Tracking Ed Monroe as he travels to Haiti and other exotic(?) places

Monday, March 31, 2008

Monday bedtime

I have been trying to post more Ambians photos and they take 20 minutes to download so I'll call it quits for tonight and get some much needed sleep. I did share my M & M Peanuts tonight and they were a big hit. We had enchilada's tonight for supper. Larry S, I am not missing you cooking too much. We saw 229 patients today as we cut off early. The entire clinic is in mourning for our deceased man. It really affected the team, our Haitian workers, and many of the patients. There were several bad cases today and one fammily is in need of a sponsor if any of my readres would care to sponsor this 6 month old, failure to thrive baby whom we sent to the Cuban pediatrician at the San Michel hospital. The cost is $ 300.00 per year or $ 25.00 per month. Just let me know and I will take care of it from this end.
PS, I need some ideas for some good April Fools jokes on my team mats so send in those comments, please.

AmbiansPhotos 2

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Ambians Photos 1

Early Monday evening

Wow, the internet is still working and it looks like rain. I’ll try to rush. I did get Dick’s main computer back working again. There was a problem with the anti virus and I figured out where the conflict was and I was able to resolve it. Yeah for me-Ha! My day started very early as John had a rough overnight with his sore foot. I gave him some tramadol and it made him nauseated but he is much better now, Next, Renel, one of our outside helpers and a young man that always has a smile for me, came to me to fill some orders. I understood most of them but I had questions abot the third. Renel’s English is fair so I asked him where the patient was so I could question the person as to what we were treating. We began to walk out of the compound and Dick stopeed us to ask what was going on. It turned out that the order was for Renel’s mother-in law and he was taking me up to his home on the hill ( about a mile away) to ask her. I am very glad that Dick caught us. Later in the day, we showed the order to Dr Nelson and, as I had suspected, it was an order from Dr. Bertrand for blood work. About 8:30 our ambulance driver (he carries patients in his wheelbarrow and makes a sound like an ambulance) came screaming by the pharmacy. Long story short, he brought in a man who died about 9:30 of acute liver failure and we were almost helpless to comfort him. That set a pall over everyone and every Haitian employee and every team member had to pay their respects. I asked Diana to pray for him and I lost my composure as I am a big softy. Next, Mark P, our pharmacist on the upcoming May mission had emailed me to look for some of his notebooks so I did a little-very little-cleaning and discovered a document that someone had left and I wish I had found it earlier. I have to find the author of the Auto-Sub list. For those in Renee’s fan club you will have to ask her how I cured her leg cramps. No, I did NOT get to massage them-darn! She tells me that her fan club is very curious about some of the remarks that I have made about her. Please be advised that I can be bribed with a financials contribution to FOTCOH in her name. I will alert the FOTCOH treasurer to watch for the flood of mailed in money. We have begun to run out of some medications and are hoarding others. That makes my job more difficult to switch meds to solve the same problem-IF I am able to find a substitute. We did use the last of the infant formula so any who truly wants to do a good deed, please help FOTCOH with baby formula donations and baby bottle donations. We never seem to have enough. My thanks to Carol Miller, APN of the September team for all that we have had for this mission. The Cubs are on TV in the lounge, my wine is tasty, and I want to try to post this and some pictures so I’ll try again later. Thanks to my family for the emails today-they carried me a long way when I was in tears. Well, the internet went out again and so this will go later. I have also found out that we will have a manicurist here for our last day so we can look “pretty” for our trip home. I wonder if I will have time for one.
Wow, the internet is back. THANK YOU to my readers for the comments. I love them!! They inspire me greatly.

Monday noon time 2

I was able to get two blogs posted and MAYBE I'll get to send some pictures at the end of clinic today. Thanks for all your prayers.

