Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

Back in Haiti

Posted: November 13, 2010 in Uncategorized

Hey everyone,

It feels so good to be back in Haiti after a 6 week fund raising trip to the states.  I’ve got alot to update everyone on but with the cholera crisis we are slammed with getting things done around here.  In the meantime can you all please visit our new site at www.mmrcglobal.org.  that is where you can get the most up to date info on what we are doing and all of my blogs will be posted there from now on. 

I can’t wait to hear from everyone and see how you are all doing.

Peace

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Good morning everyone.

It is with a very sad yet full heart that I sit down to do my final blog entry from Haiti and close out this chapter of my life.  I so dearly want to stay here and continue what we are doing but funds have run out so it is my time to leave.  LP will be staying here for a while longer while I go back to the states to try and raise the money we need to take MMRC to the next level.  Haiti will never be forgotten by us and there is so much to do here.  It is our goal to establish an EMS system and EMT training so that in the next 5 years Haiti will have a fully functional EMS system.  Our work here is nowhere near done and we have accomplished so much.  So many of you have given so much to our cause and I can’t thank you enough.  From kind words to monetary help all of you have a spot in my heart.  It is very hard for me to write this without becoming emotional as I feel that when I leave a great void will be left.  LP is very capable of continuing the work here, but never in my life have I given all I have to help a country and feel as if I have not done enough. 

I have learned so much here.  so much about who I am and what I am capable of.  I know that my calling in life is to help my fellow-man and carry the burden for those who can not.  Haiti has changed me forever and shown me that when someone is in need you do whatever it takes to help them.  I have lost myself here and in the work I am doing.  I have met some of the most amazing people here and they have all impacted my life.  My heart goes out to all of you. 

Enough with the sappy stuff….  Let’s remember the good times and talk about what has recently happened.

Mens Journal did a write up on us recently.  It hit newsstands yesterday and on page 56 you will find an article titled “Haiti’s Cowboy EMT’s”.  Kitt and his twin brother came out to do the article and they were awesome.  Guys, if you are reading this thank you for trusting us with your lives when you rode with us.  You boys are great and keep up the good work.

There are several other people that have deeply impacted my life that I want to take a moment and publicly thank.

LP – I have never had a brother before.  I’ve never had someone that I trusted with my life before.   Words can not begin to express how grateful I am for meeting LP and the brotherhood we have formed in Haiti.  Through thick and thin I know he has always had my back.  Together we have helped save the lives of so many people.  I know that without him this team would never have survived.  He is an incredible human being and underneath that thick skin of his is heart of gold.  Often we speak of what trouble we are going to get in to throughout the world and their is no one else I would team up with when we go to our next disaster area.  He has taught me so much about myself and I am so grateful to him for that. 

The Boys – Ralph, Junior, Forrest, Ely, Chicago, and Kentucky.  I pray that whoever reads this blog has a chance to meet these outstanding men.  They have been the backbone of our operation.  They are by the far the most committed group of guys I have had the honor to stand side by side with and do our work.  They have stood with us and helped their people in manner that would humble even the toughest person.  I have so much love in my heart for this group of guys and it pains me to know that I must leave them for a bit.  The Lord will bless them for what they have done here. 

Micaela – When I think of Micaela my heart is full.  She is one of the most amazing women I have ever met in my life.  We had the chance to work together for several months and I have always looked up to her.  She is a shining example of giving all you have until you have nothing left to give.  We’ve seen each other at our best and worst and she always pulls through.  She’s back in school now working on her NP…. so Micaela, hurry up and get that done so we can go help some more people.

Megan – By far one of the most dedicated doctors that I have been honored to serve.  She is a one woman army that is running an entire TB ward.  She is brilliant and so dedicated to her patients.  She is the true example of compassion and drive and she is just like us.  She is doing all of this work on her own dime, without sponsors and dealing with the same BS we deal with.  Megan, you have opened my eyes to what it takes to make things work.  You are an amazing doctor and your selflessness inspires me.  Thank you for letting me be of service to you and your patients.  Thank you for trusting me with your patients lives and letting me help those in need. 

Pigpen – Before I say anything about her I think we should have a meeting about it.  Just kidding girl.  Thank you for coming through and helping us so many times.  Without you we would have been homeless and Medishare would never have been an option.  Without you we wouldn’t have been able to accomplish as much as we have.  I am so proud of you and the work you have done here. You are an example of fierce dedication and commitment to serving your fellow man. 

Princess – I don’t even know where to start with you.  I am so glad I found you in the mountains and that you tagged along with me back to PAP.  It would never have been the same without you there.  We’ve been through it all together and even though you went to your happy place quite often, I knew I could always count on you.  I know you will do good in school and you will be an amazing nurse. 

