By Mike Parker, Member of Tri-County Church
Who could have imagined that a cockfighting ring could turn into a medical clinic? By U.S. standards our medical clinic would have been shut down due to uncleanliness, but by Haiti standards anywhere you can corral and control the crowd is a good place. So there amid those crowing roosters, cooing pigeons, quacking ducks and whining dogs we began our day of treating the sick and wounded. They asked me (Mike) to blog today because of my unusual experience with a young lady named Emma.
Emma is a beautiful 28-year-old woman who, like all the other Haitians, experienced the trauma of the earthquake. During which a concrete block fell on her ankle and broke it. It has now been three weeks after the event and the village that Emma lives in had not been visited by any relief workers, so Emma had not been treated at all. Her ankle was badly swollen and infected, so much so that the skin had burst on both sides of the ankle and the infection was running down her foot. We knew that she needed intravenous antibiotics in order to control the infection and that was more than we could do in the field. So I volunteered to take her to the airport hospital.
There was a real chance that they would refuse our entry because of the volume of the patients, but as we drove I prayed that God would make a way for us to be seen. Plus, as I looked into the eyes of Emma I knew that I had to convince the U.S. Army guards that we needed to get her the antibiotics. We pulled up to the gate and without a hitch they allowed us on the airport grounds and showed us the direction to the medical tent.
Emma was in a lot of pain and could not walk, so we carried her in expecting a long wait before she could be seen, and to my relief, they took her right into triage! Emma was crying and I consoled her and told her that everything would be okay, but she kept repeating the same thing over and over. I cannot speak Creole and could not understand.
They took her to X-ray and they found out that her ankle had been broken by the block, but since then it had healed. After her X-ray she was still very upset and was repeating the same thing over and over again. I was finally able to stop an interpreter and asked him to help me understand what she was saying. All this time, she had been pleading with me to not let the doctors take her foot. Immediately my heart broke and I began to cry with her. I prayed for her through the interpreter and told her that God would take care of her. Because they didn’t have any beds left in the hospital, they took us back to triage.
The nurse practitioner who was helping us came over and gave us the diagnosis. Emma grabbed hold of my arm and held on tightly as the words were spoken. Her face lit up as the news was given to her…the foot would be fine with IV antibiotics and oral antibiotics! She cried and I told her to look at me. I told her to remember this day. God had heard our prayer and protected her.
After the antibiotics were administered and she was given a tetanus shot and a two week’s supply of oral antibiotics, we were on her way back to Emma’s village. On our way back she asked me why I would come so far to help her. I told her that I did it because Jesus loves her and so do I. The last time I saw Emma she was using her newly acquired crutches and making her way to her home.