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Molly Stroud
I am a 34 year old wife to Joel and mom to four sweet kids. Anna-13, Julia-11, Olivia-9, and Will-7. I lived a fairy tale life until the summer of 2008. My health came crashing down around me, and for the next three years I endured mountains of complications due to a hysterectomy. I've lost my sanity and am now a diagnosed manic depressive.. aka "Bipolar". I hope in sharing my experiences that I may encourage others not to lose hope... and to remind them that sanity is overrated.
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Sunday, January 31, 2010

Haiti earthquake.. part two

After running into the arms of my friend, Giraud, who had come to camp just to see me, I sobbed over the task I had just performed. I had never seen death firsthand, and to see it in two small children made it even more difficult. Giraud kept repeating, "Don't cry.. Don't cry.." He has been my friend since last January. He was a translator for us last year, but couldn't make it this year.. along with a few others: Andre, Sedot, and Alain. Giraud, (whom I call Ro-Ro) had stopped by the camp to visit me for our return trip from clinic, when the earthquake hit. I am so thankful he was in our compound, because everyone in our compound was spared. Here he is, hugging me and comforting me, and he doesn't even know if his own family is alive yet.

I pulled myself together, and asked about his family's welfare. He said he didn't know, and then proceeded to stay at camp for a short while to help us translate. He has been starting his ministry as a pastor this past year. He truly has a servant's heart. He is 21 years old. He hugged me again before he left, and promised to come back the next day to see me again.

For the next several hours, the wounded came pouring in. Family members and loved ones would carry in their wounded, and set them on the ground in front of us. At our inner gate, our Haitian workers had the heartbreaking task of keeping scared people out, and letting wounded people in. As the night waned on, and our medical supplies dwindled, their tasks would be even harder. They would have to pick and choose which wounded could be treated, and who we couldn't help.

People came in with severe cuts and scrapes. Dentists, hygenists, and nobodies like me became nurses. There were so many injured people, that if it was "only" a scrape or a cut, we tended to them ourselves after a doctor's approval.

One man came in with his face covered entirely with blood. Half his eyelid had been ripped off, and a 6 inch gash laid the back of his scalp open. As Dr. Bryan and I cleaned him up, he never made a sound.
We had no suture kits left at this point. The best we could do was pick the gravel out, wash it with tap water and iodine, and put antibiotic ointment on it. Our bandages had been resorted to: bedsheets torn into strips and rolled, bedsheets cut into squares as 4x4 gauze, and duct tape.

Throughout the night, there were many crush injuries to limbs, and more broken bones than I can count. A young man brought in either his girlfriend or wife, and her foot was literally hanging onto her leg by a few muscles and tendons. The construction men had rolled out the rubber roofing material we had at camp for the patients to lay on, and when they laid her down, her foot was pointing the wrong direction. Dr. Bryan came over to assess her leg. The only thing we could do for her at that moment was give her something for pain, and wrap her leg in bedsheet rolls with boards on either sides for splinting. I know it had to have been killing Bryan not to have an operating room to give these people better care, but we all made do with the situation we were given.

I honestly cannot recall every injury I helped in treating. There were many patients that I never even saw because of how many we had. I've looked back at pictures of myself helping someone, and truly not recalling who it was. The crying and wailing was all over camp and stretched beyond our gates. It was the cry of those in extreme amounts of pain, and those at the gates desperately wanting to get in. I began to block it out. I didn't have the luxury of breaking down, there was just too much to do. God's hand of protection surrounded me, and I continued on. Several times I wanted to stop. It was after midnight now, and we were all exhausted, but I told myself that I would go to bed when the doctors went to bed. Besides, there was no way I could just walk away from that scene 15 feet from my dorm, and sleep.
I kept thinking that at any moment, the wounded will stop coming... they had to! I was praying silently that the city wasn't as bad as it seemed.. maybe these were just local buildings that had collapsed. My thoughts were interrupted by the screams of a young child. I followed the sound over to our two doctors and two of the nurses holding down a child with a severely injured leg. I took one look at her wound, and gasped out loud. It looked like a shark had ripped a huge bite out of her lower right leg. Her bone was exposed, and the entire wound was covered in gravel. The nurses had put a towel over her arms to keep her from flailing. I knew there was nothing I could do to help, so I laid down on my stomach on the ground and held her head in my hands. I stroked her face, spoke softly to her, and sang to her. She would cease her screaming and look at me.. a bit puzzled that she couldn't understand me, but I believe she was comforted by the loving tone of a mother. Her silence would be broken by a new round of screams, and the comforting process would begin again.

Pain meds were given to her, and during the treatment process, she became very quiet. Here eyes were half open. I would gently pat her face to stimulate her as the nurses listened to her heartbeat. "She's not doing very well." they would say. She needed IV fluids, and an operation, but could receive neither. After they bandaged and splinted her, all we could do was put a towel under her head and leave her there. Some relatives had brought her in, and had left to go find her mother. After about an hour, her mother arrived.

Through a translator, I told her that her daughter's injury was very serious. She began to cry and say there was no way she could keep her now; that she would have to give her to her sister. Daphne, our translator, was telling the mother that her baby was still good, and she needed her mom. I asked the baby's name.. "Whitlyn". I left the scene, but noticed that the mother stayed and held Whitlyn in her arms. About an hour later, the familiar wail of grief resounded through the camp. Whitlyn had died. Her little body just gave out. In a strange way I felt relieved. I understood the suffering that child would endure before she got well... if she got well. The mother covered her face and rocked her and sang a haunting, mourning song. I couldn't stand and watch... I couldn't even cry with her... I had to keep going.
As hard as theses stories are for me to tell, the hardest ones yet are still to come.... continue to pray for the Haitian people.