Tuesday, June 03, 2014

Pray for John

Whoaaaa... coming back from the past here! :)

I am sure that not one person reads much of this here blog, but... it's still a place I look back to when I am feeling nostalgic and need a reminder that I actually went to Honduras.

Recently, one of the pequeños passed away, and I reflected about it on my current place on the interwebs.

"Please, please pray for the repose of the soul of John*.

We (as in past volunteers) were just notified today of John's passing.

I did not know John personally. Although, I knew of him. Everyone did. He was always getting into mischief.  But, he was also just your average 15 year old. Trying to navigate through life, sometimes having more trouble than other times, but doing the best that he could do. Many volunteers have been sharing memories of him through emails, and it's pretty awesome. He touched so many lives."

Click here to read the rest.

I may or may not be partaking in some fundraising opportunities in the near future for NPH! I have no idea if I will post about it here or on Jumping in Puddles. But, I'll let you know! :)

Please continue to keep the NPH family in your prayers.

*name has been changed

Monday, September 10, 2012

New blog...

... http://jumpinginpuddlesisfun.blogspot.com/ ...

For those of you who are interested... this is my new blog! :)  Just started, so don't have too many expectations!


Friday, August 24, 2012

Some News

I am not really sure where to begin this post.

As some of you know, I have been struggling with some stuff the last few months, some of which I may have alluded to in one way or another.  But, I am not going to hash it out on here, as this is not the place, nor do I think everyone really needs to know.

Basically, what things have boiled down to (which doesn’t make it easy or understandable) is that I am not content/happy.  I can’t say that it’s all things to do with the Ranch, and my life here in Honduras.  But, my unhappiness has come from somewhere a little more within, and has begun to effect many aspects of my daily life.  Something is missing.

After doing much reflection, I think I began feeling this way before I left for Honduras, but kind of pushed those thoughts and feelings aside because I was about to embark on a really great adventure, where I probably thought I would find myself a little more.

Well, I have indeed found out a lot about myself, but not the things that affect my inside: my heart, my soul.  Something is indeed missing, and I am not sure I am going to find it here.

Therefore, I have made the (very difficult and agonizing) decision to leave the Ranch and Honduras.

I have spent countless hours thinking, praying, talking to others (mainly my family/friends and our amazing and supportive volunteer coordinator), crying and agonizing about what the right thing is.  I don’t necessarily want to leave, but I don’t think staying is the right thing either.  This also doesn’t mean I have these great plans ahead of me or know exactly what I am going to do next, and that’s ok.  I need to take care of me, and make sure I am happy and content with this amazing life that God has given me.

I want to just thank everyone who has supported me, prayed for me, read this blog, sent encouraging emails, etc.  It really means so very much that you have taken the time and care to know how I am doing.  Please continue to pray for me as I figure out what the next steps are for my life.

Also, if anyone from NPH or anyone interested in volunteering with NPH has been reading along, please know that NPH and, specifically, NPH Honduras is a great place, doing wonderful things for all of these kids.  I am so lucky and blessed to have been a part of this place, but I am just not sure that it was a perfect fit for me.  If you have any questions, please don’t ever hesitate to email me.

As I don’t know what I am doing with my life (I mean, this is kind of normal at age 27… right? … right?), I don’t know where this blog will go, either.  I think I will take a break from updating it for now, and possibly revamp it in the future.  Thank you for tagging along on this crazy adventure, following God’s call to Honduras… and beyond. :)

Tuesday, August 21, 2012


Whoa... it's been a bit since I posted, but I was on vacay, so it's ok. :)  Instead of telling you all about it, I know you would appreciate pictures instead... so please enjoy!!  We had a few days on the ranch and then went to the island of Roatan!

Mom got to meet her godson, Isai!

The amazing view from the pool.


Funny story about getting this massage on the beach... ask me about it sometime. :)

Gorgeous sunset!

Taking the water taxi to the west end to walk around.