Monday March 31

It is 5:15 AM and I am up. Our unfriendly neighborhood rooster decided at 5 AM that it was time to announce the day to the world. I did not sleep very soundly last night. I went to bed at 8:30 PM and that is not a typographical error. I awoke at 11 PM and decided to try to post to the internet. Renee was still awake and on the laptop and had made a connection. I was not so lucky. Liz, her room mate was still awake and reading. I tried for an hour to get out but with no success, even on the main computer. A little while later, I light a mosquito coil for the girls in the other upstairs bedroom as they were getting bitten as they slept. Morning is coming as I hear Diedudone whistling outside the clinic. He rides his bike from Jacmel to the clinic and is always the first to arrive. Back to my night, when I returned to bed I laid awake for a long time. Some time later, I heard John awake and got up to help him. He managed to twist his ankle yesterday and it is painful. David, my other room mate was also up several times overnight.
The weather today is stormy. There was thunder and lightning all night long and a great downpour is occurring outside. At some point overnight the electricity from EDH stopped and my fan no longer gave me comfort. When Papa Dick awakens he will turn on the generator. We have been giving it an extreme workout and it is wearing out. We could sure use about $ 30,000.00 USD to purchase a new one. The breeze from this storm is cool and coming from the south. I am sitting on the third floor near the computers and enjoying the cool breeze and it is really raining hard. As I type this, I am praying for our patients who are outside the compound waiting to be seen. They must be huddled under the tarp that we have placed there as a temporary shelter. I am sure they are wet and cold and maybe a little scared. With all of this thunder and lightening I wonder how we will hold a clinic today. If we do manage to hold one we will track lots of mud and sand on to the slick tile floor and have an accident waiting to happen. Barb just woke up and passed by. The sky is getting lighter in the south and east so maybe the rain will stop, the sun will come out, and the internet will up and running. Papa Dick is awake and soon I’ll hear the generator running. Jeremy, who sleeps on the third floor balcony and not on the roof, must have been awakened by the rain that had to be blowing on him.
I failed to mention, yesterday, that Diana attended a Haitian church service at the time we were having our prayer service. She hated to miss our group and had stayed up till 11:30 PM the night before and written a note to each team member and placed them on a kitchen table in the form of a cross. She shared later that she sat with Suzette, one of our Haitian pill packers and they shared a song book. Diana was invited to sing a solo and I imagine, with her beautiful voice, that it was very moving. Diana reminds me so much of my young friends in Peoria who are involved in the Teens Encounter Christ program that I have worked with over the past several years.I hope Dick gets the power on soon so I can make the coffee. Ha! Diesel fuel for the generator costs over $ 5.00 per gallon here. I am sorry that I cannot report how many gallons per hour that the generator consumes but I know this is exceeding our budget. Ah, we have lights and I hear the sound so I am off to make the coffee

