Monday, April 21, 2008

Honduras: Thursday

Thursday: The Hospital

This is the day I dread for weeks leading up to this trip. Every year, our group visits a hospital in the city. This hospital is kind of like Parkland Hospital here in Dallas. Anyone can go there rather you can pay for it or not. So there are a lot of families who are very very poor there. The sadness and gloom is so heavy when you walk in the doors it's hard to breath. The hospital serves all ages, it even has a NICU. The problem is, since most of the people in the hospital are poor, what happens is the person who is sick or injured can not get to the hospital in time and whatever was wrong ends up getting way worse very quickly. In fact, the fatality rate is over 50% if you enter the hospital. In other words, odds are if you are admitted you probably won't leave alive. I know that sounds very brutal, but it's one of the very sad realities of living in a country were poverty is so prevalent.

Needless to say, it's a tough day. There is much prayer and pumping myself up that I must do even to just walk through the door.

The only areas we visit are the children areas, mainly the children with broken bones or infections. We make fun goody bags and hand them out and just spend time talking and playing with the kids. They are totally confined to these beds, so you can imagine how bored they are.

This little boys name is Andrew. This is his story:
I was in this room that only had 3 kids in it. I was playing with the little girl in a picture above and notice Andrew, but didn't go over to him because he was with his doctor. When I turned to leave the room, the doctor called me over and said that Andrew asked if I could pray for him. So of course! I asked the doctor what his story is. She spoke english fluently.
She said that Andrew broke a bone in his leg. Since his family couldn't get him to the hospital quickly enough, his bone got infected. She told me that in 2 weeks (which would have been 2 weeks ago) they are doing a surgery to try to fix the infection. If that surgery didn't work than they would have to amputate his leg. She is actually the hospital's psychologist and she had been visiting Andrew because he is depressed over maybe losing his leg.
I was so overwhelmed with sadness over his story. The psychologist was amazing! Very sweet and gentle. She is a gift from God for those people. We talked for a very long time and she spoke a lot about Jesus and how thankful she was for our group, how much the kids needed this.
I can't stop thinking about him and wondering how he is doing. I got her email address so I could keep updated. I emailed her a few weeks ago and never heard back. So I don't know if I typed it in wrong, or maybe my email went to her Spam folder, but I'm so praying that I will be able to reach her. If you guys think about it, could you pray for Andrew and for the psychologist?

I really, really, really wanted to go visit the babies in the nursery this year. We didn't get to do that the year I came before, but I had heard that in years past some people were able to. So I was hoping. While we were standing in a hallway waiting for our next place to go, Curtis came over to me and asked me if he lets me go see the babies, will I be able to function for the rest of the day? :-) Yes! I was so excited! WELL...I was not expecting to happen what happened or I would not have been jumping for joy.

When we got to the floor with the newborns, one of the nurses told us that only 2 were allowed to go in the nursery (to pass out baby quilts and diapers) and 2 were allowed to go into the NICU. Before I could even blink, for some reason I was chosen to go into the NICU. Now let me tell you why this is significant. I have this horrible fear (sadness) over anything that has to do with babies/children that are suffering in anyway. I can not handle it. It will put me down for at least a day if I hear something. This is the reason why I never watch the news nor read books (like The Kite Runner) or watch a movie that even remotely has something bad that happens to a child. I take drastic measures to try avoid it. But before I knew it, they were putting a gown on me (and Kim) and I was walking through the door. What was inside was a mix between PRECIOUS and awfulness. Some of the babies looked almost normal size. My little Ella was only 4 1/2 pounds when she was born and a few of the babies looked about her size. But then there were some that I can't even believe they were breathing they were so tiny. There was so much sadness. And this isn't a state of the art nursery like we have in America. Remember, it's a very poor hospital, therefore the equipment is very old and behind what we have.

The first thing I noticed when we walked in was this group of women with an instructor. They were doing "kangaroo care" with their precious preemies. It was so sweet!

Part of me did not want to take my eyes away from the floor. I just knew I would lose it and I couldn't do that in front of all these mothers. God and I had a moment in that room. The one thing that I can NOT handle more than anything I was able to do and had the strength to do it. I knew that was only of the Lord and His abundant grace. Yes, I was shaking and crying the whole time, but I was able to keep going. We each had a stack of preemie diapers that we brought and the nursing staff told us that we could put one diaper on each incubator. Diapers are like gold over there. They just can not afford them. In San Jose, probably 90% of the babies either had nothing on their bottom or they wore clothes but with no diapers. So they would soil themselves everytime. Heartbreaking! My friend Michelle, who went into the regular nursery, said the mothers were BEGGING them for more diapers! It's so sad.