Then we found a dude walking by with a monkey. :)

My turn.

We went zip-lining!!

Mom fought her fear and did it too!!

Where we ended our zip-lining right near the beach.

Then a walk through the park.

More monkeys to hang out with.

So pretty!!
It was a really amazing vacation spent with my mom!  We couldn't have asked for better weather, a perfect place to stay and of course company! :)

Friday, August 03, 2012

Despidida y Brigada

It's been a pretty busy week.  The brigade began in full swing with consults Thursday through Saturday.  I worked with the dermatologist most of the time, who was just doing many consults and minor excisions of various things.  I was also able to interpret for some of the ortho consults, too.  And, ya know what?  My Spanish has improved.  I remember reflecting on it the last brigade and thinking that it wasn't very good back then.  Let's not get ahead of ourselves here, and think that it's just totally awesome.  It's not.  But, it's better, and that is a good thing. :)  And, I have to keep reminding myself of that when I am frustrated and think that I know nothing!

We interrupted the brigade to say goodbye to some of the old volunteers with their despidida.  It was much harder this time to say goodbye, as I have grown close to the ladies that were leaving.  We had a great dinner at one of the local places, had some drinks and went out dancing.  It was a fun (and very late) night!  It's just awesome when all of the volunteers can be together, in one place, at the same time.

Irene and I... so cute. :)  Miss you already!

ALL of us! :)  Such a big group!  I love you all!

Kate!!  I miss you, too!

Roomies!  :)

A few of the newbies. :)

Monday came along, and Alissa (pictured above in the last pic, on the right) and I decided to split our time between the external and helping with the brigade.  I think it worked out well.  It was a little different experience for me this time, as I already had a brigade under my belt.  I kind of felt like I belonged this time, but it's still weird not knowing all of these people who come to help for the brigade, at this place that has become like a home.  It's always hard to share your home with so many people, ya know?  But, it's what the Ranch is about it.  Bring people in to help love, teach and be there for our kids and the outside community.  It's also hard b/c it's all things American.  Ha, all of the English, good food, and American medical standard.  I miss it.  All of it.  I am not sure what I miss more though, hospital nursing or things that remind me of home.  Who knows?!

My time during the brigade was running back and forth from pre-op to phase 1 (where the patients go right after surgery) and phase 2 (where the patients are awake, can start drinking something, and can see family) to peaking in on the surgeries.  Because my Spanish is better, I felt more comfortable explaining things and helping out with discharge.  I didn't take any pics this time, other than when I was scrubbed in helping with a knee arthroscopy.  Well, of course, I didn't take them, one of the girls did! 
Haha, all scrubbed, waiting to dress in my sterile stuff.

Listening intently to Dr. Daly

Oh yea!

Don't you just love my 60's style goggles?! :)

Welp, that's about all that's going on here.  The countdown is in FULL swing to see my mom... FIVE daysssss! :) :)  I can't wait, I can't wait, I can't wait.  Just TWO more days of work and then this much needed time to be with my mom, relax, reflect and recharge.

¡Abrazos y Paz!

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Good Days.

The first week of training Alissa, the new nurse, has been going well.  It's fun to kind of see things through her eyes... not knowing how things work, being nervous, being overwhelmed, but always getting excited about everything.  It's refreshing and really nice to see. :)  And, reminds me of how far I have come, even if I don't feel like it all of the time.

It was a weird week in parts b/c Wednesday, the WHOLE ranch (meaning, all the kids, tios/tias, employees, teachers, etc) had a day that they cleaned the ranch.  I am still not quite sure what the point of it was... some say to help decrease the risk of Dengue (a disease from mosquitos), others say to prepare for Olimpiadas.  But, who knows?  I, though, did not participate b/c I had to return to Immigration YET again, to get my residency card.  I had low hopes that it would even be ready, considering my experience for the last 5 months has been not so great.  But... to my wonderful, wonderful surprise... it was!  I am an official and legal resident of this great country, Honduras.

