Overnight, we had run out of wipes almost right away, so we were stuck changing diarrhea diapers without wipes. We were also out of sheets and clothes for the kids. Overnight, a lot of them got quite cold and mosquito-bitten, and they had to lie on the bare vinyl mattresses. It was cold. It was the first time I had been cold in Haiti.
Ryan texted Joanne at 7:00 in the morning with the supplies we needed. She was going to pick up all the medications from the pharmacy, which we were supposed to have done yesterday, but in all the craziness of bringing 3 loads of kids to the hospital, it never got done. Joanne was our lifeline, and it was important to us that she come and drop off supplies and pick up Kerland and Clauciane, who had worked through the night, so that they could sleep through the day and then come back to take the shift the next night. That would allow me to get a night of much-needed rest.
However, we didn't hear from Joanne until 9:00, and she said it would be 2-3 hours before she could get there. We were thinking 11-12:00. But 11:00 came and went. 12:00 came and went. Kerland and Clauciane were very tired, and yet they were still helping out.
One of the best things that happened was that Ryan put some minutes onto my phone. I had not been able to do this because I still had not managed to get any Haitian cash or use an ATM. This was a huge blessing and it rescued me from a sticky situation on day 5.
Joanne finally arrived at 3:00 and stayed at the hospital for two hours. During those two hours, there was a meeting with the nurses, where they scolded us for some of our methods (like the nannies moving bottles from one mouth to another and moving babies around from bed to bed). They told us we wouldn't be allowed to use the bottles any more, but would have to feed by syringe in the future. They also scolded us for having no sheets and clothes for the babies. The creche had sent a whole suitcase full of crib sheets and about 10 brand new onesies, but with all the vomit, each crib sheet and outfit lasted a very short time before it was soaked. Joanne had taken the laundry home, but her laundry lady refused to wash the cholera-infected items, and Joanne and Doug ended up burning it all instead. My clothes that had gotten soiled got disposed of with the rest of the stuff.
Joanne left at about 5:00, taking my coworker and Kerland and Clauciane with her, and leaving me to spend another night at the hospital. I had been depending on getting a night’s sleep Tuesday night and have Kerland and Clauciane work, but with them working through the day, I preferred to make the sacrifice myself and not expect that of them. I didn’t have the heart to send them back to arrive home at 6:00 and then turn around to come back to the hospital at 9 or 10. You don’t treat people like that, I thought. But Joanne didn’t seem to understand that. “They’re a different breed,” her words were. “They can take it.” Nevertheless, I sent Kerland and Clauciane home to sleep. However, that would be my third consecutive night in the hospital, and I really needed to get home to sleep the next morning. I was longing for it. Joanne promised me that she would come at 8:00 in the morning to relieve me so that I could go home and sleep. I thought I could make it until then.
When Joanne left, Annita, our sweet, amazing lady, who had worked all through the day, offered to work through the night as well with me. She was expecting to work all the next day, too, but she said she was willing and she needed the money. Her daughter, Loselie, had also worked through the night, and she, too, offered to stay. I accepted gratefully. I lay down for an hour and slept, and woke up refreshed at 7:00 pm. Then I made Annita and Loselie lie down so they could get some sleep, while I watched the babies. While the babies were sleeping, there wasn't so much to do for them, so nights are somewhat easier in that aspect.
At 2:00 in the morning, Annita got up, saying she hadn't been able to fall asleep, so she might as well be up and around checking on the babies. Unlike me, who can catch a little cat nap in a chair, she couldn't get a wink of sleep all night, despite lying down on a mattress for a couple of hours. However, when she got up off the mattress at 2:00 in the morning and told me she hadn't been able to fall asleep, she went to prayer. She walked around, praying for the babies, stopping at each crib, and just lifting up everything to the Lord. Afterward, her face had such a radiant glow and she just looked so alive.
Later, I wrote to my missionary friend back in Montrouis,
"Oh yes, sleep... Three consecutive days and nights at the hospital left me sleep-deprived and emotional. I am usually pretty stable emotionally, but mix lack of sleep with reduced nutrition, and the flesh protests loudly by way of bursts of tears when little things happen. I had a nice 2-hour nap today, though, and I'm about to go to bed, so that's nice.
I was so challenged by Annita, a Haitian woman who has been working for us at the hospital, helping to take care of the babies. After working all day last Tuesday, she also offered to work through the night, knowing that she was also expecting to work all day the next day.
I realized that I had been praying, but I had not been entering into such a powerful evidence of the working of grace and strength in my life. So I joined her in prayer, and God has been stretching me to find His strength even in the midst of tiredness. It's easy for me to say, "Oh, I'm emotional right now because I'm sleep- and food-deprived. Let me fix it with sleep and food." Yeah, that sets the flesh back to normal and comforts it--but what if God is asking me to give up sleep and food for the moment? Truthfully speaking, it is a BETTER solution to say, "Oh, I'm emotional right now because I'm sleep- and food-deprived. Let me fix it with prayer." But can I find that to be just as helpful? Or is it just a theoretical truth that stays well out of reach of practical living? Annita certainly found it to be practical and effective for her right there in her tiredness. It was such an inspiration to me!"
Read the next post: Cholera Day 4.
Start over at the beginning: Cholera Day 0