Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Stateside and Tubes in June

I receive many comments and questions from people regarding Haiti.  Most of them go like this:  "How can we pray for you?"  and  "If we come to Haiti, what do you need us to bring for you?"  So, I've made a few little additions to my blog.  On the left, you'll find a list of prayer requests (updated as often as I update this blog...hopefully monthly).  Also, you'll find a list of things that we could always use around here, just in case you're planning a visit here soon.

We spent the month of June in the U.S., visiting family, going to weddings, and enjoying some summertime fun.  The picture above is from the Madison Zoo, when the kids experienced popsicles on sticks for the first time.  Nora was a fan, but Titus thought they were way too cold.  We had a good time in Illinois, Wisconsin, Minnesota, Alabama, Texas, and Georgia.  The kids are glad to be back home, but they talk about visiting their grandparents again quite often.  Well, Nora does.  Titus has a limited vocabulary.  He says, "no, yes, thank you, cheese, mama, ball, book, and bye-bye".

During this past year, Titus has been battling many ear infections.  We tried all the different antibiotics recommended, as well as shots and antihistamines, but nothing seemed to be helping his poor ears.  So, while we were in Alabama, we took him to the doctor for advice.  He sent us to an ENT.  We were able to see the ENT on a Thursday, just a few days after our pediatrician referred us.  We waited for an hour.  The ENT did testing and recommended tubes for his ears.  She was able to get us a surgery appointment for Friday, the very next day.  He went into a nice, clean, friendly surgery center.  The nurses gave him a teddy bear, the pastor came to pray for him, and the drugs helped him relax.  They took him to surgery, and 15 minutes later he had tubes and was recovering.  By the next day, he was feeling much better.  Our insurance is helping us cover some of the costs.  When I reflect on this experience, I can't help but compare it to the experience of my patients in Haiti.  I have several little girls and boys who come to me daily for help with ear infections.  Normally, they and their mom will wait at least 5 hours to see me.  Most of the time, the antibiotics I give them will solve the problem, but sometimes, they are like Titus, and no amount of medicine will help.  In those cases, they will wait another 5 hours to see me again, and get another antibiotic and a shot.  If this doesn't work, the process is repeated, with different antibiotics, until the ear either gets better, or perforates on its own.  This is painful and could cause scarring.  The other option is to send them to a specialist in Port au Prince.  This is often a last-ditch effort for us, since it involves the mom and child going to an unfamiliar place on public transport, spending a lot of money that they don't have, going through many tests they don't have the money for and don't really need, and then, hopefully going through a surgery (which could involve outdated anesthesia and risks of infection).  The difference between their experience and mine is day and night.  Maybe that's why a huge wave of gratefulness mixed with guilt hit me as I walked out of the surgery center with Titus.  Grateful for what God has given us, and sad that not everyone has access to the same care, and guilty that I can't do more to narrow the gap.