Sully, Riann, Josh, and Nir……  You guys are the craziest bunch of bastards I have ever had the privilege of working with.  I am honored to say that I have worked side by side with some of the finest marines this country has every produced.  Thank you boys for always keeping it real and making this work so much fun.

Heather – You are my crazy Brooklyn Broad and you mean the world to me.  Thank you for always being there to talk some sense in to my thick skull.  Thank you for teaching me so much and always being there when needed.  You are a volunteer legend here.   The lives you have impacted here will be felt for generations to come.  Thank you for taking me in when I get to NY.  See you in a few hours.

Tuwanda – You are the voice of reason.  Your presence was always felt and when you left you were sorely missed.  Thank you for making us laugh and keeping a level head at all times. 

Diva – Need I say more.  You are a trooper for always putting up with my crap.  You are such a dedicated woman and I know the kids of Kola will be much better thanks to you and your efforts. 

Linda – Thank you for all you have done for me.  Your emails and letters have kept me strong.  Thank you for being the one I could vent to.  Thank you for doing everything you could do make sure that we had whatever we needed.  You are very dear to me and I am so proud to be your friend.

~~~~~~

Well everyone, that’s all I can bear to write at this point.  I want to close this blog by telling my parents how much I love them.  They have always been so supportive of my work here.  They have prayed for me daily and the fact that I can not go home right away to see them hurts.  I will see you guys soon.  I promise.

My final plea is for everyone to keep us in your hearts and minds.  The work we are doing has just begun. 

Peace.

MMRC Update – Haiti 09/04/2010

Posted: September 4, 2010 in Uncategorized
For the last 6 days I have tried to find the time to update the blog but things have been so insanely busy that I haven’t even had time to sleep. Let’s just say that so much has happened that I am currently going through my Facebook posts to refresh my memory since all of this is a huge blur. The energy that is around us in contagious and we are seeing so much progress in our objectives. 
 
So here we go with the updates….   
 Junior’s House: As many of you know we have been working with Junior since the earthquake. He is a very dedicated man with a heart of gold and he keeps his ears and eyes peeled to make sure we don’t get into to much trouble. Well, he lost his house due to the earthquake and has been living with us and in his tent city over the last 8 months. We finally got a chance to scrounge up some supplies so about a week ago, LP took all of the guys to Juniors house to begin cleaning everything up. The task was daunting at first because the cleanup that needed to be done was extensive. It took a little over 4 days for 7 guys to get all of the rubble off of Juniors property and prep the site for construction. The biggest challenge faced was having to break up and move all of the compacted rubble. It was bricks mangled with blocks mangled with rebar. So after 4 long days of cleanup they got the ground ready and LP has started securing the existing structure and is ready to move to the next phase. We are currently trying to scrounge up enough plywood and metal sheets to have his house built by Monday, but it would be alot easier if we could just buy it. Please help us get these supplies before I have to go the local courts and explain why LP was driving a flatbed truck, that wasn’t ours, with a load of “borrowed” lumber. I’m just kidding, but seriously, let’s get Juniors house built. As soon as I get some photos from the job I will post them online. 

Malnourished Baby: 5 days ago a 6 month old boy weighing 3 kilos was brought in to Medishare by his parents. Aside from the obvious malnutrition they were concerned about his cough and fever. I believe Amelia was the nurse that was monitoring him the first night and everyone was gravely concerned that he would not make it through the night. When i saw him for the first time it was 3 days into his stay and Liz brought him to my attention. She asked if I knew of any malnutrition centers that could help this little guy. After 2 days of phone calls and emails we were able to get him placed over at Hospital de la Paix where they were more well equipped to treat him and get him fattened up. Yesterday was the day of the move and after a brief conversation with the Cubans that we work with down there we were on our way over. Amelia and myself took the little guy over where they did a thorough exam, a chest x-ray for tuberculosis, and re-weighed him. He came in at 3.5 kilos so they took him right in to the ICU and are taking great care of him. 

19yr old girl with unknown illness transfer: Once again we did a transfer from one hospital to another where we had to be very discreet. This one was quite a bit more critical than the last as our patient was a 19yr old girl with a 105 degree fever and seizing. I had Micaela and Liz with me during the transfer taking care of her in the back of the ghetto sled while I had her mother in the front with me. The traffic was beyond ridiculous but with some creative thinking and a heavy foot we made it to the receiving hospital in less than 15 minutes. Granted I had to drive into oncoming traffic, hop on to the curb to miss a dump truck, cut through some construction, blow through a red light, and the best part was when I “nudged” a water truck in front of me so I could get into the left hand turn lane right behind the UN truck. There was a UN guard in the back so I flagged him to come over and when he saw the girl in the truck he got his driver to stop traffic for us so we could rip through that intersection and get to the hospital. In the end we got her there safely, they got her temperature down and stabilized her. She was there for 3 days and yesterday, we transferred her back to the care of her primary physician and she appears to be doing so much better.   

