Peace in the Storm

Greetings! Starting with introductions, I am Alyssa Martin the newest member on the Alegue Clinic team. I came a little over three weeks ago with plans to stay for awhile so I am sure you will hear more from me! A little background, I am a newly graduated Registered Nurse from Ontario, Canada. I feel I have much to learn but, am excited about all the learning opportunities ahead. I am blessed to be working with a wonderful team who is willing to teach me and support me in my adjustment to Haiti clinic life. I have already had many great learning opportunities in the past few weeks and am excited to learn much more about the culture and the people.
Myself with a baby at the clinic

I am going to give you a little update on yesterday’s events since it is still fresh in my mind…
The day started out calm and peaceful after morning devotions one of the girls said, “I feel this will be a peaceful day!” The morning was calm and peaceful we had a number of patients but nothing out of the ordinary.

Around 1330 we had a sudden break in the calmness. A woman was carried in on a cot with burns over 75% of her body 50% full thickness and 25% partial thickness. Immediately, we tried to start IV’s in her which was a very difficult task, as many of her superficial veins were burnt. All that was running through my mind was fluid resuscitation STAT, 2 large 18 gauge bore IV’s or that’s what they teach in trauma classes, but real life is never that easy. Kin finally got one IV in and then we decided to attempt an IO, which was successful. We got fluids running and covered the lady with a sterile gown.
Our patient ready to transport
Hans in the mean time called Haiti Air to see if they would be willing to come pick her up. They told us they would try, weather dependent. We loaded her up trying to keep her warm as the wind rushed by. Arriving at the soccer field 20 minutes later, only to discover the helicopter had not yet arrived. We were all silently praying that it would be clear enough for the helicopter to land, knowing it would be in the best interest of our patient. Hans got a call soon and was told it was too foggy for the helicopter to land but we could wait 10-15 minutes and they may try again. We could not wait. This lady needed help and she needed help fast if she was going to survive. We needed to hit the trail for Petite Goave.
Ready and waiting for the helicopter
We stopped off at the clinic gathered supplies, transferred into the land cruiser and off we were to Petite Goave. Kin and I in the back trying to hold the IV’s so that they would run. The patient wiggled herself free from the straps on the cot and was restless. Up and down, up and down, the poor lady could not get comfortable. Our poor IV’s were a hopeless case one was leaking, change the bag, another had occluded what next? Finally, when we thought we had them going and then the patient would change position or the fluid would be empty.  Oh no, now the IO is leaking our faithful IO. We discovered that the connector had cracked. I don’t think IO’s are meant to bounce all over the place :).  I was feeling hopeless. All I had ever learned was push fluids into burn patients and now it seemed we had a difficulty whichever way we turned.

It was a welcome sight to arrive at the Petite Goave hospital and see a little ambulance waiting for us. We transferred her to the ambulance. After talking to the driver and son as to where she was going, they were off with lights and sirens. We smiled and were relieved to see she was headed to Port au Prince hopefully in record time. It was a tired and weary team that headed back up the trail to Alegue. We talked of all the what if’s and only if’s but rested in the fact we had done the best we could in this situation.

Was the day peaceful looking on?  I would say probably not in my own eyes but, I can rest in the fact that God was with us and never let us down. He has protected us in so many ways and given us wisdom and grace for every situation. God is a faithful God and I have no doubt in my mind that He was with us yesterday. Knowing that peace in our hearts can give us peace amidst unpredictable situations.

I was planning to post this yesterday. Oops! I guess it didn’t happen time ran away. Enjoy!

~ Alyssa 

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