Thursday, November 26, 2009


Last Friday, a man came in the hospital that has been a patient in wound care since I first arrived to Honduras, three months ago. He was admitted to the hospital with a dangerously high potassium level in his blood. His potassium was high because his kidneys had begun to fail and they were unable to filter like they should.

When one's potassium gets extremely high, the heart begins beating in an arrythmia, and eventually stops all together. This man had the highest potassium I had ever seen (8.0), and if he were in the States, he would be sent immediately to an intensive care unit for serious monitoring and intervention. Here, there is no ICU. We don't have the resources for all the interventions he would need to get his potassium down fast enough.

I felt completely helpless. There was little I could do to help this sweet, elderly man that I had gotten to know over the past few months. I knew that it was likely that something serious would happen to him any minute. I asked him how he was feeling about everything. He just said that he was worried about what was going on with his health and that he knew that he needed to have patience, and trust in God. Tears filled my eyes as I knelt by his bed and prayed with him, knowing that was all I could do.

It has been said by several of the missionaries here, that so many times when they have done all they can do for these patients, God steps in and takes care of the rest. I am beginning to see that here.

God protected this patient throughout the night as medications were started and his potassium was brought down. By the morning it was at a normal level again, and he was discharged from the hospital a few days later.

It's humbling, but oh so comforting to be reminded that we really don't have control. God is greater than anything that presents itself in this world.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Te Damos Gracias

The last few weeks have been filled with surgeries in the hospital. We had an orthopedic surgeon and nurse anesthetist come to the hospital from the States to perform most of these surgeries. It was really exciting because I got to scrub in and assist in one of them. To be honest, I thought I was going to pass out for the first ten minutes. My hands started to tingle, things got a little blurry, and I found that breathing became something I needed to think about, rather than just do. Although I have been in surgery several times before, it's very different when you are standing four feet away from the procedure, than when you are a few inches from it. Thankfully, once we got past cutting the skin, and actually to the blood and guts, things got better.

This surgery was a 3 hour surgery, restoring the use of a womans hand that she had not been able to bend voluntarily after nerve damage that had taken place a long time ago. Here we were, correcting this problem, and I couldn't help but think about the love of God.

In normal circumstances, this woman would have no chance of ever having her hand repaired. Without the hospital being here, she would probably not be able to pay the bus fare into one of the bigger cities for treatment, much more, pay the medical bills for the surgery. She would more than likely live with the handicap for the rest of her life.

Ah, but God loves. He loves His people. The purest love. The details are just as important to Him as is the big picture. You see, several years ago, God moved on a young man's heart to start a mission hospital. God gave him and several others a desire to serve an underpriviledged people. Then, after the hospital was established, God lead an orthopedic surgeon to come volunteer at the hospital a few times a year.

I can just imagine this patient as a little girl. Unbeknown to her, she would one day suffer a serious injury, but God was already working on her behalf. He had already begun to set up a way for her to get the medical care that she needed.

Even more beautiful to me is that this woman did not have a life threatening injury. She had a handicap that she could make do with for the rest of her life. But God cares about the things that we care about. He takes us along a journey called life, and asks for our trust, and He promises His goodness to us. He is committed to His own. He has already proven that all of Him is invested in us: He gave us everything that He had to offer, His son.

Find comfort in that fact that God is working, even when you can't see it. He has the obstacles already worked out. Rest in that.

For most of us, though, we face a much greater temptation than that of being in fear that God won't take care of us. There is another temptation that is much more deadly to our walk: failure to recognize His provision in our lives. Always looking back, or trying to run ahead, we are rarely grateful with where He has placed us today. After all the provision of the Lord, and mercy that He has poured out on us, we deny his goodness by our ungratefulness and failure to be content. Our actions, our groanings and complaints, say that despite everything that He has done, it simply is not good enough.

We are commanded in scripture to give thanks in ALL things. In every dead end road, every valley, every gain, every loss, every grief, every disappointment, every time things don't make sense, we are commanded to give thanks. We give thanks because, in everything, we find our confidence in the goodness of God.

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Science Project 2

It works! Today I took off the bandaids, not having itched my bug bites once:) I did find that toothpaste works if the bandaid falls off, and the bite starts to itch. Apparently it just replaces the itching with a more burning sensation, which I would rather have, personally.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Science Project

So, mosquitoes are a pretty big deal here, for a number of reasons.

First, they are vectors of awful diseases like Malaria and, much worse, Dengue Fever. Malaria is easily treated here, but until you realize that is what you have, and you finally give the treatment long enough for it to start helping, you feel miserable and are for the most part, incapacitated. Dengue Fever, on the other hand, is known as the "bone breaking" disease. It lives up to this nickname by causing it's victims to feel such severe body aches that the pain is best related to their bones breaking. The first time one gets Dengue, the high fever and body aches is mostly what you have to look forward to. The second time one gets it, that person has a high chance of getting a much worse form of Dengue known as Hemorrhagic Dengue. bleed out and die, unless you go to a nice hospital where blood transfusions are readily available.

The second reason why mosquitoes are such a big deal here is that they are relentless. It's possible to have 33 bites on just your legs (I achieved this two weeks ago, unfortunately).

Although the former reason of mosquitoes being vectors is the more serious, I am going to address the latter. As primary defense, insect repellent should always be worn when the sun begins to go down. Sometimes this isn't achieved, however, for whatever reason (out of repellent, forgot to bring it along, busy having fun, thinking you are immune, chatting with a friend and not wanting to break conversation). The result? You get eaten alive.

