When we have the opportunity to help anyone, we should do it. -Galatians 6:10a (NCV)

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

In the event of a plane crash...

I came across this while cleaning out my purse/bookbag/diaperbag combo thingy today. I forgot all about it and it made me laugh this time. The first time I read it, flying in the 4 seater toy tiny plane, I wasn't doing much laughing.

This was in the medical airplane I flew to Jeremie in to pick up Sandra, the slave child who experienced some trauma back in May. It was laminated and I copied it word for word. None of this was made up.

1.Stay away from the airplane until cooled.

2.Check injuries. Give first aid.

3.Get out of the wind/rain. Put up temporary shelter. Make hot drinks. (Hot drinks? #1-I'm in HAITI. #2-If my plane just crashed I seriously doubt I'm going to sit back and drink a glass of herbal tea!)
4.Get signaling equipment ready. Make sure the emergency transmitter locator is working. Set the plane's battery on it's right side. (Sure hope the pilot knows how to do this and is not injured/dead.)

5. Now relax and rest until you are over the shock of the crash. (Riiiiiiiiiiiiight.)

6. After resting, organize the camp. Put all food and equipment in charge of one person. Remember you can survive weeks with no food if you have water. (So glad I watched all those Lost episodes!)

7.Prepare signals, disturb your surroundings so you can be recognized from the air. Collect oil from plane to burn for smoke signals. 

8. Check out plane's radio. Determine position and include on radio messages. (This is #8?????)

9.Start a log book. Fill out accident and injury report forms. 

Thinking I better stick to missionary nursing not flight nursing...

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Exactly What I need

What a great Sunday! David (AKA best menaj ever!) surprised me by borrowing a car so we could go to the English speaking church-where they have Children's worship for Odessa. I enjoyed on church service in ENGLISH with an empty lap (where Odessa usually sits).

But the best part of church was the end. There was a white lady sitting in front of us with 3 little girls. They were rotten in church-just like my little girl is. I felt better seeing someone else with a child who can't sit still. After church she started talking to David and I. She said she is from Canada and her husband is Haitian and they want to make friends with some other mixed couples who have kids. I about jumped into this stranger's arms and hugged her. She invited us to dinner on Wednesday! Like a real dinner with another couple like us. I tried to play it cool when I said yes but I was so excited I couldn't stand still. I must have really been wriggling with excitement b/c when she walked away David asked me if I had to pee.

Then we stopped by the grocery store on the way home and they had tortillas. Real ones from the states. Don't ask me how much I paid for them-that's not important. What is important is that we had chicken soft tacos for lunch! With real soft taco shells and real salsa. I haven't had tacos in over a year. And boy were they good. Odessa kept asking me where the rice was. I told her, "Don't worry sweetie-we'll have rice every other day this week." She said, "Not today?" "No not today. Today we're eating TACOS!" She said, "I want rice." Oh well-can't make everyone happy.

English church, dinner invitation and soft tacos make for one happy American in Haiti this evening.  I would say it's the little things in life that make life great. But these are not little things. These are things I talked to God about last week in my devotion time. God answered my requests with a taco, a dinner invitation and worship in my native language.

Why am I always surprised that He knows exactly what I need?

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Meet Mithadeline. Look at this face! Don't you love it?  I met her a couple weeks ago when her mom brought her down to see the doctors aboard the USNS Comfort ship. Her mom was hoping they would do surgery on Mithadeline's legs.

Unfortunately, she needs extensive surgery, maybe a series of surgeries. So she was not a canidate for surgery aboard the ship. I made an appointment to come into the the Angel Missions office.

She came in last week and brighted up our dark dreary office with her smile. She was a chatterbox and has tons of character! Mithadeline was born with major leg deformities. Her right leg doesn't bend at the knee at all and her R foot is turned inward. Her Left leg is bent at the knee and doesn't straighten at all.

She army crawls around her house and scoots using her arms and hands. Her parents carry her back and forth to school everyday. At age 5 they can do this but at age 15 this is not going to be possible.

Haiti is not handi-cap accessible to say the least! I have yet to see one sidewalk fit for a wheelchair. There is debris/trash blocking walkways everywhere. Cars park on the sidewalks where ever they want. Even if Mithadeline had a wheelchair, it would be useless in this country.