After the beach

The internet is down and it was too slow earlier to download all of the pictures than I wanted to send. Sorry about that. The Kansas game is going on and we have an alumnus, Dave, on our team. It is now sunset so I’ll pause and check out the sunset over the mountains and under the clouds. It was beautiful and I even saw the green flash that I do not see in Florida. Thank you, Lord,
It rained and poured at the beach and we sat under the patio of the partially finished “resort” for quite awhile. The usual vendors appeared and it was quite crowded but the girls enjoyed the shopping. The veterans will understand that we had problems with the pushy Tee shirt lady. Franz, our interpreter, Papa Dick, and the manager of the building all tried to shoo her away and she kept putting her wares deeper into the building to protect them from the downpour/ Finally, Dick banned her from the place and no one purchased a tee shirt from her. Wow, the game in the background is getting noisier. It is hard to think, let alone type when the crowd is screaming loudly. After the rain, we got out on the beach and into the water. We also walked the beach and Renee and Liz were treated to a strip show by a two year old boy and his slightly older brother. They played on the beach as we walked along and really wanted the attention. Yes, we have pictures that I’ll try to load later but they may get censored. I showed Renee, Liz, Holly and David the beach house where clinic was held a few years ago. We walked up to the fishing boats on the west end of the beach and past the partially constructed building, I do not know if it is a house, restaurant, or what ever. In any event there has been quite a bit of progress on it since my February visit and all of the partial concrete that exposed the empty cement bags that had been thrown into the cement and built into the building were covered up and the concrete smoothed over. This is the building that used empty 55 gallon plastic barrels for concrete column molds and they are set at an irregular fashion.
The band that we enjoyed last July was playing in the east side restaurant and came to entertain us once again. Our meal of fish (said to be snapper but much more bony that the Florida snapper) was excellent Lots of rice and beans, lots of fried plantains, fresh tomatoes, and pickly (a spicy Cole slaw). Every one had a good time and it was another great day. Kansas has just won and the noise level is very intense. Go Kansas. Final four is all number 1 seeds. Dave, our Kansas fan, just asked if he should turn down the TV. No was the reply but you can turn yourself off. That was funny! I enjoyed another one of Jeremy’s special cigars at the beach. It was very excellent. The beach was littered with garbage and trash and we watched it get washed into the sea. It was a very sad site. I hate to end on that note but it is time to do some exercise and stretch out my back. It continues to stay pain free but I did get hollered at this morning by David as I slept for awhile on my back and snored. David put in his ear plugs and went back to sleep. Both of us had joked that we wanted to be far away from John as he has snored loudly in the past and this time it was me. Yes, I apologized As always, thanks for taking the time to read this. I would love it if you would care to send along a comment or two. So far, only my family has been brave enough to comment. Come on fans!!!

Monday Noon

Internet finally working so I'll try to catch up. Please say a prayerfor the man who came in with acute liver failure and we did all that we could to try to save him. It is sad to report that he was dead by 9:30 AM.

Sunday, March 30, 2008

Back at you

Papa Dick wanted to shut the generator off for awhile so I quickly published the blog just in case the internet goes out in the mean time. I’ll revert back to typing this in Word and cutting and pasting to the blog later when we have power.

We had a nice time at Ambians last evening. I stayed back at the clinic to rest while most of the team shopped in Jacmel. I needed rest more than shopping. They found some nice bargains and we met up at Ambians around 4 PM. We had the place mainly to ourselves which was better than the crowds at Karnival time. The street was as busy as ever and the stop light was not working until 5 PM. It is hilarious to watch some Haitians obey it and usually 1 or 2 motorbike operators ignore it. We did not see any wrecks however just 1 close call. I did get to enjoy my meal of conch (I do not think I have spelled it correctly) and it was delicious. I sat between Dr Nelson and Holly and we had a good visit. Jeremy shared one of his Honduran cigars with me and it was excellent. Jeremy was able to talk with his wife on Dick’s cell phone to let her know he was doing okay. Prestige beer was $ 2.00 at Ambians and the rum punch was $ 5.00. No, I will not divulge how many the team drank or even how many I consumed. I did enjoy sitting in the warm sun at Ambians and people watch-both Haitian and my team mates. There were very few “blancs” in Jacmel on Saturday. Blancs are anyone who is not white (Blanc = white). I was surprised at that as our plane was full of missionary Blancs and I had expected to see a team or a stray while we were in town. I expect that I’ll see some this afternoon at Ti Moulage. I also hope to get more warm sunshine time today.
It is too bad that we will not get to show off “Basin Bleu”, the waterfall in the mountains west of Jacmel, to this team. I suspect the road is not repaired from the January rain damage yet. You at home, who have the program “Google Earth”, can find some pictures of Basin Bleu, Jacmel, and Ti Moulage when you do a little “flying” with Google Earth on your computer. Try it some time, as I find it to be fun.
I wish I had more gossip to share with you but it is more fun to keep you and the team guessing what I will say or do next. I teased Diana that I wanted to buy her a beer or take a picture of her with a beer bottle but I was a good boy, for a change. I will share that David and Boyer were flying insect magnets at Ambians and I attribute that to what ever cologne they were wearing. It was interesting to see the cloud of insects hovering around their heads. Liz and Renee were on their best behavior – I say this to assure their family members who will better understand the hidden meaning of my remark. All in all, we just had a fun time with food, drink, laughter, and fellowship.
I just browsed through previous posts and I want to apologize for the many miss-spelled words. I am embarrassed and will try to run the spell checker and do a better proof read before I publish. To put it in to Target Pharmacy lingo-you must do a triple check-.
The internet is acting up again. The pages load very slowly, if they load at all.
The clinic is beginning to come alive so I’ll try to publish this and write more later.
It is now after the Sunday morning prayer service and the sharing was as wonderful. You learn more what this mission means to others and, from Dick and Barb, how the Haitian people appreciate the work that we do. I’ll again state how great it is to work with this team. So far, they have not been too annoyed by my teasing and my jokes. I understand that Katie has downloaded her pictures to one of the computers so I’ll put them on our jump drive and download them so you will be able to better picture our activities. It is time to save this as we are about to have electrical problems again. Wow for the first time in a week we can shut off the generator snd rely on EDH power.

