It’s one thing to hear about the medical situation in Haiti; it’s another to watch someone you love be held in it’s weak hands. I had to go into a bathroom for solitude to let out a big cry before we loaded Andrea into the van this morning. I hated seeing her hurt and I hated seeing her feel so powerless to find help.
Josh accompanied us for support, a guy named Brett drove and Duncans interpreted for us. Brett and Duncans were such imperative and beautiful servants.
Josh was awesome and he was so perfectly loving toward Andrea. I think my favorite moment with him so far was when he leaned over the seat and kissed her on the forehead. My heart was filled with joy to see his love for her run deeply.
Our friend Andrea had been suffering shortness of breath, had pains in her stomach, pains in her chest and extreme fatigue.
Today her condition worsened and we knew we needed to move on it.
Andrea laid across the seat of the van. I was in the floor holding her hand and Josh was behind helping hold her up in the seat as big bumps and the quick stops tossed her about. Josh and I, of course, made the occasional joke to help us through the situation. It did Andrea’s heart good to hear our laughter.
We finally arrived at the medical tent. It sat in the middle of all things poverty. Two different doctors gave us two different opinions. I was so concerned for her. How can we go from a potential heart attack to a terrible inner infection to an ulcer all in five minutes? Well, because there’s no way at this place to test her. No way to get a blood test. No way to get a heart test. No way to scope for an ulcer.
They tell us to go to another place but that she MUST finish another IV here but time COULD be of the essence. Josh suggested to take her IV with us and we did just that. So, we put her and her iv into the van and began to drive her to another location for a blood test and ekg. We had a post-it note referral and we were banking on it. The IV hurt her arm with every bump of the van because they had put it in kinda funky. Josh and I kinda wished out loud that we could google about IV’s and put it back in the right spot for her. I mean, we would have needed a good dose of steady hands and courage but it could have helped….maybe.
We kept pouring water on her face very lightly to cool her off. Again, Josh made sure she didn’t fall off the seat…and I held her too. She kept winking at us to reassure our hearts and to thank us. Her smile was like the strength of the ocean’s tide. It amazed me. I also kept thinking about how easy it is in the states to get a blood test.
We continued to drive on the painful roads. We ended up on a strange dirt road full of tent cities and at the end you could see a cluster of white tents. That cluster is called the “hospital.” I imagined that i’d try to set up my tent near a hospital if I had to live in Haiti. I imagined it would give me a little hope to find help in a time of need…..until I saw the line.
Anyway, the line was LONG but luckily we had a post-it note referral. The welcome also became stronger for Andrea when they saw she was with Americans. On that note, let me just say that we have a great opportunity as Americans to advocate for the suffering…think on that.
Sadly, the post-it note referral did us more harm than good. They refused Andrea the tests because she had already “been to another doctor.” We tried to explain we were referred…we were trying hard to pretend that mattered. I tried to convince myself it mattered. I felt really passionate about the power of that post-it.
Another local friend of ours FiFi came down to help us talk to them. We were all feeling powerless and angry. Just as I was about to get crunk and use my violent american tongue to lash out at the impotent system all around me….the Father whispered to me to forgive.
Plant healthy seeds here, Kelly. Plant forgiveness and mercy into the atmosphere. Establish the beauty of my kingdom. Look at the sick ones around you and the doctors working tirelessly. Forgive.
I thank you, Spirit of God, for whispering to me and aborting the plan of of the enemy to plant more seeds of powerlessness, unforgiveness and anger into the spiritual culture here. Just as I took a deep breath and confessed my heart to Josh, things started getting clearer and adequate attention was granted to my dear friend, Andrea.
By God’s grace, we encountered a french doctor who was with Doctors without Borders. He examined her well and he felt strongly that she had a really bad ulcer and a urinary tract infection. He said that if her chest pain continued that she could come back, ask for him (dr francois) and he would do an EKG. He sent us away with antibiotics, ulcer medicine and hope.
The team gathered their spare cash together and we went to the grocery store to buy her food that does not have a lot of acid or salt. Now she has medicine, love, and good food to eat. Thank you, Father.
When we returned to our tent, Andrea asked for an interpreter to come in. She said, “I have no mother or sister here in Port au Prince. You have become both to me. You see me and you cared about my pain and now I have medicine. I wish I could give you something in return but all I have to give you is my heart.” I replied, “Andrea, we are friends and that is simply what friends do for one another.” Then, Andrea and I both looked up at Ladonna. She nodded her head in agreement and smiled a nurturing smile toward Andrea. We all silently agreed that family is supposed to take care of family and that we have become just that.
The truth is we were never powerless, unseen or alone. The beautiful Holy Spirit of our Father was guiding us, healing her and directing us to the right place amidst the chaos.