured me this would be no problem, asked how many baleada's we wanted, and repeated the time we would be there. So, a ½ day later, we are walking down to the restaurant, and see her walking the other way! She says, "no problem, it's all ready, I'll be right there". Thinking there must be someone else at the restaurant in her place, we go on up….to a locked door at an empty restaurant. After waiting about 10 minutes, I find the owner, who had just come in from fishing and had no idea. Fortunately, she eventually calls the other gal, who says she's on the way right then. Another 10 minutes goes by and some other girl rushes by and says something about getting the key. She opens up, and begins preparing the food….only the baleada bread had been made. Well, we got our food at about 6:40, eat one quickly and put the rest in foil to eat later. On our way down the path around 6:50, we see our cook, sauntering on up the path, who then greets us cheerily and asks "how was dinner?". I just smiled, said fine, thanks, and go on with our evening plans…
Monday, July 05, 2010
Well, off went our 2nd team of the season on Friday morning. They were a great team of teens and young adults, very hard workers, easily engaging with the islanders, and willing to serve in whatever way was needed. We had some brutally hot weather during their time here, too, with temps up in the 90's and little breeze to cool the skin, nevertheless they complained very little and accomplished much. They built 10 pews for the Northside church, put new screens up around the clinic, varnished the floor in the medical reception area – as well as doing kid's club, sports camp, visitation and "Clean Sweep"; all in all a very busy time! Fortunately, they also got to play, with a jungle hike, beach swims, and a snorkeling trip. But the highlight of the groups time, for me, was meeting the one girl that came along at the last minute. She stated that she didn't know, or necessarily believe in, God. She joined the group at her piano teacher's recommendation when she'd mentioned a desire to go on a trip outside the country to help and serve. She was open to learn, but cautious at the same time. She and I had several opportunities to spend time together, yet I didn't try to influence her with saying much, just asked a few questions here and there. She did come to me later and said that I'd had a big impact on her, though, and that she wanted some of the joy and peace that she saw I have. She didn't realize, until I told her, that it was not me that was drawing her in, it was Christ in me, the hope of glory, the Prince of peace. I am thrilled that He used me in this way, and that she could see Him in my life! She had many other experiences here that have brought her to the conclusion that she does, indeed, believe in God, and I am convinced she will explore His presence further as she processes her time here in Helene. Pray for her with me, wouldn't you please?
Monday, June 28, 2010
Wow, I imagine that most people did not have a morning like mine this morning This morning, 30 minutes before heading to the Northside for church, a young man came and said that they wanted me to check on a woman that was having belly pains. I had seen her on Friday in the clinic, she was about 2 weeks from her due date, but knowing that this may be a reason for her pain, I did bring an OB kit with me. I went into the tiny 2 room apartment built below a house. A lay midwife was already there, saying that she was getting near time to push! So I checked her, it seemed a little soon, but I wasn't going to argue with her assessment at this point.
Every baby birth is unique, and I am constantly surprised that there are rarely any problems of any significance in the complicated process that comes from conception to that first blessed breath in this outside world. After 20 minutes of pushing, I broke her water, which helped. But as sometimes happens, especially with very big babies as this was, despite mom's strong efforts, it wasn't coming down much. In the end, it took all three of us to get the baby born, and it was complicated by the fact that the cord was wrapped twice around its neck! I was able to fix this problem, but still had to reach and grab a shoulder and pull, as Trudy pushed on the mother's belly. After being stuck at just the head out through several sets of contractions, we finally managed to pull/push him out! But he wasn't taking that all important first breath, even as we rubbed and rubbed, cut the cord and picked him up to "rough him up" to get him breathing. The midwife announced "he's dead" – but I said "No!! We're not giving up on him!" Then, as clearly as I've heard anyone speak to me, the Lord said, "breathe life into him". After a ½ second hesitation with an "eww" in my mind, I gave the little one two puffs of air – and that was all that was needed to get that first cry going! What a blessed sound that is, made even more so with the precarious start he had! Praise God, He once again took my inadequate hands and mouth and brought good from a potentially bad situation.
Saturday, June 19, 2010
So, I love to learn new things! We had the pleasure of having Dr Kurt here this past week with his daughter – and for weeks before a doc's arrival I prayed that God would provide the opportunity to learn new techniques and procedures. This was no exception; again, I was not disappointed. He brought me a cool tool for removing warts, skin tags, lesions and the like, and we had several chances to put it to use. I also learned, in picture and theory at least, how to anesthetize an entire hand or foot, which will be especially useful for a situation with several lacerations or wounds that need cleaning or suturing – I only wish we'd had the chance to actually do it on a patient, but we discussed it enough, and he left me written instructions, so that I feel I could manage the procedure. He was so very encouraging to me, and the entire team, what a blessing! It was his first mission trip ever; I pray that the Lord uses this experience to draw him into future missions experiences, and for his daughter to have a hunger for more of this, too!!