At one point, a mom came in the room and walked straight to one of the incubators. She put both hands on the glass and just stared longingly and sadly into it at her precious baby. Every once in a while she wiped a tear. And every once in a while she would open the little round door and stick her hand in and stroke her baby's arm. She couldn't hold her baby, only touch her. It was too much to handle. I wanted so badly to speak to her, but have I mentioned I know zero spanish? So I just walked over and gave her a hug and she immediately broke down. I called Angela, our translator over, and I was able to speak to her for just a minute. I just can't imagine. I know that many families here in America also have to go through similar situations and it's heart breaking and I'm so sorry for those families. Some of you bloggers know exactly what this mother was feeling.

I do have one picture of one of the babies that was in way worse shape, but I will spare you that. It's so sad. I know I keep saying sad, but I just don't know how else to describe it. I was hopeful because a lot of the babies looked like they were in pretty good shape and their mother's were so sweet and they looked so cute laying on their chests. I know God is watching over that hospital.

On a much lighter note, after the hospital we went to a village called Agua Blanca.

This place was like a breath of fresh air. It's beautiful and so peaceful feeling. Communion Baptist has been working with this village for many years. They planted a church here a few years ago and were established enough to become an independent church. They were having 3 days of a revival to celebrate and they invited us to the first evening service of the revival. They also presented a plaque of appreciation to Curtis and our church for helping them throughout the years. It was very special. I loved this church. It's an open building and it's not what we would consider beautiful, but it was. The view from their church was unbelievable.

The Boys!

This is my good friend, Kim! We have known each other since the good ole days at DBU. Her and her husband with on the trip. It was so fun getting to hang out with her for a whole week!

This is the little girl I got to watch while the family listened to the service.

Friday was a much more light hearted day filled with TONS OF FUN! I can't wait to share!

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Jenny said...

Your pictures made the stories come alive. I know you blessed many people while you were there!

Have a great day!

Amanda said...

It just made me cry to think about those poor moms who have no other options for their babies. They can't fly out to such and such hospital to see a specialist. Literally, their only hope is that God would do a miracle. Even though desperation is a good place to be spiritually, I would never pick to experience that with the health of my child. I am thankful though that God's faithfulness and grace is sufficient for us in whatever situation we are in.

Lindsee said...


This was so precious. I don't even know you but can tell your heart is so big! Thank you for sharing such tender moments with us.


Heather said...

I can't imagine your time in the NICU or the time those moms will spend there with their own children. That is one of my fears as well and it would have been hard to be in there. I'm so Glad that God gave you the strength and courage you needed b/c I'm sure he used you through your touch and concern with those moms who were there!

Sunni at The Flying Mum said...

The kangaroo care picture made me smile!

What amazing pictures, and such a moving trip.

MamaCass said...

You know my heart is aching for those babies. I am thinking of ways I can smuggle preemie diapers out of my unit to send to those babies (and a few other things too). It is sad-so very sad. I loved the pictures of the church. So simple yet so beautiful in its simplicicty. Thanks for sharing from your heart.

connorcolesmom said...

Oh those pictures touched my heart!
We are so blessed to live in a country with great medical care.
I can not imagine what those mommies go through.
I know you greatly touched the lives of the children and moms that you came in contact with.
May God continue to use you for His glory
Much love,

Linsey said...

Thanks you for sharing your experience at the hospital. I know that was hard, but it was really moving. I will pray for those moms and babies.

Sam McClure said...

Thank you so much for sharing all of this! My heart breaks for those mommies. We will be praying for them!

Nancy said...

Thank you so much for sharing this and bringing us to Honduras! Excellent pictures. I felt like I went with you.
In Him,

CrownLaidDown said...

You are my hero, Janelle. God in you is so mighty! I do not know if I could have gone into the baby room...I really don't, but wish that I could be like you were, if I ever have the privilege!

And Andrew...oh this one has stolen my heart. He looks so much like our oldest, Noah. I will pray. In fact, I'm logging off to do just that right now.

THANK YOU for sharing your story...for going...for loving others deeply in Jesus!

pinkmommy said...

I have the same issue as you about hearing about things that happen to kids. That is why I just now got up the courage to read this post, but I am so glad I did! I am now a prayer warrior for those kids, mamas and babies. This touched my heart!