The Girls: We have been so lucky to have some great people work with us. They have been such an impact on our lives and have been instrumental in helping us reach our objectives. To anyone that has worked with us we thank you for your commitment to our cause. Over the last 10 days we have had a few members join our team and some have recently left. 

Princess Christina – She came back for 3 weeks and it went by way to fast. There was only one time she had to go to her happy place but thanks to her we had breakfast and lunch for us everyday and in addition to that she set the bar on how to make quick work of some rubble. I think the guys were a little intimidated by her since she outworked most of them and always had them on their toes. She always kept a level head with us and is such an asset to our team. She left yesterday and is sorely missed. We love you girl and can’t wait to see you again.

Mighty Micaela – This girl is a workaholic. We worked with Micaela for several months before she took an extended break back in Seattle. I guess being responsible and having to move will do that to a person. She was here for 2 weeks and we got to see her almost every day. She even did some rubble removal with us but only after we got a picture of her before she got all dirty. She is an ER nurse back home and had to leave to go back to school to become an NP. Thank you for everything you’ve taught me Micaela and always letting me play in your ER.

Broken Bum Jana – This girl came to us by way of Jen from Medishare and when we got her she was all busted up with a broken tail bone and a huge bruise on her left cheek. I guess she and some friends were out drinking the night before she came in to stay with us and she thought it would be a good idea to hop a 7 foot wall to get to the beach. Let’s just say that when the guys tried to help her over the fence they tossed her a little too hard and she never had a chance to get her balance. Now that I’ve embarrassed her a little let me tell you guys a more about her. She’s a traveling pediatric ER nurse who always has a smile on her face. She knows her stuff, stays calm in any situation, is willing to help out in anywhere she is needed, and thanks to her and an 18ga IV I am feeling so much better. We’ve all become pretty close friends and we can’t wait to see her again. Be safe Jana and come back soon.

Zedrena the Shreeker – This girl has a set of pipes on her that challenges any siren I’ve used on the ambulances over the last 7 months. Hailing from Candialand, Zedrena is working on capturing the title for “Most easily freaked out by MMRC driving”. LP and I have so much fun with her in the car because she yelps, screeches and gasps any time we get near another car. My favorite was when we were going up to JP/HRO and I passed a car on a narrow road and had to quickly cut back in to my lane to avoid a bus traveling at a high rate of speed. In all honesty, she is a wonderful ER nurse who is on her second tour in Haiti. She leaves on Monday so let’s cross our fingers that I can get at least one last holler out of her.

Lina: If you recall a while back we began helping out a sweet woman named Lina with her chemotherapy treatment. It is with a sad heart that i found out last week that she passed away. Our condolences go to her and her family. 

Men’s Journal: Check out the October issue of Men’s Journal for a write up they are doing on us.

Misc: Some of the other things that we’ve been doing is helping out with power outages (thank you to IMC for lending us a generator), taking the guys to the beach for the first time in their lives, and helping out at Medishare with patient care and other transfers.  

I want to send out a special thanks to the entire Tillman clan for everything they are/have been doing to help us with funding. A special shout out to the whole Flip Cup Tournament organziers and participants for helping us get our work done here.  

Overall we are working our butts off to stay here in Haiti. There is so much to do and with the dwindling volunteer support our need to be here is much greater. Please help us by donating to MMRC.  

I love you all dearly  

Big Paul  

Hello Everyone,

So it’s been a week since my last update and so I forced myself to take a couple of hours off this morning to sit down uninterrupted and let you all know what is going on.  I’m going to do this update in bullet point format so I may be jumping all over the place.  Try and keep up 🙂

Head Trauma Guy:  A few days ago we had to transfer a patient from one hospital to another.  I’m not going to say which hospital we took the patient from because administration would be very upset that we didn’t follow their protocol.  The story is this.  A 47 year old male was in a car accident and had some head trauma.  His family took him to hospital A, but they were very unhappy with his treatment and they were very concerned.  We got an anonymous call about this patient so we loaded up at the house and headed over.  Knowing that we had to stabilize the patient we used one of our nifty new backboards that we got from Mission of Hope.  These things are great.  They are used for water rescue and can float but it turns out they make for a great air cushioned ride in the back of an old beat up truck (ghetto sled).  So back to the story.  We went to the hospital and met with the family and they already had their dad in the car with them.  We told them to follow us and we all left the hospital together.  About 2 blocks down the road we pulled over and got the dad out, put on a C-Collar and got him secured to the board.  Granted, he was walking on his own, but we didn’t know the extent of his injuries and we try to maintain certain standards.  We covered him with an emergency blanket since it looked really stormy and didn’t want him getting cold and wet if it started to rain…. which it did.  So we got to hospital B, dropped him off for treatment and the last I heard he was discharged without any complications. 