Today we have a youth team coming in later, 15 just graduated high schoolers with 5 adults – more opportunities for God to draw them into His work for the Kingdom!! It excites me to see others find the joy of serving our Lord in various ways, diverse places, and stretching our realm of possibility beyond what we previously thought possible!
Monday, June 14, 2010
Sunday night came the dreaded "knock knock knock" on my door just a little after an hour from when I turned out my light. You know that time, when your stupid factor is at its peak, when you are unsteady from the heaviness of sleep, and you say silly things like "is it an emergency for me?", when there is basically no other reason anyone would be knocking on my door at that time of night! Well, downstairs was a man who was begging for us to go down to Bentley Bay (about a 1 mile walk) to "tend" his wife who had "taken in" around 7pm. Basically what he was saying was that his wife was in labor and they wanted my help. I said "I didn't even know she was pregnant, and I don't feel comfortable tending women I haven't seen for pre-natal care". He said "Shore she be in to see you, Miss Deirdre, many time. She jus don't leave the house wery often". A quick check of her chart revealed that yes, she had been in, but that was once…2 months ago. I asked him how many babies she's had, he had to think about it and count on his fingers, but came up with this being #9. I discussed the situation with our substitute leader, and we decided that I would go, with Dominic and our phone. So off down the path we went, arriving to their candle only lit house at 1am. She was at 6-7cm at that time, with contractions 3 min apart. She told me that "once my water breaks, the baby come fast". Mental note: remember this statement. An hour later she was at 8cm, I said she may stand or walk, letting gravity help. After a sit on the bucket to poop, she stood and her water broke. I did remember above statement, but didn't quite grasp the concept, for she lay down on the bed, and as I was putting on my gloves I heard a sound, picked up my flashlight to look, and there was a baby boy laying there, at 2:40am! When I said "my, here is your little boy already!", she said "well, I couldn't handle anymore of that!" Less than 2 minutes later came the placenta – minimal bleeding, seemingly no pushing, and not one scream of pain! His head was perfect round, since he really didn't have to spend any time in the process to speak of. I clamped and cut the cord, realizing that about all I did was that and rub her back to help. He's perfect, mom is well and healthy, and God has brought another life into our world!
Wednesday, June 02, 2010
Just before our Bible study here at the clinic last Sunday, a neighbor girl came over to say they needed me to go up to the Northside to see about a boy that had fallen out of a tree onto a rotten stump, tearing open his leg. That was at least enough information for me to know that he had to come down to the clinic. I told her this, with the explanation that if I went up, it would only delay his treatment. A short time later I called a friend up there to make sure it was going to happen, and she said they were looking for a boat and driver to get him down to the clinic. He arrived a bit over an hour later, and his leg near his right knee was pretty torn open. It sure wasn't a clean cut; in fact I ended up pulling out about 25 pieces of rotten stump by the time I was through. It was deep, but thankfully no tendon was torn, and no major blood vessels lacerated. It took over an hour to clean it out good after numbing it up; even then I wasn't completely convinced everything was out. So rather than suture it up, I decided to pack it and dress it with a sterile dressing – which has meant that I must repeat this process daily by walking up to the Northside to his house. The first few days his calf was swollen and hot, but has since gone down and is no longer hot to touch. Praise God there has been no sign of infection, and every day the wound is smaller and cleaner! I am so grateful that he was not hurt any worse, and that the Lord was there to catch him when he fell! The story is that he asked his dad if he could go iguana hunting with a group of boys Sunday morning, and was told no, but to change his clothes and get to Children's church. He went around Dad, and asked Mom – who after getting tired of his whining, then believed the story that church was cancelled, so let him go. So you can imagine the rowing that ensued after his injury! Doesn't this sound like a story that could have happened in your neighborhood? Kids are kids the world over, even though the details may vary somewhat, the motivations and consequences remain the same. It's just another reminder that we are all so much the same no matter where we live in this world, or how we grew up, human beings are born in sin, and tend to gravitate to sin, yet the Father's hand is there over us all, just waiting to catch us and let us down safely into His hands. All we must do is trust in Him, and call upon His name!