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.