Haitian Red Cross Plays Nice:  I know it’s hard to believe that I would say something nice about the HRC especially after a few entries ago when I completely bashed them for their complacency.  But the truth is I don’t just report on the bad things that happen here.  I also talk about the good things that people do.  For example, 2 nights ago I had to go to the HRC to get blood for a very sick woman at Medishare.  Keep in mind that after our last experience I was expecting a long drawn out fight that would just ruin my night.  I asked LP to call our contact in the HRC and tell her what was going on.  He did and it turns out that even though she wasn’t working she went ahead and tried to reach the tech that was on that night.  During this time, I drove over to the HRC and when I got to the door, it was locked and the lights were off.  I guess it was after 10pm and everyone was asleep inside.  As I was knocking on the glass door with my key I saw an older man stagger up to the door, half asleep and unlock it for me.  He got the night tech for me and had her come to the lobby.  I tried in the most pathetic Creole I could muster to explain why I was there but we just weren’t communicating.  Right at that time, LP called and told me that our tech couldn’t reach the night tech and wished me good luck.  That gave me the idea to call and have both techs talk to each other.  After a few minutes of giggling and “Wi, Wi, Wi” the night tech gave me the phone back and a thumbs up.  I watched her go into the lab, turn the lights on, start prepping everything to test the blood sample that was en route and get her paperwork in order. 

 Heart be still…. Is this really happening. 

About 35 minutes later Sam from Medishare pulled up with the blood sample, gave it to the tech and she got to work right away.  No fighting, bickering excuses….. Nothing!!!!!  In the end, we got the 2 units of blood we needed and had zero problems getting it.  The techs did a great job, they worked quickly and efficiently and did it with a good attitude.

Car Accidents and Riots:  We ended up needing another vehicle for a few days so we rented this little white Terios from a private party.  LP was loving it since it had air conditioning and shocks.  Everything was going fine with the car until last Thursday afternoon when LP, Cory, Christina and Ralph were coming back from Wilner’s orphanage in the mountains.  They had just gotten into PV and were stopped at a red light on top of hill.  The light turned green,  LP accelerated, pressed the brakes to avoid a pothole and that’s when he discovered that the brakes had gone out.  It’s not like they had a little give to them… They were completely gone.  Remember now, they were at the top of a pretty steep hill.  LP was serving to miss people and decided to put the car into the side of a truck, tap tap, and cement poles in order to turn on a side road and get the car to stop.  Thankfully now one was injured, the car was pretty banged up, and the crowd and police were giving LP “atta boys” when they found out that it was the brakes and not reckless driving.

Now I wasn’t there when this happened, but I did get a call from Ralph, Christina and Cory telling me about it and asking me to come down with the truck.  I headed on down and when I got there I was a little surprised to see an injured bystander since Ralph told me no one was hurt.  It turns out that a guy jumped out of the way of the car and hit his leg on the ground pretty hard and so we put him in the back of the truck and took him to Medishare for exam. 

This is when it got interesting.  As we were driving to Medishare, Delmas 67-33 was shut down due to the protestors that were forming.  We ended up taking some side roads and getting back on Delmas 24ish.  We were cruising along just fine until we had to really slow down at Delmas 18 since there was a huge crowd of protestors on the streets.  I gently drove through them trying not to do anything to set them off since I had a patient in the back.  We got through rather smoothly and got to Medishare.  Once there we got the guy into the ED for exam.  I was working with the doc when all of a sudden people ran into the ED shouting, “Lock the doors, lock the gates, they’re trying to get in.”  Not knowing what was going on I ran out of the ED into the courtyard to see a small mayhem of chaos mainly from panicked patients and some frightened volunteers.  The guards were shouting to lock the gate until Dave came back with the truck.  Turns out that Dave from Medishare took the cargo truck out for supplies and was rushed by protestors.  He threw it in reverse, and got back to Medishare most ricky-tik.  The guards flung open the gates, Dave came barreling in, gates got slammed and everyone was now in.  I looked at Chrisitna and Cory and told them to go into the logistics office while I helped out here.  I saw Bill who is part of the security team there and told him that the guard on the back entry was alone and unarmed.  He sent 4 guards over to support him.  Meanwhile, I ran up the stairs to the roof to overlook the street and see what was going on.  Thankfully the crowd had dispersed and everything had calmed down.  We ended up hanging out for a bit until LP could join us in with the other vehicle.  We put the girls in the wrecked rental that was still running, brakes and all now for some reason, I took the guys in the truck and we rolled out.  We got home safely and everything seemed to have settled down in the city.

