Thursday, December 15, 2011

On the run.

For hope is but the dream
of those that wake.
Matthew Prior

Dream, hope,
Dreaming, hoping

What makes an event come to pass? A series of other events takes place and then leads the culmination of the new event? A possible idea is thought of and encouraged through the series of other events?

The series of events is taking place.
A friend living in Seguin (the town at ____ elevation in the mountains. This town is the destination of arrival at the top of the mountain pass, before you descend to Jacmel the largest town at the base of the mountain).
Walked the “Hike from Kenskoff to Jacmel” It is a 2 day hike the first day took ~8 hours to arrive in Seguin. The second day was ~ 6 hours before hopping in the back of truck to complete the trip to Jacmel. Walking a Hike is something I had never done before. Doing the distance without the goal to run was a new concept and a difficult one for me. It was an amazing Hike, and allowed a person to see the mountains and people of the mountains in Haiti in a very raw way.
Several realistic discussions with the founders of Haiti Medical Missions of Memphis that the key to sustainability and to achieve the goals for the Mission is to find more money. To achieve the goals of a Haitian operated clinic the clinic will need a donor who supports this cause.
Being surrounded in my life with dreamers and doers. People who think big and continue to act on these things to make those dreams their reality.
The love and need to run.

Thus the idea began: Running from Port au Prince to Jacmel. After watching the publicity and coverage that the Western 100 movie gave to the audience and myself, what if a movie of an event like that could be completed in Haiti??? I love to run, I know a route. What if the publicity could generate funds to provide much needed money to a clinic who do to lack of funding and staffing is now turning away 50-60 people every day......

What if, and the dream begins.
Thoughts on its reality?

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Pediatrics day.

How do you choose what is right when there is no right? Or when everything is grey?

A child and his mother that I have been following for the last 10 months came today and the mother stated she was ready to leave the child at an orphanage. WHAT?

I am not a mother, I am not a person who has had to take care of a child who has a disability as a full time job, and I am not a person who has had a child with disabilities. But how difficult can it be for one mother with 2 children, one who has severe disabilities, no job, no money, no food, no husband..... To want to give her child away.

I think the mother knows the alternatives. The patient will be left outside of a hospital. Preferably a child's hospital. He MIGHT be taken in, placed in a ward with other brain damaged children. He might and might not be attended to. He will not be stimulated other then to be fed, possibly.

What do you tell this mother in broken creole in her time of need...... That she is the best this child has. His hope for some quality of life.

Which leads us to the next moral issue. What to do with a child who can not speak, can not move, can not feed himself.... What is his quality of life compared to the strain that he is placing on his family?......

As a white women with a government that would support me if I did not have a job, did not have money, and did not have support....What do I say to her?

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Why was this day so good?

Why was my day so good? I started my morning like this:
A man in his early 50's came to the clinic from what we call a "friend referral" after having a stroke. He now was presenting with a limping gait, decreased use of his left hand, slurred speech, and was having difficultly eating. The conversation presents like I am a 4 year old, because that is how good my creole is.

Me- "Mister, When did you have your stroke?"
Patient - 2 weeks ago
Me: Are you taking medication now for your blood pressure?
Patient: No, it is finished, I do not have any more
Me: Do you have a doctor?
Patient: No, I just went to the General Hospital after I fell.
Me: Why did you come to the clinic today?
Patient : For therapy.
Me: Who told you to come?
Patient: A friend.
Me: You need to see a doctor first and have medication. Then you can come for therapy. Come tomorrow morning, early before 7 am because there will be many people here. You can see a doctor and he will give you medication. After that he will tell you when you can start therapy.
Patient: Is he Haitian?
Me: Yes.
Patient: How much money will I need?
Me: Only the money it cost for the transportation to the clinic. The doctor is free, the medication is free, and therapy is free. (smile)
Patient: Thank you very much, you are my daughter. Do you understand that.
Me: Yes, thank you very much.

