Thursday, March 31, 2011

Life is Like...

Late Sunday afternoon we left "Spaghetti Day" hosted at the Hendricks home and thought we had a plan for the coming week. We knew that our plans needed to be flexible (because, well - duh) yet we looked ahead at the week and with confidence made some plans. 

Oh the folly of planning. 

Forest Gump once said, "Life is like a box of chocolates.  You never know what you're going to get."

When she was pretty young our oldest daughter Britt paraphrased Mr. Gump and said, "Life is like that, you never know what you're going to get ... Maybe a box of chocolates!"

Since Sunday at 5pm - here are just a handful of the unplanned things that have taken place:
  • Andremene went into labor.  Labored for a few hours. Ran into big trouble. Was transported for c-section. Troy got home at 3am.  This set into motion a chain of events that led to zero of the plans we made happening.
  • Gas price hike causes manifestation, changes some of what was planned for Monday.
  • Four day old baby boy of someone special to us showed up almost dead to ECD program on Tuesday. It was so emotional and disappointing, writing about it in detail was left to others.
  • Paige got miserable.  Starting Thursday we called an unusually large bump on her eyelid "a zit". By Sunday we knew it was more.  We started medication then. Today at 2pm we were driving her to Cazale to have it opened up and drained.  But not until after we'd seen a brilliant, Harvard-trained infectious disease specialist in downtown Port au Prince. We met with her and had our consultation outside of a tent in the warm sunshine ... like you do.  The infectious disease brainiac spoke by phone with Paige's awesome babe of a Pediatrician in MN. An hour later we were gathering supplies to head to another accomplished medical professional, the revered and much loved Lori Moise
Forest Gump was right. You never know what you're going to get.  But that ain't the half of it.

It wasn't lost on me that Jen went to work finding Paige the best care available. It wasn't lost on me that we saw the exact type of specialist we needed to see this morning. It wasn't lost on me that not only was she the perfect specialty but she is no slouch. The woman went to Harvard. She was standing 6 miles from my house when I needed her. It wasn't lost on me that she cared enough to talk to Dr. Jen at length by phone.  It wasn't lost on me that Jen woke up very early after working all night and jumped into action to give instruction on the desired medicine to give Paige by IV.  It wasn't lost on me that Lori has drained about one billion abscesses in her life and is probably better at it than almost anyone in Haiti. It wasn't lost on me that my sweet friends were interceding for Paige and for me all day.  It wasn't lost on me that Jen called at a rate of way-too-ridiculously-much-per-minute to see how it was going for Paige in Cazale. It wasn't lost on me that Harold (Tex) and his sweet daughter Kristi were available to stay with Phoebe and Lydia all day long.  It wasn't lost on me that Corrigan was already scheduled to pick the kids up from school.  All sorts of people advocating for Paige. For us. That wasn't lost on me.

Maybe it is because I'm exhausted, maybe it is because it is warranted ... Tonight, mixed in with my awe of today's gifts and miracles is more than a smidgen of sadness. 

I'm sad because things here are so difficult.  They are so unfair.

Trying to find help in a timely manner when things get a little bit scary or a even very serious is so challenging. I dare say it is almost impossible for most people.  I'm well connected.  I know people that know people.  Therefore my advocates sprung into action. I am not experiencing what a Haitian mother would experience.  I realize this when I, a person with all of the privilege in the world, am given a chance to see a small piece of the life of my Haitian brothers and sisters.  As I waited for our Doctor connection to be made I glanced into the crowded and hot Tuberculosis tent and saw the worried eyes of another mother. Who advocates for her?

I recognize that I must be willing to engage in the complex issues that form the sub-text of the daily realities that affect the vast majority of Haitians. Engaging in it from my position of privilege is difficult, but it has to be my goal. 

I experienced something unique in Haiti today.

I sought care for my sick child and at every turn I found top-notch help.

I have so much to be grateful for tonight, and trust me, I am grateful. 

But I want that - what I got - for every mother of every sick child. 

I want life for them to be less like a box of chocolates.

Less unpredictable.

Less unfair.