Vitamins:  We did get a crap load of daily vitamins on our last MOH run so if any NGO’s are reading this right now please email me and I will get you some.  PJ, yours are one the way…..

Political Turmoil:  Things here are starting to heat up and will soon be pretty dicey.  The people were not happy about Wycleff Jean being taking off of the ballot and we are seeing that the protests are surrounding the upcoming elections.  In addition to that the people are also fed up with the living conditions.  The tents they were given right after the earthquake are falling apart and now that the hurricanes and rains are on the way they are scarred of flooding.  Though they are not as vocal about their living conditions as they are about their politics they seem to be intertwined. 

Other stuff:  Aside from everything else we have been doing we are also gearing up for the upcoming storms.  If all goes well Hurricane Danielle will miss us.  That’s funny because a close friend of mine who reads this blog is also named Danielle and I’ve been trying to avoid her for 18 years without any luck.  Hopefully the hurricane will be less destructive and overbearing than my Danielle is.  Just kidding girl, I just couldn’t help myself.   In all seriousness we are preparing to help with the search and rescue efforts that will arise.

Funding:  As all of you know we are dependent upon private donations to keep us going and it now looks like that we have exhausted all avenues.  We have some very special people doing fund raisers for us to help us stay but unless a miracle happens than we will be gone in less than 3 weeks.  

We are trying to get me out of Haiti first so I can go to NY and try to get some grants/funds to relieve our immediate problems.    Hopefully this will happen sooner than later.  LP will follow shortly and together we will be working diligently to re-open our operation in Haiti.  It has been a long, hard fight over the last 7 months but we have succeeded thanks to everyone that donated to our cause.  We have distributed over 40 containers worth of supplies, helped transfer well over 200 patients, helped save the lives of so many of these beautiful Haitian people and have found someone to train to take over our operations.  The EMS classes are a huge hit and the students we have are bright and eager to learn. 

LP and I have exhausted every measure and mean possible to stay here but we must have faith that others will help carry this load for us. 

In the words of an incredible person I met here, we are “guys with warrior energy, guys who can’t hide their soft side even if they try, guys who get shit done and have fun doing it, guys who don’t play by the rules and have no boundaries when it comes to accomplishing their objectives as long as no one gets hurt.” 

With that being said, it is my hope and prayer that this miracle comes through for MMRC.  I am not a proud person so I will just say what so many have about us.  “MMRC is the glue that holds everyone together.  Without you guys here this place will fall apart.  Without your hard work and energy nothing can be accomplished.”

Peace

Here are some random photos of us in warehouses, field supply tents, moving Pedialyte, building and testing soccer goals for kids, and transferring patients.

It has been such a crazy week that this is the 4th time I’ve sat down to update the blog and I am really hoping that I don’t get interrupted.  With that being said I’m going to type as quickly as I can to get this update out.

As many of you know we have been teaching the EMT classes at Medishare for the last few weeks. Riaan has been doing an amazing job and the students have learned quite rapidly and are soaking in all that they can. Last night was the first time that we actually had a chance to do a practical exercise with the students and some of them did a great job. I want to thank Medishare for letting us take over their ER (under MD supervision of course) and take care of a guy that fell off the top of a container. Kali Stanger and Jason Wander were the two doctors on hand and they were great about the whole situation. 

So here’s what happened.  I was in the ED talking to some of the staff when security came in and told us that there was a guy with a busted up face in the back of a flat bed truck.  Kali and I went out there to look at the guy and after a quick exam we decided that he needed to come in.  The first story we got was that he fell off the roof of a 3 story building but his injuries were not consistent with that.  I asked the doc if we could turn this into a training op for the students and she agreed to it so I went and got Riaan.  the first thing we did was to put him in a C-collar and get him onto a backboard.  We got him into the ER and noticed that he had a pretty broken up cheek bone and his left leg was really hurting him.  While Riaan taught some of the students I took one and worked on getting a patient history from one of the guys that saw him fall.  That’s when we got the full story on what happened and how he fell from a container and not a roof.  Anyway, so Riaan is with the guys and walking them through the exam, teaching them how to splint an ankle, and how to check for any neck injuries.  Meanwhile, I’m making calls to Adventist to see if they can receive him since we don’t have a functioning X-Ray machine here.  Daniel over at Adventist was kind enough to send over their field ambulance a nurse so they could take him back and get an xray of the guys neck so we could clear his C-spine.  In the end, the guy was ok, the students got their first hands-on experience and everything went well.

