Friday, June 10, 2011

Bryan's Honduras story

Bryan wrote a nice letter with a great story about a patient that he treated in Honduras. It is a little lengthy but the story is worth it. Thank you to everyone for your prayers and donations that helped us with our time in Honduras! Here is the letter.

Dear Family and Friends,

It was another amazing trip to hospital Loma de Luz in Balfate, Honduras. This was my family’s third time going to help at the hospital on the northern coast of Honduras. This year we were able to take Raquel's parents, Oscar and Judy Vilhauer, with us as well. Thank you to all the friends, family and organizations that helped make this trip so successful. Pictures, stories and even a video tour that I made can be found on the websites above.

Let me tell you about our adventures! In preparation to go down to Loma de Luz we asked for friends and family to support us with items to take to the hospital and to pray for us while we were in Honduras. The items and money donated were greatly appreciated by the missionaries and staff of the hospital and will help in their work greatly. We also received many bags full of requested medical supplies and a ventilator machine from the Lutheran medical organization called Global Health Ministries. An organization named Crosslink International from Virginia also provided over $5000 in medications to take down to the hospital. We organized our trip through World Medical Mission, that supports us through logistics and prayer. All of these organizations are truly God inspired and make it so much easier to support medical missions around the world. Thank you for all your support.

Our family loaded up all of the donated supplies in 12 large suitcases to check at the airport, 5 large backpacks, and 6 carry-ons with our clothes for the two and a half weeks in Honduras. We got up at 3:30 AM on May 12th, 2011 to get to the airport and check-in our bags. We had to reorganize some of the bags to get under the 52 pound limit and off we went. We arrived in San Pedro Sula, Honduras that afternoon and Dr. Renee Kusler picked us up from the airport and took us on a little vacation to beautiful Roatan for a few nights. Then it was off to buy groceries and head to the hospital.

For the next two weeks we all helped out in many ways in the many ministries at Loma de Luz. Raquel helped classify and sort glasses at the eye glass clinic, unpacked and distributed the many medical supplies we brought, counted medications in the pharmacy, helped a missionary kid with PowerPoint, updated links on the new website, and played with the many missionary kids and Honduran kids with the help of my sons, Jaden and Clay. Raquel's mom Judy helped sew some missionary banners, photo boards, pants, and 60 bandanas for the upcoming Missionary Kids Camp starting the week after we left. She also helped discuss plans for the upcoming pre-school building and was a great help with the cooking, cleaning and child care! Raquel's dad Oscar was very busy helping with many construction projects including installing 2 air conditioners, changing some windows, changing some window handles, installing a sink in the guard shack, fixing some gutters, expanding some doors, shaving down some doors, installing clocks, installing hooks, fixing toilets, installing a new shower head, fixing the light in our room at staff housing and many more projects.

As for me I saw patients in clinic, saw patients in the emergency room, admitted patients to the hospital, sewed up the lip of a 4 year old boy, sewed up a thumb of a girl helping to build the new chicken house on the farm, counseled and prayed with a patient who was dying from an incurable lung disease, admitted a patient with a heart attack and heart failure, admitted two patients with severe diabetic foot ulcers that will need amputations, admitted a 17 year old boy with a large inguinal abscess with over 10 milliliters of puss drained, and taught the nurses and doctors how to use the new ventilator that we brought down.

There was one patient that really made an impact on me, we will call her Maria. Maria was a 62 year old lady who came in requiring oxygen with a tank that had just run out and she was having significant trouble breathing. In Honduras it takes a very long time to get to the real story. She starts out by telling me her back hurts and she can't breathe. We get Maria on some oxygen and she is feeling better. I always start by asking the patient when they were last feeling well and then to tell me the story of what led to them being here. In the US I usually get a pretty accurate story with this question, but Maria just said she can't breathe and her whole body hurts. I ask her and her family more about her story and with every question I find out another piece of the story but never in order and never do I get more information than I ask. I ask how long this has been going on. She says 3 days and then clarifies it is more like 2 months. I ask if she has seen a doctor for this. She says she was referred here by a doctor in Jutiapa, one of the larger towns up the road. I ask if she knew what was wrong with her or had any records. She and her family said no. By this time I get the labs and an x-ray back that I ordered when she came in. Her x-ray shows severe bilateral interstitial lung disease with scarring of most of her lungs and her blood work looks fairly normal. I tell them she has scarring in her lungs which could be caused by many things. Her son, will call him Tomas, then tells me that a doctor in Tegucigalpa said the same thing. Tegucigalpa is the capital of Honduras with a large government run hospital. Now after I have spent about 40 minutes with the patient I finally find a link to an actual story. Over the next 40 minutes I eventually get the number for the physician in Tegucigalpa, talk to the physician on the phone, find out Maria was in the hospital in Tegucigalpa for 8 weeks in February and March, and find out she had TB about 2 years ago that was treated for 6 months with negative tests since then. I find out she had numerous CT scans, bronchoscopies (where they put a camera into the lungs) and bronchial biopsies (where they get tissue from the lungs). They did not find any bacteria, fungus, cancer or TB. Even though they didin't find any of these things they tried many treatments including antibiotics, antifungals, and high dose steroids for months with no improvement. She was eventually diagnosed with Pulmonary fibrosis and pulmonary hypertension (high blood pressure in the lungs) and sent home on oxygen and told there was nothing else they could do. The family heard about the medical mission hospital Loma de Luz and we were their last hope to find someone who could treat this disease. Unfortunately there is no effective treatment for Pulmonary Fibrosis anywhere in the world. I did however take the time to sit down with the family and explain the disease that was destroying her lungs and explain that no doctor could cure her disease, but I told them that God is the great healer and is in control which gave them some home and reassurance. We talked about Jesus, heaven, the dying process and salvation. She said she was a Christian and going to heaven when God calls her home. We prayed for God to heal her and I gave her some morphine pills to have at home because they couldn't afford oxygen and she was getting worse. I told them these could help make her comfortable so she didn't feel short of breath when the oxygen ran out. The patient and family expressed their gratitude for taking the time to explain things to them and pray with them and then we hugged and it was time to see the next patient. It is amazing how God uses the staff at Loma de Luz to bring people closer to Him, even when we can't fix their physical problems. I am so blessed to be part of this ministry and can't wait to help again next year!

Thank you to everyone that supported us,

Bryan, Raquel, Jaden and Clay Jarabek

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