Daisypath Anniversary tickers

Daisypath Anniversary tickers

Lilypie Second Birthday tickers

Lilypie Second Birthday tickers

Thursday, February 28, 2008

Return to real life!

What a busy week! It has been a crazy week, back at work...but definitely not the craziest I've ever seen it! I came back to be the impatient coordinator for the next few weeks. I like seeing the well kids in the outpatient clinic, but it's great to be a part of the new transplant recovery. This week, it's been mixed emotions. We've got a new transplanted heart next to one that's angry and rejecting its owner....which is what happens when you don't take your immunosuppresion meds! (okay, enough of my "medication is good and saves lives" soapbox!) I worked alone today, and I think my co-worker is gone the first part of next week...so it should be interesting. I got handed another project today, which I never mind! I like being busy, and despise it when I am bored! (At work, that is!)

I am feeling better today, too! I think I caught some icky GI bug on my way HOME from Honduras, because it didn't hit me until the day after I got home! I finally got one of the fellows at work to help me and I feel a LOT better now! :)

I'm on call this weekend, but I'm on with my favorite surgeon...so at least I'll be awakened pleasantly. I don't have any real plans yet for the weekend...but I do have a lot of baby showers to prepare for...so maybe I'll do that. I've got Oliver for a while longer, so it should be a weekend of cleaning up after his shredding tendancies.

Well, guess that's just about all that's going on around here. Work. Sleep. GI bug. Puppies. :)

Friday, February 22, 2008

12 days of blessings

For those who actually read this blog, I thought I'd give a day by day synopsis of my Honduran journey. I figure some of the details will actually escape my brain and it will be nice to have them all here!

February 8: My brother took me to the airport so early that I have since then blocked out the time. Our group was waiting for us to check in, especially since we had to check a bag of supplies with our own suitcases. One of the child life specialists had already received some not so wonderful news. She found out that if your passport expired within three months, you were not allowed to leave the country (which begs the question, why does it have an expiration date anyways?). She was not allowed to travel with us, and ended up spending the day in Houston trying to get her passport expedited so she could come! Our flight was uneventful, including the very VERY quick layover in Houston. We had high hopes, but not a lot of certainty that our bags would reach Honduras when we did. We landed in San Pedro Sula, where we were met by sunshine and HEAT! (The temp in Dallas was in the 30's!). ALL our bags made it safely there! Hooray! :) We all made it safely through customs and headed to our hotel. The Friends of Barnabus foundation has a very sweet driver named Elmer who picked us up and escorted us to the Gran Hotel Sula. We unpacked, wandered around the streets, and went to a local restaurant (Hasta la Pasta) for dinner.

Saturday, Feb 9: We unpacked ALL of the supplies that we had carted down to Honduras. There was so much stuff! Anything that had been in an isolation room was donated to the cause. Our cardiac cath cardiologist was already in the cath lab doing procedures at this point. A few times during the massive unpacking effort, several nurses were grabbed to go downstairs and monitor the kids. There were also screenings going on...hundreds of people had shown up to see our doctors! It was crazy! Cemesa Hospital had placed an article advertising our arrival in the newspaper...so everyone came! We finished the day by early evening and ate dinner in the wonderous "Cafe Skandia" in our hotel.

Sunday, Feb 10: BEACH day! :) We loaded up in the bus and trekked the 2 hours to hotel's private beach house. We had the whole stretch of beach to ourselves and scampered around the water for the day! We had a small devotional, followed by lunch and more scampering! At one point, a guy showed up who started knocking down coconuts out of the tree for us! He whacked them open with a machete and when you were finished with the coconut water (which was disgusting), you could eat the yummy coconut goo inside! We stayed until around 5, then drove home...happily drinking and eating and SINGING to someone's ipod tunes. (Thank goodness for speakers!)

Monday, Feb 11: Not a big day for me personally, but still many things were going on! We did three out of the four planned surgeries. One child was taken back into the OR after some excessive bleeding. I witnessed the most precious start to the week. Every child that was brought to the OR by the nurses and the parents was prayed over by the doctors and the anesthesiologist. I even had a mom pass out in my arms. CRAZY! I was pretty bored this day. Even though we did five cardiac caths, there were still six floor nurses wandering around needing something to do! I was pretty frustrated at my uselessness. I did get to meet some sweet kiddos who came in the day before their surgery!

Tuesday, Feb 12: I admitted the first post-surgery kid to the step-down unit. Lester, a 4 year old, had his Tetralogy of Fallot repair done the day before...a surgery normally done in the first year of life! I was so happy to have stuff to do! I also prepped two other kids to go to surgery. Let me tell you, I do NOT like being the person to make kids cry because they can't eat!