On Sunday we also transferred a 10-year-old burn patient to the USA.  She was the most adorable little thing in the world and she is going to Shriners Boston for treatment.  She originally came to Medishare for treatment and was sent to MSF France since they have a burn center there.  Amanda knew she needed more intensive care than what she would receive here so she started making calls and got her into the states.  When we were doing the transfer everything was going well until we got to the airport and it started to rain like hell.  Amanda and I ran from the ambulance to plane to give them the paperwork and when we got there (45 seconds), it looked like I had entered myself into a really bad wet t-shirt contest.  I was soaked to the bone,  the rain was relentless, and my shirt was a little see through to where you could see my chest hairs.  We finally had a break in the rain so we transferred the little girl to the airplane and got her out of Haiti.  I heard she made it there safely and has already begun her treatments. 

There were 2 highlights of this transfer.  The first was when we were at MSF France and had finally gotten the girl into the ambulance.  Marc was the Pediatrician helping out and I heard him say that she was in a lot of pain so I nonchalantly asked if he wanted some morphine.  He gives me this confused look and says, “You have morphine?”.  I’m looked at him and said, “Sure.  Why wouldn’t I”.  I got out my narcotics box (a little plastic Tupperware) and gave him 2mg of morphine IM.  She was a happy little camper after that.  The second highlight was when we were waiting in the rain for the fuel truck to come and I looked up and saw a glorious white, yellow and red paper bag sitting right in front of me.  My heart skipped a beat and I almost cried when the pilot offered me the 3 McDonald’s Egg McMuffins that were in it.  I’m glad it was raining because grown men don’t cry in public and that rain did a good job of hiding those tears of joy running down my face.

Aside from that we also received and distributed 6500 cases of Pedialyte.  We got in touch with Save the Children and they needed us to move the load to people who really needed it.  We knew we could do it so we accepted the order and started making some calls.  Everyone we called was overjoyed to be receiving Pedialyte since there are so many dehydrated kids here.  When we got the first shipment in I was pleasantly surprised to find out that each case had (6) 1 liter bottles in it.  Since the box truck could only handle so much weight the deliveries were distributed over a 4 day period and not one day went by where we had to keep much of it at the house.  A special thanks to Save the Children for this amazing donation.

We are also so glad to have Cory Gould, Stacy Bourne, and Christina Bladek back in the country with us.  If you recall from earlier blog entries, Cory is our resident diva and we are so glad to have her back.  Christina is the crazy broad that followed me down from Milot.  Stacy is the ever so amazing photographer that seems to be able to get everything done in PAP. 

Now that I’ve brought up Cory and Christina, I have to bring up what happened yesterday.  We all ended up going to Mission of Hope (MOH) to do a supply run.  Daniel from MOH called and let us know that he had a bunch of overstock he needed help moving.  We took the ghetto sled up north and started to work in the tents and the field prepping everything we needed for when the box truck showed up.  Immediately upon arrival Christina found a way to get dirty.  Aside from Pigpen, she is the grimiest of the group and I even think she is some kind of dirt magnet.  So, we’re all working in the sweltering heat, I’m sweating so bad it looks like I’ve been rained on, Chrisitina is so dirty it looked like she was rolling around in the mud, and the Diva is so sweaty,  dirty, and tired that she looks at me and says, “I’m a quarter century older than all of you, I’m taking a break!!!”  That put a huge smile on my face because i was getting a little worried about her but thankfully she called it early enough before she got sick.  So, the truck shows up, LP gets the guys in order and we start loading it up.  The biggest finds we had were about 3 pallets of vitamins, 2 pallets of EMS gear, tons of adult diapers, LRD5, and a pallet of Doxi.  It was a really hard day and we were all exhausted by the end of it.

We’ve also been working with Megan Coffee and the TB Clinic she is running.  We’ve known Megan for quite some time and she’s pretty impressive in the fact that she is running an entire clinic with the help of 3 nurses.  She is pretty much the doc that everyone sends their hard TB patients to.  We’ve gotten her quite a few tents that came to us via Richmond Arquette, a hefty supply of Ensure and Pediasure from Save the Children, food from Operation Blessing and a lot of other much needed supplies from all of our other connections.  Right now we are working on getting her a big enough tent  that we can turn her office and supply room into one area, and several big tarps that we can use to re-cover her existing tents since it is really starting to rain now.  Let’s hope everything comes together so we can help her and her patients get what they need done.