Sunday morning

The sun is up, I]ve slept late, the coffee is made, and the internet is back working. We lost the connection sometime yesterday morning and regained it this morning, I tried every remedy I could to fix it but the porblem was with Hughes Net and I did not have a way to do satellite repairs. Ha!
On Friday we saw 265 patients and then 131 yesterday for our 1/2 day clinic. This team has become very efficient and effective. Ther are very dedicated, fun loving, and easy to work with. The interaction between them as they share information about patients and problems would take a lot longer to be as smooth as it flows if we were in the States with all of PC problems and such.
Early Saturday morning, my friend Nego appeared at the patient staging area, Renel came to find me and I got to meet Nego's two sisters and made sure that they were seen. Nego is a young man from Jacmel who is involved in youth ministy here in Haiti. We try to visit each time I am here. He leaves for Ft Myers soon for a month's training with the Christian ministry group that he works with. I came back to the clinic and brought out Diana who is involved in youth campus ministry in Kentucky. She enjooyed meeting with him and was able to pray with a sick patient on the way back. This will be brief as the power is about to go off

Saturday, March 29, 2008

Picture 1

Renee & Ed
Cute girl

Mama and baby with Renee

Diana and her fan club
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Picture 2

Renee & Patient


Notice the tee shirt

Liz and her new friend
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Picture 3

Yes, this is Renee's pictures if you could not tell.

David and friend

Bad burn on baby

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Picture 4

Jeremy and John

The cove where we swim

March FOTCOH girls

Nice family
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Picture 5

Smile for the camera

Renee, Linda, and Liz


Ed, Liz, and David
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Saturday March 29

Good morning. He sun is rising and that seem to chase the clouds away so the internet signal gets through. We did nt get the rain yesterday that I expected but the past two days have been cooler and less humid or I am getting used to the weather. Either way, I have not been drenched in sweat during the day nor even overnight. Yes, I am hydrating well because I make frequent bathroom visits.
I helped nurse Renee set up and write to her blog. We downloaded her pictures on this laptop so there are a few for you on this post.
An important part of The Friends Of The Children of Haiti (FOTCOH) is the sponsor child program. For $ 25.00 USD someone can sponsor a child with FOTCOH and that child is given money for food, clothing and school. It costs money to go to school in Haiti and unoforms are required. My child came for a visit the other day and I was very busy. Boyer, our main man here in Haiti, brought him into the work area of the pharmacy. The boydid not recognize me even though I had spent some time with him and his father when I was here in February. I ran upstairs to get the markers and color book that I had brought for him. I forgot the papers from my grandchildren and their pictures that I had for him in the rush of things. I did share my jelly beans (one of my favorite candies) with him. Boyer encouraged him to put it in his mouth and he looked confused until the sweet taste took over and then we got a smile. The girls that I work with made a fuss over him but we failed to take his picture even though the camera was nearby. Darn, he always comes when I am the busiest.
By now, I hope you read about our early Christmas present of rescue inhalers and other breathing medications. We saw 265 patients yesterday and 243 the day before so this it the little team that works. Our leader, John, joked a the team meeting that many of us were complete strangers until last Monday and now you would never know it. I have not noticed the fishermen out on the open water on this mission and Papa Dick tells me the water is too rough. To go along with this, the Ambians restaurant where we are to eat tonight has only 3 lobster meals so we are having the newbies enjoy that treat. I hope to have conch. I ordered it in February but never got it and settled for grilled shrimp.
I’ll load this and some pictures now. Today will be a half day with shopping in Jacmel this afternoon.