Wednesday, Feb 13: More surgeries, more caths. We are doing at least 4 caths a day, and three surgeries. The ICU is very busy, and I admitted two more kids to my "room" after their surgeries. Liliana and Alison both had amazingly quick recovery times! Lester gets his chest tube pulled and goes home TWO days after major heart surgery! :) Our most difficult case of the week is today...a Bi-directional Glenn is performed on an 11 year old girl, a surgery normally done around 5 months of age! Craziness! None of the doctors get much sleep tonight because the difficult surgery patient (Cinthia) was doing VERY poorly and it didn't look good for her. We were treated to dinner at a little Italian restaurant by an mystery donor. It was a great dinner, but we were SO exhausted! I think I pretty much fell asleep during dessert!

Thursday, Feb 14: Happy Valentine's Day! Things are getting busy on the step-down unit. We have to take over another room from the hospital because we don't have enough beds for all the cath kids and the post-surgery kids. The hospital knows that Valentine's is "important for Americans" (their words, not mine!) and throws us a little party, complete with snacks and a heart shaped cake! We are working SO hard, and our energy levels are really dwindling. The kids are continuing to do SO well out of surgery, and we're getting most of them out 1 day after they are operated on!

Friday, Feb 15: We are walking zombies. The madness continues. The nurses from Children's are pretty much holding up the step-down unit, while the nuress from Virginia seem to just be our assistants. We are still cathing 5 kids a day, and getting at least 2 surgery kids from the ICU. At night, we are sitting in Cafe Skandia, eating as little as possible (survival food, only!), and falling into bed.

Saturday, Feb 16: This is a semi-quiet day! All surgeries have been completed the day before and we have NO caths! All the overnight cath kids have been discharged and we are constantly discharging kids to the Barnabus House. (More on this later!) The ICU, which should be settling down, is getting MORE crazy because of events that happened in Honduras! Late Friday night, a prominent Honduran drug lord is being driven around with his sister and her daughter, plus two body guards. An assassination attempt goes down-with the sister and her daughter being killed by the AK-47, two body guards being disfigured, and the man ended up in the ICU. Our ICU people were helping as much as they could by placing lines and assisting the Honduran team, but it was still a mess! Everyone was on edge because they weren't sure if the people who started the assassination were coming to finish it! All the commotion died down around mid afternoon and we were starting to wrap up. An ICU kid was not doing well, so one of the step-down nurses and I were monitoring an ICU kid while they placed a chest tube on the sick child. As we were finishing, the pediatric cardiologist in Honduras came up to us and told us he had a new "blue" baby...a newborn who had been diagnosed with transposition of the great arteries. Basically, all the de-oxygenated blood was going to the body and the blood that had already been oxygenated was going back to the lungs. It's a complex defect that is normally corrected in the first few days of life. If we had not been there, this baby would have been wrapped up and given back to his mother and sent home to die. Our doctors performed a atrial septostomy on him...creating a hole between his atrium, allowing the blood to mix and giving him a few months of time. It was very risky, especially since this is done by cardiac catheterization and our cath doctor had left that morning to go back to the US! The cardiac intensivist performed the life saving intervention, and I'm happy to say it was successful! The baby is scheduled to go to the USA for complete repair within two weeks....but would not have lived to do that if we had not been able to do that procedure! We all met for dinner, including the Honduran doctors and nurses who had helped us during the week! It was very relaxing and happy...considering we had just saved an unexpected life!

Sunday, Feb 17: This was SUCH a hard day! We had been there for 6 previous 12 hour shifts, and the exhaustion was absolutely there. I had disgusting swelling of my feet and ankles...like a pregnant woman! We admitted all the kids remaining from the ICU, and gave report to the Honduran nurses. We were OUTTA there! My friend Amanda and I were supposed to be going to the Barnabus house later that day, but the coordinator of the trip told us we would not be going until the next day so we would have the night off! Hooray! Part of our group headed off to the beach wonderland of Roatan, while the rest of the group would leave the next morning. That night, we went to dinner at a Mexican restaurant and just relaxed!

Monday, Feb 18: Amanda and I slept WAY late (well, not that late, but considering we had been up at 5:30 for 7 days in a row, 9 was LATE!) and packed up our things. We headed out to the Barnabus house that afternoon. The Barnabus house is a place for all our surgery kids to recover before they head home to the very vast and remote regions of Honduras. They do clinics on Monday through Friday for the people in the community. It is located in a very rural area of Honduras, outside the town of Pena Blanca. We saw so many of our kids, who were thriving outside the hospital! We collapsed into bed, so happy to be relaxing for the next day and a half!