We sent her information to the states and there is an Orthopedic doctor interested in helping her! But the larger issue was how Angel Missions was going to pay for testing and paperwork here in Haiti to get a passport and medical visa.

So I started praying and thinking about who could help.

I sent out a couple emails to some Christian friends who are active in their church mission committees. Within hours, Teresa Mooney from Kokimo, Indiana, responded. She said her church, Main Street Christian Church in Russiaville, Indiana, was having a mission committee meeting that very evening and she would ask if they would help Mithadeline.

Talk about all in God's timing!

So I am happy to give a public "Thank You" to Main Street Christian Church in Indiana for sponsorship of a medical visa for Mithadeline! This church is helping change one Haitian child's life.

God is putting together the pieces of the puzzle to help this child. I feel blessed to have played my part. And blessed that there are other Christians like Teresa Mooney and Main Street Christian Church willing and ready to play theirs!

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Carry Me

Sometimes I wonder if God gets tired of my whining. I specifically thought this today as Odessa and I walked home from David's house (about 3/4 mile) in the scortching afternoon sun. In the most pathetic, annoying whine Odessa said, "Mommy juice, Mommy juice, Mommy juice." Over and over. She drug her little feet behind her as she hung on my arm. She never looked up from the pavement.

I, being the mother-of-the-year I am, had no money on me. Not one gourde (the Haitian currency). It was hot-we live in Port au Prince, AKA "city of radiating heat off the pavement," and every 15 steps or so we would walk past someone selling ice cold drinks in a cooler.

After about 20 minutes of pulling the "mommy juice" 2 year old I snapped. I bent down to Odessa's level and said, "Honey- I have no juice, I have no money but we have ice in the freezer at home and we're almost there. Just keep walking. Please!"

She looked up at me with her big brown eyes and said, "Carry me."

What?!? Riiiight...my little girl has gotten way too big for me to carry her up and down the hills of Port au Prince in the last couple months.

But those eyes...

Already sweating, I shifted my bag and he bookbag to one arm and pulled my almost 3 year old up in my other arm.

This was somehow easier than hearing, "Mommy juice" one more time :)

And then I started. Not out loud but in my head.

I imagine it sounded something like this in the Lord's ear:

"God-I'm tired. Really tired. Not just today. But I don't know how much longer I can take this. i just want a break. I've been in the states for one week out of the last 17 months! This is ridiculous! I came to Haiti-wasn't that sacrafice enough? But here I am with a 2 1/2 year old child, no car, in a huge city.  Lord I used to have a life. A Nice life. I used to have friends, a vehicle, indoor plumbing throughout my house. But Lord I'm tired. Really tired."

We finally made it home. Both of us sweating like pigs. And we enjoyed some ice cold juice.

When I laid her in bed tonight I talked to her about patience. Ironic huh? After my whining fest with the Lord this afternoon? Like I said, Mother-of-the-year here.

I am getting ready for bed now and going to "redo" that chat I had with the Lord earlier.

How many times have I prayed hanging on the Lord's hand with my feet dragging behind me, eyes down on the pavement? Begging, whining for him just to make it better.

And sometimes He tells me to keep walking. But I have the assurance I am never walking alone.

And I know when I just can't take another step...I can look up and say, "Carry me."

Carry me through this adoption process because I am tired of the red-tape of governments.

Carry me through another day in the office because I am tired of the sickness and disease where there is not adequate medical care.

Carry me through another weekend without friends and family.

Carry me through handwashing our laundry in the bathtub-on second thought Lord, just knock me out for that one...

Carry me...

Deuteronomy 31:8
"The Lord himself will go before you. He will be with you; he will not leave you or forget you. Don't be afraid and don't worry."

Matthew 11:28
"Come to me, all of you who are tired and have heavy loads, and I will give you rest."

Monday, September 5, 2011

Ok so here's my plea.

I'm begging.

I need help finding Medical care for a 13 year old girl in Haiti. I have posted about her several times here on my blog.

Her name is Nadine. I won't repeat what I have already written. Click here to read previous blog post.

