Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Nothing short of a miracle

June 6th, 2013

I had been back in Haiti for 6 days after a much needed month long vacation.  The month of May had been a great time of seeing family and friends.  I was still getting back into the swing of things being back at MOH.  Getting into a rhythm of lots and lots of short term teams being in Haiti.  An entire new intern class.  I was really starting to get into the groove. Little did I know what was coming the night of June 6th.

CAT scan from June 6th. 1 of 4 stones,
Technically it was about 5:00am on the morning of June 7th.  I was awoken by a pain in my lower abdomen that was virtually indescribable.  I had no idea what was happening and why I was in so much pain.  My first thought was surely my appendix was about to rupture.  I will spare you the extra details of what accompanied this extreme pain, but we can just say that it wasn't pretty.  After about half an hour of debating what to do (I'm fairly certain the pain was also inhibiting my reasoning skills) I slowly made my way to another apartment in the staff housing to find a MOH medical staff.  I woke her up and she quickly gathered other medical personnel that we had in country.  It was quickly decided that it was either kidney stones or my appendix.  With neither one of these being a good option, I was quickly taken to a hospital in Port Au Prince.  There were a lot of details from that day.  First, there just "happen" to be an American doctor volunteering at this particular hospital for 1 week.  He was able to quickly diagnose that I had kidney stones and after an affirming CAT scan there was no doubt that 4 kidney stones were invading my body.  Another crazy factor was that the MOH medical staff that traveled with me just "happen" to have the EXACT pain medication that I would need -- in her purse!  She had brought it with her days before, never guessing that we would need to use it so quickly.  My hospital visit story was later posted on the MOH Facebook page. There was also a wonderful and miraculous story that accompanied my time at the hospital.  As I reflect back on everything that needed to take place that day and ALL of the things that did fall in line, it was nothing short of a miracle.  By June 9th I was pain free.  I slowly went back to my normal routine.  I wondered if that was it, if I was finished with the stones because I didn't believe that I had passed them, but also hadn't experienced any pain for weeks.  They were completely out of my mind and life seemed to be back to normal.

July 8th, 2013

There is no way to prepare for an emergency.  Even with the best "emergency plan" in place, there are going to be unknown factors and variables that cannot be predicted.  In my case, there wasn't even a plan. 

The night of July 8th I went to bed and was pretty uncomfortable.  I figured dinner wasn't agreeing with me so I took some Pepto-Bismol and figured I would feel fine in the morning.  I tossed and turned not realizing that my pain was ever so slowly increasing.  By 4:00am I was in so much pain that tears filled my eyes and I could not stay lying down.  I honestly don't know why it took me so long to realize what was happening.  They were back.  Or maybe they had never left.  I knew that a kidney stone had to be moving and once again I was in some of the worst pain I've ever experienced.  I quietly slipped into the adjacent apartment where our medical nurse was sleeping and woke her as gently as I could.  Since she was already familiar with what had taken place in June, she was so quick to administer a shot of pain medication.  Fairly quickly my pain had been reduced.  Big deep breath.  It was with a very heavy heart that I looked at her and said, 'I think I need to go back to the states.'  She didn't say anything.  Her eyes said it all.  She knew I needed to go back too.  There wasn't much we could do at 4:30am, so I went back to my apartment to try and get some much needed rest.

July 9th, 2013

The series of events that unfolded that day were nothing short of a miracle.  Tropical storm Chantal was quickly approaching Haiti and hundreds of people were trying to leave the island.  Airlines were booked!  There shouldn't have been an available plane ticket.  But there was.   MOH has a Haitian Executive Director and I'm convinced he has a direct phone line to the Lord and to American Airlines.  He got me a seat that very day!  Not only that, my boss just "happen" to be flying back to the states that same day and a first class ticket had his name on it.  Without any hesitation, he traded me seats.  Not only did I get back to the states, but I did the most comfortable way you can.  Upon arriving in Fort Lauderdale, at 8:00pm, my boss rented a car and we began the long 2 hour drive across Alligator Alley.  The goal was to get to Fort Myers.  My boss' wife also "happens" to be a nurse practitioner and she was working that night.  If we could make it to the hospital she worked at, everything would be ready.  She already had my information, my health insurance.  They would be ready.  I was so thankful that right before I left Haiti I had one more round of injectable pain meds.  I was praying that they would get me through the flight and the drive. 

Getting ready to head into surgery.
We arrived at the hospital around 10:30pm.  I was in a great deal of pain.  Again, I will spare you the lovely details of what that kind of pain brings with it.   Yuck.  Now if you've been to an ER, you know that the waiting room time most often takes longer than the doctors actually seeing and treating you.  My story is very different.  From the time we walked into the hospital, checked in, were called back, triaged, in a room, in a gown and pain meds being admitted - 12 minutes!!  Can I get a Hallelujah!?!  Once again tears filled my eyes but this time it wasn't because of the pain.  As I laid on that bed and I started rethinking what all had taken place that day to get me where I was, it was nothing short of a miracle.  You may disagree with me.  And that's fine.  But I know beyond a shadow of a doubt that the Lord was working on my behalf.  I know that he was orchestrating details that I will never know and never be able to fully understand.

Isaiah 55:8-9 - “For my thoughts are not your thoughts,
    neither are your ways my ways,”
declares the Lord.
 “As the heavens are higher than the earth,
    so are my ways higher than your ways
    and my thoughts than your thoughts.

July 11th, 2013

Finally surgery day!  The team of doctors and surgeons were going to do a standard procedure to remove the kidney stone that had lodged itself in my ureter (tube between my kidney and bladder).  The doctor said that if I would have waited one more day to come in, it would have been a very different story.  The stone had been wedged for awhile and they could tell from my white blood cell count that I was on the edge of developing a pretty serious infection.  Fortunately they were able to start me on antibiotics the first night I came into the hospital which prevented me from having any major complications.  

The surgery didn't last long.  Not that I remember any of it.  But it was a success.  Everything went perfect.  They placed a temporary stent in my ureter to help pass a few more stones I had in my kidney and allow things to heal.  They kept me in the hospital for one more night to monitor my progress and on Friday June 12th, I was released. 

Another huge blessing was that Mission of Hope, had my mom sent to Florida to be with me this week while I am recovering.  When my boss told me she was on a plane and would be landing soon, I couldn't get my brain to comprehend what he was saying. 
My mom.  Coming to Florida.  What?!  But it was true.  And now she is here.  I will keep more updates posted as the story continues.  But if you hear anything from this, please know that God is good.  That He is faithful.  He is taking care of the small things and He knows how to handle the big things as well.  He has your best interest at heart and even though things don't always make sense, He is orchestrating things for the good of those who love Him.

Me and my momma!  So thankful to have her here.

Monday, July 1, 2013


As the summer really starts to get into full swing, I can't help but step back and look at where the Lord has placed me.  I am quickly approaching my 2 year mark of being in Haiti and
working with Mission of Hope. 
My 30th birthday is also quickly approaching.  REALLY CRAZY! 
But I wouldn't have it any other way. 
This is exactly where I want to be! 
Haiti has captured my heart!!

I love this simple way of living.  I love the joy of a clean cold glass of water or a cool breeze that cuts through the hot humid day.
I love the smiles and the laughter.  The expectation of what tomorrow will hold.  The hope that He is moving and working doing good things!

I love that life transformation is happening! 
And I am blessed to have a front row seat.