Friday, March 28, 2008

Christmas in late March

Yes, folk, there is a Santa Claus. Or rather, my thanks to our good and gracious Father God. He does make all thing possible. We obtained today-the same that we ordered them 100-yes dear readers-100 rescue albuterol inhalers. Dr Nelson ordered them from a new supplier he has in Port-Au-Prince and they shipped them out today and they arrived around 4 PM. We paid $ 3,75 USA dollars for them. With shipping costs, we could not have paid that low a price with our USA close out supplier. International Aid. I am thrilled beyond words as now we can better treat 100 more children. Not only that but the case of medications that I culled from Methodist Medical Center pharmacy arrived today. I shipped it on February 22, 2008. It has several corticosteroid (drugs to keep the asthma in check) so we will treat our asthmatics even better now. God is good all the time-all the time God is so good!
It is supper time but I wanted to rejoice with this news as soon as I could as I am bursting with joy. I also learned that my son's operation went well but that he is in a lot of pain. This is his weekend with his 4 children and I know they will care and comfort him. Again I say "Praise the Lord at all time! Praise the Lord!

Frday March 28

Hello again. We have rain again this morning. Yesterday we had a light shower for a better pat of the afternoon. It also looks like it rained most of the night but I did not notice. I was tired and in bed just after 9 PM.
It is so interesting to be on a team other than my normal group as I see things from another perspective. This team, uses little Rocephin (an injectable antibiotic). They are seeing less goiter and using no additional folic acid. As expected, we are seeing a lot of fungus so Griseofulvin use is high. We have run out of rescue inhalers for asthmatics and that is not good. We will try to get some locally but have doubts that we can. This team used lots of clotrimazole vag suppositiries and they are now gone so it is back to the nystatin ones and we have a quantity of that. One of my helpers, Diana the princess, is involved in youth ministry in her home in Kentucky. She sings beautifully and the pharmacy is filled with song, which make the day pass quickly. The interpreters did manage to tease her about the word shot which means cat in kreole but they refer to it in the American slang way and her face got a little red. Note to Becky and Marna from July: There are two pediatric nurses from Children's Memorial in Chicago who are the work image of you two and I would love to see the 4 of you get together sometime. They are constantly looking for work to help me and any one else. They are bubbly and smiling all the while and they thirst for knowledge. Great to have them on the team. Another item about the team is that I have less reason to leave the pharmacy to clarify and order so I do not get as many breaks as I do on the February team. The last patient we saw was a woman with three children, ages 12, 2 and 3 months. They were all terribly skinny, the babies looked the same age, both seemed lifeless; the little family came from the mountains, and had walked a long time to get to us. The 2 year old's hair was red; black babies hair turns red because of malnourishment.
I invite you to view the blog of Diana, the princess (yes she loves to be called the princess) to gain another perspective of this mission. It is located at
Time for breakfast, My back is still holding up well. I am worried about a friend back in Peoria who is in a nursing home and may not be alive when I return, so keep him in your prayers, please. Thanks for all you do for me, for FOTCOH, and for the Haitian people.