Talking about the TB tents made me think of the weather and what is going on here.  Keep in mind I grew up in AZ, a desert, that never gets a lot of rain, that is always dry.  This rain we are getting is absolutely ridiculous.  These massive grey clouds just roll in from the south and engulf PAP.  You have about 20 minutes from the clouds cresting over the mountain to the torrential downpour that goes on for 15-90 minutes.  It’s absolutely nuts how quick it is and the sheer volume of water is frightening when you consider that everyone is living in tents and these are the same tents they got 7 months ago that are now full of holes or just ripped to shreds. 

As you can see we are greatly needed here and there is so much for us to do but we are not sure we can stay much longer.  Our funding is depleted and we have received some donations but they’re just not enough for us to continue much longer.  Without the financial help we so desperately need we will be leaving Haiti in 3 weeks.  We can not afford to let this happen so I am begging all of you to pass along this blog and help us raise the money we need.  LP, myself and all of the people that have worked with us have poured their hearts and souls into our mission here and now it seems that we will have to leave before our work is done here.  I really can’t say much more about it, except to ask that you help spread the word about what we are doing and get attention drawn to our mission here. 

I love you all very much

BP

It almost midnight and has been a very very long day. Tuwanda left this morning and it’s just not the same without her here. If anyone who knows her is reading this I want to make it publicly known that we are not the cause of all her bruising. She did it all to herself. Between slipping down the stairs and walking into doors, my favorite was last night when she climbed on a table to catch a lizard and fell while getting down. Keep in mind she already had one foot on the ground but to really get a good visual of what it looked like I need you to close your eyes and imagine a giraffe climbing out of a tree while wearing high heels and stepping on slick marble. Now picture all of that in slow motion. We love you girl and thank you so much for everything.

Since the last update we’ve been working away and really getting a lot of things done. We just got some construction tools from ADRA and have already distributed half of them to JP/HRO. The other half is going to help cleanup some orphanages and build some homes.
The EMT classes are going great over at Medishare with the local staff and we start our first class tomorrow with the Haitian national police. Hopefully it goes well. While Riaan is teaching the class we are getting our first shipment of Pedialyte in from Save the Children. 6500 cases total and we’ve already committed out 6000 of them. So many kids need this stuff so we have to move it quickly.

Well it’s past midnight now and I want to share a couple of things I’ve learned here about the country and the people…

1. Haitian men are pretty tough when injured but they are the biggest babies when it comes to rain or needles

2. Haitian chicken cooked by street vendors is the bomb.

3. You don’t even have to know how to drive to get a license here.

4. Haitian kids can make toys out of any garbage you give them.

5. The weather here pretty much sucks year round.

6. Potholes are the new speed bumps.

7. Haitian women can wash clothes faster by hand than you can with a machine.

8. Vitamins will cure all that ails you.

That’s just a taste for now. I’ll send a more complete list when I’m not falling asleep and typing at the same time.

Peace.

Let me preface this blog entry by stating that for the last several weeks many of us have been dealing with a load of crap from the Haitian Red Cross.  I am so sick and tired of the Haitian Red Cross Blood Bank and the fact that they don’t give a damn about anyone but themselves.  People in this country are dying and need blood and the only response we get is that they don’t have any…. which is bullcrap.

For example, 2 nights ago we had to go the HRC Blood Bank to get 2 units of O+ blood for 2 patients at Medishare.  One was for an 8yr old boy and the other was for a 35yr old male.  We were asked to pick up some blood and run it over to the patients that desperately needed it.  I mentally prepared myself for the fight that would ensue over 2 units of blood.  We pile in the truck and headed over there.

Upon arrival I had to go into the blood bank and speak with the person in charge.  It was hard to communicate with her since all she wanted to do was sit on her butt and watch TV.  For the sake of reading let me bullet point out how things went down for the next hour and a half.

10:30 – We are told they  have no blood and we had to come back the next day at 8am (shift change).  Knowing full well she was lying to me I asked her to double-check and get the blood we needed.  She wouldn’t even check and stuck to her story.

10:40 – Now the story is they have blood that just came in from the countryside but it had to be tested and she did not have the ability to do it at that time.  I asked her to clarify her stories since at first there was no blood and now there was. 

10:55 – She can do 4 of the 5 tests that need to be done but can’t do the 5th since it had to wait until the morning since she didn’t have all the supplies to do all of the tests.

11:10 – She can do all 5 tests now but we need a sample of the childs blood and a signature from the parents.  At this point LP steps in since I am losing all control and becoming very aggravated.  You know things are bad when he is the voice of reason.

11:20 – Medishare tells us that at 3pm they sent a sample of the childs blood with the family member.  The lady at the blood bank than tells us she has to find the book to confirm this is true.

11:30 – She finds the book and starts searching for the name.

11:35 – We find the name and confirm that the sample has been delivered and our story is true.