Tuesday, Feb 19: We slept until 10AM! What a relaxing time! We just hung out all morning and read, while relaxing with the kids! That afternoon, we went to the Pulapanzak Water Falls in Pena Blanca. SO amazing! We hiked all the way down to the bottom and got really wet! It was amazing! I took SO many pictures! It was such a relaxing time compared to what we had been through the week before! Amanda and I packed up our things and made it an early night!

Wednesday, Feb 20: We got up early to watch the sunrise...and were very disappointed. It wasn't that exciting, even though we had been told it was beautiful! We got ready for the day, and headed back to San Pedro Sula. We met up with our friends and flew home. Houston was having HORRID weather that day, and we absolutely met up with it! We were stuck in the air almost an hour waiting for permission to land, then were stuck in the airport another hour. We finally got home and I returned to my sweet puppies around 10pm. I fell asleep and slept for a LONG time in my fabulous bed!

To all those who supported me, prayed for me, thought of me, looked for updates from me, I hope you have just a wee glimpse into my very busy weeks in Honduras. I am so glad I decided to take Thursday and Friday off to recover....I absolutely needed it! Thanks for reading!

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Most beautiful shot

On our trip, we were blessed to be accompanied by the D Magazine photographer. She took pictures of EVERYTHING! We'll be featured in the Best Doctor's edition later on in the year. On Valentine's, she snapped this completely random and unplanned shot. It's absolutely amazing!

Only a few of the 238 pictures I took! More to follow!

Saturday, February 09, 2008

A friend on this trip is blogging with pictures about our experiences! Feel free to follow our story online!


All is going well! Will have to update when I have more time! :)

Sunday, February 03, 2008

Please don't ever let it get easier!

Today, another one of my sweet patients ran headlong into the arms of Jesus. He persevered long and hard, but in the end, his earthly calling was finished and his heavenly calling was ready to begin. I had the honor and the priviledge to be part of his journey for a small moment, but the light in his eyes and his contagious smile will stay with me forever. I have the priviledge (and sometimes the burden) of knowing the last thing he said in this world was "I love you Stephanie"....almost three months ago.

One of the risks of my profession is that you can get desensitized to the idea of a child dying. I do not ever want to be one of those people. Even when I know it's time for a sweet angel to go meet Jesus, I still want to be as affected each and every time. It completely destroys me, but I know that's probably for the best. Today, my eyes have been so puffy that I haven't left the house for fear of scaring someone!

Enjoy fishing in heaven, my sweet friend. I'll bet the fish are HUGE! :) "I have fought the good fight. I have finished the race. I have kept the faith." ---2 Timothy 4:7

Saturday, February 02, 2008

Mis vacaciones Honduran!!

Well, it's not really going to be a vacation, but wanted a minute to show off my pitiful grasp of the spanish language! My Honduran mission trip is now in less than a week and there's a million things going through my head! I have no doubt in my nursing abilities...so that's thankfully not one of my concerns! I am concerned about my communication skills! I can do a good round of medical Spanish with the best of them, but I'm hoping it's enough! Here's a run down on my itinerary...mostly so all the people who read this blog can pray for my team while we're gone!

Feb 8: We leave DFW at 7:15, arrive in San Pedro Sula, Honduras around noon.
Feb 9: Set up day at the hospital. We're going to be working at Cemesa Hospital in San Pedro Sula for the week.
Feb 10: Our team building day-we're going to the Honduran beach for a day of relaxation before the week's madness begins!
Feb 11: We start our week of fun. Not sure how many surgeries or heart catherizations we will be doing, but it's not my job to know! :) I will just be there to take care of those precious Honduran children and keep them out of pain! We'll be doing surgeries, most likely from Monday-Friday. We'll be getting the kids stable enough to be taken to the Barnabus house to recover until they can go to their remote villages. Saturday and Sunday will be spent making sure none of the children are still in the hospital when the team leaves the country.
Feb 18: The majority of the team will head home. I will be traveling to the mountains of central Honduras to the Barnabus house to monitor the children for complications before they go home. This house is staffed by nurses who get overwhelmed at the large influx of kids we send after our mission is completed. It's helpful to them to have a few extra pairs of nursing eyes to watch these sweet kiddos. It's pretty minimal work! We pretty much just relax in the beautiful mountains while reading, playing, and eating! What a nice ending to the trip!
Feb 20: I head home!

There are SO many people going on this trip! Surgeons, cardiologists, surgical techs, perfusionists(they run the life support machine!), Anesthesiologists, ICU doctors, ICU nurses, Step down nurses, child life specialists, chaplains....and so many more! Your prayers are coveted!

I hope to update before I leave, but I can't promise anything! If you're interested in a daily email while we're gone, you can send a blank email to news@fobf.org and they'll send one out!