Early in the week Cory, Eli and Anna started discussing the idea of moving Saturday's 'normal' activities to different day as Cory would be traveling to LaGonave that day. Generally on a Saturday morning you can find the kids and I cleaning and finishing up any loose ends of the school week but by the afternoon they and Cory generally can spend some time playing computer/ DS games.
As my students worked hard to accomplish additional school assignments I did not mind changing Friday to Saturday. Then on Thursday afternoon I received a call from Pastor Rigo informing me that he needed a doctor to hold clinic on Friday. No school, no problem.
Well almost no problem. Just that morning Cory and I called the staff to make sure a doctor would be present on Friday morning to look at our arms where our TB skin tests were placed and write up the negative results for our adoption paperwork. A phone call confirmed the another doctor could/would be there early, before heading to see children in Port Margot, to read our results.
I checked my medical bag, organized my larger bag of stuff that used to sit in my clinic room and then we headed down. Cory returned to his day off after getting a blood draw for one more test and walked back down when the doctor actually showed up later.
I still enjoy patient interaction. Six clinic patients all over the age of 40, 2 new and 4 there for medication refills [one epileptic, one diabetic, others heart/high blood pressure]. One of the new patients suffered from a back strain while the other a urinary infection and high blood pressure. Time to pray with them and connect with the Great Physician.
One ER patient, the saddest case, a 20 month old in severe respiratory distress. Watching a child struggle to breath never gets easier but layered with the knowledge that we could do nothing other than pray and send the mother further down the road hurts.
While he appeared to be unconscious, I did not check to see if he would respond to pain as I did not want to increase his respiratory rate or stress him more before the 30 minute trip to Limbèe.
His nostrils flared out with each breath. His muscles strained to take in the needed air. Without a stethoscope one could hear the wheezy sound of air being drawn through small confined spaces while with it I only heard loud rubbing sounds in both lungs. No normal air movement.
He did not respond at all to my gentle exam or speech.
Our empty oxygen tank and pharmacy laking any medications that could possibly help could lead one to despair. He had already received the one medication we could of given him a few hours earlier without relief. How much longer could he continue this strenuous effort of breathing?
The last time the other doctor sent a patient in respiratory distress to Limbèe they did not have oxygen either and had to travel an additional hour to Cap Haitian. As most folks know after 10 minutes without oxygen the brain cells start to die.
I prayed. I prayed his lungs would improve. I prayed his mom could find treatment for him in Limbèe and that the hospital there would have oxygen. I continued to pray for him throughout the afternoon, evening and now. I prayed for his mom and family. I pray that our clinic can find the resources needed to fill the oxygen tank.
Why you may ask is the oxygen tank empty? Did someone forget? Did someone mess up? No. The staff is dedicated. A staff who worked yesterday despite not getting payed for their labors in April because of lack of funds. A staff who continue to work not knowing when they will get paid. A staff who often suffer as I did watching that little boy struggle to breath, knowing more could be done if the equipment, medication or supplies could be found at the clinic. A staff who daily work to provide the best care they can for their community with the few resources available. A staff who put their trust in the Lord and ask Him to supply the needs, to change lives, to safe lives when nothing can be done medically. Please join us in praying.