We all know that it is better not to itch these malicious bug bites: first, because you'll get nasty scabs if you do; and second, it makes them itch more and for longer period of time (a bug bite will itch two weeks instead of two days). The initial itch of a bug bite tends to be (although not always) caused by something brushing up against the bite, and then it is all down hill from there. The anti-itch creams are applied, but they are a joke. I was told tonight that vinegar works for some people. Of all the methods I have tried, none of them seem to be really effective in relieving my mind of the constant screaming inside my head of how much the bite on my toe itches (bites on toes and palms are the WORST!).

So, what needs to be done? My theory, as of tonight, is that the initial itch must be avoided at all costs. So I have begun to test this method out by placing band aids on each one of my new bug bites. I have 12 band aids on my legs right now. Consequently, I will be wearing pants until I am certain these bites are ineffective (shout out to Ms. At Lee) and I can taken the band aids off. In turn, wearing pants means that I have more protection against potential bug bites. It's a win-win situation.

This is only hour 4 of my experiment, and so far it seems to be working splendidly. We'll have to see how it goes over the next 3 days.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

In life, I live for Him; In death, I die for Him

On Thursday night, one of our patients passed away.

She first came to Loma de Luz a little over a year ago, to receive care for complications of AIDS. She and her 11 year old daughter quickly won the hearts of the missionary community here. Her desire for the Word was something that was talked about by many people at her memorial service. Her love for God was evident as I cared for her in her final days.

While her conditioned worsened, and she began to need several blood transfusions a week, she went to a hospital in the city, while her daughter was cared for in the Children's Center. She made several trips back and forth over the past year, as she would recover and then become ill again.

Two weeks ago, knowing that she was dying, she chose to leave the city hospital and come to Loma de Luz to spend her last days and be close to her daughter.

At her memorial service, the people sang a song in Spanish, with a chorus that basically states, In life, I live for Him. In death, I die for Him.

I have always thought about living for God as something that brings Him glory. I have never really saw death as an opportunity to bring God glory. But actually, how glorious it is to be united with Love Himself. The object of Love's affection, man, is perfected; having no boundaries, and no unfaithfulness to her Lord. Sanctification is complete.

"Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of His Saints." Psalms 116:15

We, on earth, see the loss. We only see one side of the curtain. We do more than see it, we feel it. It's a weight that we carry wherever we go, unable to just open our hands and release it's, at times, paralyzing effect. But God sees the end and the beginning of life. He is present in both, He rejoices in both. He sees the grander scale: both sides of the curtain.

We live for Him. We die for Him.

"When you were slaves of sin, you were free in regards to righteousness. But what fruit were you getting at that time, from the things of which you are now ashamed? The end of those things is death. But now that you have been set free from sin and have become slaves of God, the fruit you get leads to sanctification and its end, eternal life. For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord."

Romans 6:20-23

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Stuck in the Mud

Huge Rainstorm+Dirt Roads=Really Really Muddy Roads
Standard Two-Wheel Drive Truck+ Mountains= Testing the Limits
Standard Two-Wheel Drive Truck+ Mountains+ Really Really Muddy Roads= FAIL!
All of the Above= Super Fun:)

The Dump

Here is young girl who lives at the city dump in La Ceiba. La Ceiba is about an hour and half drive from were the hospital is located. It is the third largest city in Honduras and is where we go weekly to get groceries. Many people live at the dump, and actually go through the trash to find things they can clean or build and re-sell.

One of the missionaries goes twice a week to the city dump (a place where many Hondurans reside) and teaches children about the Bible and gives them a meal. This is one of the girls who comes regularly to the program. There are several things to note about this picture. First, there is glass scattered on the ground under this girl's bare feet. There is no money for shoes, despite all the glass in the roads and walkways here. There's barely money for food. While walking through the streets, I saw one little boy crying and shouting at his mom about how hungry he was.

The second thing to notice is that she is eating out of her hands (which are far from clean). What is she eating? One of the children found a can of sweetened condensed milk in the garbage. All of the children began running up, cupping their hands so that they could share in on some of the treat.

I have to say that being there was a lot like I imagined it to be, but worse. Worse because what I imagined is actual reality. How blessed we are. And how greedy we can be with our blessings.

Houses at the dump

Children eating the lunch provided

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Very Pretty:)

Right now, it has been so dry here, that the dirt roads create huge, blinding clouds of dust when they are driven on. Something absolutely breath taking though is the way the sun reveals the rays of sunlights through the trees...

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Day 1 on Loma de Luz Campus

I arrived into Balfate (the county where the hospital is located) late Friday evening. For whatever reason, I didn't get a lot of good sleep that first night. And sleep is what I really needed after a very long day in the city. I woke up at 3am, and then wasn't able to really fall back to sleep until 6. About two hours later, the head of nursing comes knocking on my front door saying someone was in labor and they needed a pediatric nurse in case there were any complications with the baby. It isn't routine for the hospital to do births, but the midwife didn't want to turn her away because she was so far into labor.

There are two things I should make known: 1) pediatric nurses do NOT help deliver babies, in fact, pediatric nurses rarely take care of babies younger than 8 days old and 2)I have never seen a delivery much less helped out with one.

There I am, standing in the room, with no idea about what is about to happen, or how I should respond to whatever does happen. Within probably 10 minutes of my arrival, and baby girl is delivered. I'm soon handed this beautiful, small child...and I have no idea what to do with it. All I want to do is take vital signs and do a full assessment, but I just froze. Thankfully one of the doctors leaned over and started telling me things to do. Apparently my instinct to take a full set vitals was a miss:)

There is nothing like getting thrown in to learn how to swim. :)