I met Nadine 3 years ago in Peredo. During that time I have tried and tried to get her the help she needs in Haiti. I was unsuccessful getting her a CT scan until now. Now that she has a diagnosis, help is with in reach.

Nadine had a CT scan on the USS Comfort Ship. The CT showed 8-10 large cysts in her abdomen.

We have copies of the CT scan avaliable for doctors who want to consider her case.

Here is the report written by the radiologist on the USS Comfort ship:

Technique: CT of the abdomen and pelvis utilizing oral and IV contrast


This is abnormal study. There are large cystic masses, Hounsfield units of
8-10 that are bilateral and retroperitoneal primarily. They extend around the
kidneys and push bowel anteriorly within the abdomen. Fluid does extend down
into the pelvis and appears free around the rectosigmoid area. No adenopathy
seen. The kidneys do enhance. Enhancement is somewhat patchy which may be
due to the mass effect from this fluid attenuation mass. No other
abnormalities are clearly seen.

Impression: Large fluid containing, cystic mass which is bilateral and
retroperitoneal. Most likely this relates to a benign process. Per
history this is been present since birth. This could be a lymphatic

Often times people tell me how "cool" my job is...helping people in Haiti...living in Haiti. And most days, it is cool. But this is the part that's out of my hands. There is a lady in the states who looks for medical care for the kids Angel Missions is helping.

The hard part is this:

To be elegible for a medical visa in our program, the doctor and hospital have to donate the entire cost of services, materials and hospital stays. 100%. We have to have letters to take to the American Embassy which state all care is free of charge and n medicare/medicaid funds will be used.

This is where you can help. I am Nadine's advocate in Haiti but you can be her advocate in the states. (You would not do any work on this other than the referral. Angel Missions takes care of all paperwork after contact is made) I am really talking to my Nationwide Children's Hospital friends in Ohio. Hint hint. I worked at this hospital for a few years and the general surgery department is amazing. I have seen them help so many children and I believe Nadine is another. 

So back to the begging...

Please please please (this is not just geared toward Nationwide Children's Hospital) talk to a surgeon about her-show her pictures, give them the results of the CT. A copy of the actual CT is avaliable. If you know someone who works in a Pediatric Hospital-whatever their job-ask them to check it out for you. Email me at ginnyandrews@hotmail.com.

And most importantly pray-God can open doors we didn't even know existed.

Update 9/27/2011:
Two doctors and a NP in Ohio have agreed to care for Nadine for free! They are putting together a presentation for the hospital to ask them to accept her free of charge. Join us in praying for a positive decision!
Thanks to everyone who wrote and asked doctor's and hospitals in their area. I was so surprised at the responses to help Nadine!

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Exhausted but worth it!

So no blog in a while. That would be b/c I have been out of the office working. And working. And working, And then took 4 days off to go home to Jacmel.

Still tired but want to show you some pics. Angel Missions working with the US military while it was here for 10 days (Well almost 10-a potential hurricane that never came, forced the ship to go way out into the ocean to miss it should it have hit Port au Prince).

I think every illness/accident/medical mishap in the country of Haiti came through the gates to be seen. My fellow medical professionals know how exciting this can be! Stuff I have only seen in text books and other stuff I never heard of came to be evaluated by the military. They did 109 surgeries on the boat and consulted anywhere from 600-900 people a day on the port. 600-900! The military was so efficient everything ran smoothly. I figured being the military and all it would be well organized. What I didn't expect was how friendly and caring the militray medical staff would be.

Haiti was their 9th and final country in a row! They still had smiles as they worked long, hard days.

I helped Angel missions coordinate translators (120 total!) and then start working up cases the USS Comfort could not handle to send to the states for medical visas.

We have a whole new caseload of patients we are helping now and I will post their stories and needs on the blog so you can meet them, pray for them and consider helping them get a medical visa for life-saving surgery.

This is the bittersweet part of my job. The patients the ship couldn't help were sent to me for evaluation to see if they are a canidate for medical visa. As I talked to some of them I knew they will most likely die before a medical visa gets set up for them. Though there were others who I think have a great chance of getting a medical visa.

Here are some pictures from the Comfort. Note: I am in no way exploiting the patient's photo's. Please know I personallt asked each person or parent's permission before taking the picture. I am posting them so you can being praying for them.