We are now being able to provide people with a quicker recovery from a stroke, and are assisting with prevention of secondary strokes. Constant communication with the clinic, the doctors, and a holistic approach is achieving these things. Not only that, but it is all free! Amazing quality health care for people who otherwise would not be able to have any health care at all.

Thank you all who supported the race for making this conversation a reality.

Saturday, July 30, 2011

"Centers of Excellence"

What qualifies as a centers of excellence? Many people may think that because I do therapy in Haiti I must be treating many earthquake victims. And though I do treat people that were effected by the earthquake, because all were that were living here, the main diagnosis I see would be Stroke. I know that Stroke is not as sexy as other diagnosis, but it can be.... Before I left for my vacation I was quite aware that we were treating a large number of strokes sometimes up to 8 a day, and that the number was increasing. We are starting to get referrals all the way from Port Au Prince (45 mins away in a car), and from Dr’s that we did not know. These patients were coming to our rehab with prescriptions from real Dr.’s for therapy !! Very cool. But when you are in the thick of things, you treat, provide care, educate, and on, on, on. After I left for the States and then returned to the rehab center, I had a fresh look on our clinic. A stroke patient came in with his family (daughter, wife, and possible son?), he had a stroke within the month (very recent). Looking over his chart (yes we have charts:)), the chart stated the patient had not been walking, was not able to put on his own clothes, and required assistance to feed himself. Before the stroke it stated that he was working construction ( he was a only in his ~50’s). His daughter presented the rendezvous he had been given for therapy 2x’s a week with his home exercise program, and promised that he had been completing the exercises. He was still having quite a bit of difficulty with walking, with both daughter and wife on either side of him for support to walk into to the therapy department. As we progressed through the session, I was able to continue to educate the family regarding his diagnosis, demonstrate to them with just verbal cues he could dress and feed himself independently, provided him with a walker so he could walk with minimal assistance, and watched him smile, play basketball with me, and dance “Kompa” (while sitting) (Kompa is the popular Haitian dance). 2 weeks ago this man had a stroke and his family and him were facing a a very uncertain, scary moment, and now they were laughing with me watching their loved one sit on the mat with his eyes closed swaying to the music and walk out the rehab door with minimal assistance ! This story happens at our clinic, not just once but daily! We do have our stories that are not as successful or “excellent,” but this is what we are striving to do with each person.
So, I have worked at “Centers of Exellance” before in the States,. and after “googling” the definition, I think we qualify.
Web definitions of Centers of Excellence:
Providers who are selected to perform certain specialized procedures because of their expertise and willingness to provide discounts.

This is us for sure! We are providers who preform specialized therapy for each individual with an expertise and ALOT of willingness. The discount is called “pou gratis.”

Certainly beats centers of failure. Most companies have a nice set of both.

I think this one is funny, but also true. The best way to learn is from your failures. We have had many failures, so I am still learning.

Thank you so much everyone who accepted me back home with open arms, open minds, and open ears to listen and understand my life here. You will never know how much that means to me. Also thank you so much for everyone who works so hard in MANY different ways to support me and this clinic. Thank you for supporting right where you are standing. This is something that I could not do, and I am in constant admiration of you. Love you, Jeanie.

Monday, May 30, 2011

Blog 4

“For I am the Lord your God, who takes hold of your right hand and says to you, Do not fear; I will help you.” Isaiah 41:13

What are you afraid of?
Death, rape, the dark, losing a loved one, disappointment, the future, the unknown....

Some of the reasons I love Haiti so much is that is forces me to address my fears. It forces me to go on faith that no matter what happens it is for a reason. So if things happen for a reason, is there a reason to be afraid?