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Thursday March 27, 2008

Okay so I was off by one day on yesterday's blog. As ususl, I am a day late and a dollar short. That would be me-Ha!
This morning the sunrise is blocked by the rain clouds. I am sitting at my usual ricking chair on the third floor balcony but away from the railing. He rain is a fine mist and there is a nice cool breeze along with it. We did not get rain yesterday but today may be the day for a rain.
We saw 253 patients yesterday so it was a busy day. We finished in the pharmacy at 5 PM and I was happy about that. One of the strange things yesterday was that we had several large families to deal with at the end and therefore lots of screaming kids. I teased crowd control that the mix was intentional foul. I understand that we treated a severe burn case but I did not get to see it.
My back held out for another day and I experienced no pain. I do my stretching and exercises and that is working so far. Diana, again, sat on my back to help me to stretch. She has learned that I am strange. Ha!
Just after I came up from the pharmacy at 5 PM, Barb introduced me to Gerald Jean. He is a young man that helped build he clinic and is currently studying Architecture (sp?) at a college in Port-Au-Prince. The rain has driven me inside. Several people help to sponsor Gerald Jean and they collected money to purchase a computer for him. I managed to order it and carry it into the country. So, instead of a rest, I helped him to set up the computer. Our internet connection has slowed down and long story short we finished at 9 PM with time for dine and team meeting in between. Gerald Jean loves to sing and had some Christian music he was trying to learn. Diana taught him the song? Doxology”. She is involved in youth ministry at her home in Kentucky. She also has a beautiful voice and sang for us. The guitar made out and she is trying to tune it. I was amazed to find out you can use the internet to tune a guitar.
Katy was assigned to help me in the pharmacy yesterday and was very nervous and cautious all morning long. After lunch I told her that I was comfortable with allowing her to work independently and she really did a good job then. She double and triple checked her work and asked questions when the need arose. I am very proud of Katy.
This team continues to work well together and laughter is the medicine of the day. They are a hard working, fun loving, and very professional group. It is so neat to watch them all pitch in to help whenever help is needed. I am proud to work with them.
I got up a little later today as it was after 10 when I finally got to bed so breakfast calls. Thanks for your prayers. We feel them down here.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Tuesday morning, March 25

Good morning from Cyvadier. The sunrise will not be as beautiful this morning due to the rain clouds in the sky. The clouds are also slowing down the internet connection. Oh well!
I had another great night of sleeping. I went to bed at 9 PM tired, in very little pain, and happy to be a part of this team. We were able to see 130 patients on our first day. That made life for me much easier here than the February crush of 200 plus. I am very impressed with my team mates. I was apprehensive about working with a group of people whom I had never met before. Silly me, they are very dedicated, hard working, friendly, caring, and they tease well. It is nice to be a part of a smaller team as the wait for a bathroom is lessened. The crowd in the dining room is less so no one has to eat on the stairs. There are less opinions at the team meetings and the ht water for showers stretches later in the morning.
I also want to compliment them for giving me so much help in the pharmacy and so much concern about my back pain. I feel very comfortable and protected. Diana, the veterinary technician, got stuck with the job of being my assistant. She was excellent to work with. I mean no disrespect to Carol S, Mary H, Sharon D, and others who have worked with me on previous teams, but having a helper who knows the medications ( we us the same rug on dogs) and knows how to calculate doses save me lots of time. She is very accurate, is willing to learn new things, gives back as much or more teasing as I can give her, and over all fun to have around. Note to Mary H, another problem with mooning occurred with Diana and darned if I did not get forced to discover that you did know how to moon after all. Katy jumps in to help when she can and Liz, Renee, and Linda showed up after they finished and we closed up at 5: 30 PM. That is good for the first day. The rains came about 3 PM, hard and cool so we moved the providers and our patients into as much cover as we could find. It stopped just as we closed the pharmacy. This morning looks like a rainy day also. David is in to exercising as is Jeremy so I have people to keep me motivated for my back exercises. I did have to stop yesterday about 3 PM and do some stretching in the prayer position and that was a smart idea. Diana got stuck with the task of sitting on my back at the end of the day. She enjoyed inflicting the pain, darn.
Our temperatures have been tolerable as my sweat level was less than February. The rain did cool things off for awhile but the humidity is as high as usual. We had lost of little babies yesterday to enjoy and our usual quantity of screamers. My water gun got turned on me several times and my team mates may try to steal it away soon. I do need to report that this team is using quite a bit of Ivermectin and Sue B may have been correct after all. Dang, I hate it when she is right. We are also having problems with the green return to clinic and I wish we would have gone over that better before we started. Oh well! A note to Donna, your favorite tree with the purple spiked flower has only one flower remaining. A note to Chip, the shower is dripping and I can't get it to shut off and the corn is ankle high and is looking good. A note to Carolyn W, Jacky is doing okay but seem to expect that I bring home something on each mission. A note to Colson, your brother is not working on this clinic so I still have his gift. A note to all of you, thanks for your prayers, support and love. It means so much to me. The sun is up and breakfast is ready so I'll close and say a short prayer for all of you. Bonde bene ou= God bless you.