11:40 – She finds the blood sample.  I’ve lost my mind at this point and have left the building and am now waiting in the truck.  LP is laying the charm on thick and telling this woman how great she is and that she is doing us a huge favor.  She tells LP that she will Type and Cross the samples to get one that we can use.  We are informed that the tests will take 20 minutes.

11:50 – We get the blood.  The lady has it in a cooler, walks right past me, gives it to LP and says, “This is for YOU”

So a simple blood test that would have taken 10 minutes got drawn out to 80 minutes and all of this happened because the people working in the blood bank are too lazy to do their jobs.

Now, I’m sure that some of you might be upset by what I have said and tell me that they are understaffed and short of supplies but the truth is that the people who work in the blood bank are very qualified and have an abundance of what they need.  On rare occasions (when a presidential guard got shot) I have seen them draw blood from donors, process it and get it to the doctors in record time.  The problem is that they only do this on rare occasions. 

Why can’t they just do their jobs and make sure that the one of the few items in high demand that is needed for emergencies is ready.  We don’t ask for blood because we want to.  We ask for it because if someone doesn’t get it than they will die.  They don’t have days or even hours to wait.  They have minutes. 

This whole tirade has been triggered because just now, I had to concede defeat to the HRC blood bank when we tried to get 3 units of A- blood for a kid with Typhoid whose bowels just ruptured.  This kid doesn’t stand a chance in hell without the blood and we’ve been told that they are not giving out any blood until Monday morning.  How do you make them understand that they are the only ones that can save this kids life?  How do you explain to them that a human life is more important than watching TV and sleeping?  We are here trying to save their lives and all we get is a load on unadulterated bull crap from the people who are supposed to give a damn.

There it is, I’ve said what I have to say.  We are still working on finding other options for the kid but it doesn’t look promising.  I’ve even gone as far as to tell someone that the only way to make this work is if we get a film crew together, go to the HRC blood bank and make a scene that will embarrass the hell out of them.  I hate having to do this, but at times it’s the only way to get things done. 

So, now for some better news of what MMRC has been up to. 

We’ve been working our tails off and have been doing some great work.  Yesterday we did 2 EMS calls. 

 The first one was for a kid with a high fever that needed to be transferred from a clinic near Carefour to the General.  When Riann and I arrived on scene it turned out to be a 30 year old male with a fever that was Malaria negative.  As we were doing our assessment I touched his skin and he was ice cold and sweaty.  He was very weak and had been feeling ill for a month.  I took a quick whiff of him and he had a hint of rotten fruit smell on him so I tested his blood sugar.  It came up at 230.  Now normally this isn’t normal with a patient whose blood sugar is 230, but I’m wondering if he had been like this for a month if he was just compensating for it.  Either that or he worked in the market with a bunch of fruit and I just got really lucky to think and test it.  Who knows.  While Riann started getting his info and vitals I started on IV on the patient.  We transferred him to the General, gave report to the doc and headed to Le Plaza to check some emails and wait for our pre-arranged second transfer.

Out second transfer was pretty amazing.  We had spoken with Indgrid the CMO of Medishare this week and she asked if we could get an ambulance to transfer a baby with genetic defects to the airport for an air ambulance transfer.  I asked the admin of the General if we could use the rig for 3.5 hours and amazingly we were told yes.  Riann and I loaded up and got to Medishare at 4pm but since the flight was delayed we couldn’t load the baby and medical team up until 5:15pm and we headed to the airport.  The plane was already on the ground so Amanda had the joy of working with the Haitian Immigration Officer and it was 7pm by time the plane was fueled, papers signed and we were ready to move the baby out of the ambulance into the plane. 

I heard yesterday that the baby and his mother made it to Dallas safe and sound and he will begin his operations right away.

In other MMRC News….  Riann is teaching the EMT classes and they are going great.  We start teaching the cops on Tuesday.  Dave and Kelly just joined us for a week.  We met them on our first trip and they are great people.  Tuwanda is leaving on Monday so none of us are to happy about that.  Cory, Christina and Stacy will be joining us next week.  We are vaccinating a bunch of little kids on Tuesday.  On Tuesday we will be receiving 6,500 cases of Pedialyte.  So far we have committed 5,500 cases of it to groups we work with.  We bought a new ghetto sled (truck) thank to Patricia Arquette. 

Before I cut out I want to take a moment and let everyone know that I have the most amazing parents in the world.  They have been so supportive of me and the work I am doing here.  Without their continued support it would be very hard for me to do this work and I just wanted to tell them that I love them dearly…..

MOM & DAD….  You guys are amazing.  I really can’t thank you enough for everything you do for me.  I know you guys are praying for me often and I can always tell when you are worried about me.  We are doing a lot of great things here.  I love you both very much and I will see you as soon as I can get home.