One of our patients died this weekend. He was a boy in his teens with severe cerebral palsy that had left his body contoured in ways that I did not know a body could contort but a face that still could produce a beautiful smile. As much as a Jon was a part of our therapy his mother was. She always had very sad eyes and a weak voice that begged for sympathy. Me, hating sympathy, was always slightly harsh, but evoking smiles out of her on several occasions. Jon on the other hand would smile easily making it seem that was the one part of his body he could control with ease. Not know the reason for Jon’s departure from this earth, it raises a question.... Was it a blessing that he has passed? For his mother’s sake of not having the huge back breaking burden of his care and for him not to live in a contoured body anymore? The weeks before his death, I watched Erin give her time, sweat, excessive girl power, power tools, brain power, and always stopping to ask for other’s people’s opinion to help create for him a wheelchair that would decrease his pain and assist him with sitting in a less contorted position. Jon and mother somehow broke the first attempt at a wheelchair modification and he was on round 2 and half and hours of attention when he was suppose to return today for follow up to finish the chair. We thought it slightly odd that he did not come, since his mother had not missed an appointment yet. Later we found out through another patient that his angle wing arms took him to another place...
Rest relaxed Jon.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Blog 3

As I just recently received an email wondering if I was dating a goat and now into wheelchair racing vs running I thought I would attempt to explain in depth the situation for me in Haiti. Do to the brief and few blogs and random pictures I can only imagine the image that would be conjured up... But a reality check is over due. It is easier to post the anonymous picture of a goat, but is quite a bit harder is to post the pictures of the faces and issues that I am directly corresponded with. You might ask why not?? That is ridiculous, but these situation are not easily explained and there is a since of protection there thus needing permission to post a picture and explain a story that is not mine.

From the day we got here there was already a rehab in effect at the St. Charles. 3 "rehab techs" staff a 7 bed inpatient/outpatient rehab and a primary care facility. In March the inpatient is sadly closing... Sad due to Haiti is losing a much needed resource, an inpatient rehab. Funding has been cut, so thus changes had to be made. The clinic as of next month will be an outpatient clinic only.

For the last month and half we have discharged 3 patient's, one left on her own, and the next three will leave the following week. It is amazing each one of those patients I could write for days and blogs on.... Thus the lack of writing at all, but I really want to share one that impacted me thus so far the most. Benny.

I say, Benny, meaning Benny and his Brother Frebrear. They are a joint because one's outcome effects the other, much like all Haitian families. Due to Benny's injury Frebrears life has been completely altered as well. Both are caregivers to the other. Benny is the older brother of Frebear, and thus the designated caretaker, but due to sustaining an T-10 spinal cord injury, Frebrear is now the caregiver of Benny the older brother. Throw in a side of Mother abandonment and father dying within the last year and you have yourself the making's of a Haitian story. For toppings try that Benny's back was never stabilized after the injury and he has two wounds on his bottom. If you are too depressed at this time, please fill free to open a bottle of rum and take a nap.

Now that you have the setting now the character. Benny: "mwen renmen travay" I love to work. The 23 year old Haitian stated.... Whatever we ask of him, Benny completes with overzealousness, with huge brown eyes staring at you for acceptance, and whatever else you are willing to give him. Your cell phone, tennis shoes, work, attention, exercises, a hug, cookies, care for his brother....

Due to his wounds, Benny was not able to be discharged due to the fact that he would die. He lives in the country side and he and his brother never attended school. Freberer, 13, told me after much prodding that he was a gardener, but had fallen ill due to "magic line." What that is your guest as good as mine, and is some form of ill placed on a person via voodoo. Medically he probably got ill from something he ate or contracted tending too the garden.
Anyways, back to Benny being discharged and dying or surgery. Miracles do happen and a somehow a far away land called Cap Haitian was able to take Benny and complete a surgery for him. A plane will be carted on Monday and he will be flow there. Frebere through no choice of his own, will go willing as his care taker. When I asked him what he wanted, he stated, "What choice do I have."

Limited choices, limited resources, but sometimes it works. Celebrate when you can. As for the rest of it and my work here. Struggling with that daily.... How do I make the maxima benefit in such limited time with such limited resources is the goals in mind. As of right now we have goals for a stroke prevention class. We have currently graduated our first back (pain) class, which have willingly decided to continue to come for an exercise class! Yes I had them running around the soccer field! Its one small step at a time and trying not to tackle too many problems at once. Thank you again for all of your support and love. Jeanie