Monday, March 24, 2008

Monday March 24 6 PM

Arrived here safe and sound(?). No major problems. I am excited by the enthusiasm of this team and the strength of the veterans and the can't do enough attitude of the newbies. This will be brief as we are having power issues at the present. We are having a new automatic cross over switch from the EDH power and the generator. EDH is supposed to be on but I hear the generator. Very Haitian. Just waned to let everyone to know we are here and all is well.

Friday, March 21, 2008

Friday before we depart

Hello again. It is so great to be in less pain for the upcoming mission. With the help of the Depo Medrol injection, my chiropractor, Mt Buettner, and the folks at Body Fitness gym, I have managed to go the entire week relatively pain free. Of course, when I over extend myself the pain returns to a lesser degree than before the injection. The difference is I know what to do to relieve it. I have taken much less Ibuprofen and tramadol this week than before so I am making progress.
The exciting news is the D. Jeremy Ufert, M.D. is joining us for the mission. I have served on 3 other teams with Jeremy and it is wonderful that he is available to come to Haiti with us. I have already hear from his wife that I am to watch over him so he stays healthy. On his last trip to Haiti, he became very ill and we had to send him home with his wife very early in the mission. I hope he has fully recovered. He and his wife have moved to San Antonio, Texas where his wife is teaching at an orthodontics school.
I am almost packed. I still have my back pack and carry on to finish. I was called to work at a pharmacy in Lacon, Illinois today and worked for 3 hours there and will work for 4 1/2 hours tomorrow. It is a test of my stamina and how well my back holds up to standing. Fortunately, I am able to sit down often and I suspect I will have to do the same in Haiti. I hope Dick has built that stool for me. I also have to pick up some items for Dick and Barb from their grandson but we are having trouble getting together. I'll try again tomorrow.
I do not know if I'll get the chance to post anymore until we reach Haiti so the next time you hear from me may be Monday night or Tuesday morning. Please continue to keep us in your prayers. Thanks

Saturday, March 15, 2008

My back

It is Saturday night and I am again pain free. Thanks to Dr Li and Depo Medrol! I was able to sleep through the nigh pain free for the first time since Feburary 16. Hooray. There is still a tingle and just enough to remind me that I can't quit exercising and stretching to keep the pain at bay. Getting old is HELL after all! So, it is on to Haiti in less than 9 days. The team emails are reaching snowstorm levels as I had expected. I have MOST of the stuff packed. I just got word that Dick and Barb in Haiti have more items for me to bring so I'll have to squeeze the in somehow.
Please continue to keep us in your prayers and a BIG THANK YOU for reading this blog

Thursday, March 13, 2008

More team photos

Lynn & Diedonne

Laurie and a friend


Maureen & Dr Frantz Nelson

I am sorry that I do not have photos of the remaining 4 team members YET.

Some team members photos


Barb & Dick


John, our leader


Tuesday, March 11, 2008

March Mission to Haiti

Hello once again.
Here comes the March mission, rushing forward like the proverbial March Lion. We leave on March 23 in order to get to O’Hare airport for a 6:15AM flight from Chicago to Miami. Our small team is made up of 9 nurses, 2 non medical people, and your favorite pharmacist-me! There are 4 people coming from the state of Washington, 1 from Minnesota. 1 from Kentucky, and 6 (I think-I do not have addresses on two but I assume they are from Illinois) from Illinois. I am not sure, at this point, how many are FOTCOH experienced workers and how many are first timers. We do not have a USA physician. We will need to rely on Dr. Frantz Nelson. He is a Dominican Republic trained Haitian physician. He helps out Dr Garron Lukas, our FOTCOH surgeon, during Garron’s trips to Haiti. He also works with Dr Martinez, the Jacmel OB-GYN physician who has our operating suite in his office and lets us do surgeries there. So this will be a most interesting mission. I doubt that we will be able to do much in the way of treating new patients and I think our focus will be on refills for existing Haitians. It is a wait and see situation, for sure.
The geographical separation of the team is making it hard to get all of our needs shipped in our two 50 lb allowed baggage. For example, I have almost 280 lbs of vitamins and no way to get them in to Haiti on time unless I have them carried in. In times past, we have had bags seized by Haitian customs when they contained medications. The customs people want us to pay them a duty in order to get our bags. This causes a long delay and often costs hundreds of dollars. Not a good use of FOTCOH’s donations, for sure. I am still hopeful of a better solution. In the mean time, I will ship out the excess that I have so it will be there for the May team.
One other issue that I should mention is my health. During the Valentine’s Day week last month, I drove with my wife, my sister-in-law, my nephew and his girl friend to Dallas Texas for a wedding. It was about a 14 hour ride. The ride down was uneventful except for some ice we encountered around Springfield, Mo. We enjoyed ourselves at my nephew’s wedding. On the way home, I allowed my 47 year old nephew to drive my BMW X-5. He proceeded to drive around 95 MPH while returning calls on his cell phone. Needless to say, that made me quite tense. The next driver was my wife. She recently had cataract surgery on both eyes and this would be the first time she drove with her “new” eyes. Again, I got just a little tense helping her to navigate the St. Louis Mo. Interstate puzzle. We arrived home around midnight on Friday. Saturday was a great day and we caught up on a few projects. Sunday was a different story. My back and right leg hurt so bad I could not get out of bed to go to Mass. I went to my internist on Monday for my regularly scheduled yearly checkup. He prescribed a muscle relaxant. This did not make any dent in the pain. On Tuesday, I had a therapeutic massage and that gave me some relief. On Wednesday, it was off to the Chiropractor. Dr Mark has now worked with me regularly since and I am relatively pain free-IF I do lots of stretches and exercises. I have also been seen by a rehab doctor who specializes in spinal trauma. So now it is almost two weeks later. I am spending over 1 hour in the gym each day, doing lots of stretches, going to the chiropractor 3 times a week for bone cracking, spinal traction, and heat/ice therapy. I have just come from the spinal rehab doc and she will give me a spinal injection of Lidocaine & steroids on Friday, March 14.

That should ease the inflammation and pain and allow me to go on the mission as planned. I will have to figure out which exercises I can do during the trip and at the clinic to avoid the flare ups. There is a lot of arthritis on L-5. I must be getting older. HA!

As I stated earlier, this should be a most interesting mission. I hope I have not bored you with my medical problems. I also hope you will continue to follow the blog. I appreciate all of your prayers and support.