Yes, it's backwards.  I know.

The kid, J, is still in the hospital... so there was some drama/confusion about who is supposed to be with him.  So, it has made our staffing a little tight/stretched these days, which also meant that I had to do another turno in the internal clinic.  It was an interesting night of being with some obnoxious/bratty teenagers.  Yup, they are the same everywhere.

Friday... I had a good day.  I don't remember the last time that I could say that honestly.  And, it feels good.  It's encouraging.  It gives me hope.  And, these are good things, considering I have 6 months left here.  I poured out my heart to some good friends recently, and they have been sending some much needed prayers this way.  And, I think I can really feel the effects of the Holy Spirit. :)  Woo!  And, of course, having an amazing family of unwavering support is always a plus, too.  I just hope I can hold on to this and enjoy these next months here.

Welp, I am enjoying a work-free weekend, relaxing and chatting with friends.  I have a little over TWO weeks until my mom is here and we get to relax on the beach.  Who wouldn't be looking forward to that?!  And, Olimpiadas fever has started.  In August, there will be a week of crazy activities and competitions, where the ENTIRE ranch participates.  We have just found out what teams we are on.  From here on out, we have meetings with our teams to plan, decorate, come up with a dance and other crazy things.  I am not sure what to expect, other than it is sure to be fun, tiring, entertaining and create a lot of memories.

To that, I will say "¡nos vemos!" (see you!). :)
Abrazos y Amor!

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Are you keeping track?

... well, I am sick yet again.  I have a little cold thing... sore throat, body aches, fever the other day.

Yup, that's my life now.  Aren't you jealous?!

This week begins training the new nurse and such.  So, I am super excited about that... as most of you who know me, know that it was one of my fave parts of Children's, orienting the new grad nurses. :)  Woo!!

And, it's super nice to NOT be the only licensed medical professional now on the ranch.  We have Alissa, Brad (doctor) and his wife Sherri who is also a nurse.  So, this is very exciting.

I hope you all are well.  Miss everyone all the time.
Abrazos y Paz!

Thursday, July 12, 2012

A la hospital

Today, I had one of those experiences where I realized how so, very lucky our kids are to live here on the ranch.  And, also, I wish I had my camera.

One of the kids on the ranch, who I will call J, has CP and is bound to a wheelchair.  Occasionally, due to his inability to feel his legs and the poor circulation, he develops some pretty serious ulcers.  When they get really infected, and we have tried to treat them with the resources we have here with no avail, the only other option is to send J to the hospital for further treatment and stronger antibiotics.  So, today was yet another day for him to head to the hospital.

The thing is... no one likes to go to the hospital... especially the public one in Tegus.  Everyone knows "that's where people go to die."  Unfortunately, the Ranch isn't made of money, so we, too, need to send our kids their for treatment sometimes.

So, thus, I accompanied J and another nurse (thank God!) to the hospital and all that it had to "offer."  Here is a look at how the day went:

  1. Leave the Ranch around 10 and arrive to the hospital around 11.
  2. Get my first glimpse of this building... big, ugly, old...
  3. Enter the pediatric "emergency department" (room with chairs, with people all over).
  4. Flag someone down to tell them that we have a reference and that J is an emergency.
  5. Have that person direct us to another person, who tells us (more like mumbles) that we need to see orthopedics.
  6. Wait.
  7. See someone there who says that X-rays are needed.
  8. Get hand written order.
  9. Walk down the long hall to where we need to pay for the x-rays.
  10. Go down another hallway to find radiology.
  11. Get x-rays done (actually a bunch of really nice people).
  12. Wait for the actual x-rays.
  13. Walk them back to the ER and flag down an ortho doc.
  14. Wait.
  15. Get told that the specialist won't be in until 5pm.
  16. Wait a bit, and by God's grace another ortho doc sees us.
  17. Oops, they need an x-ray of the left leg, too!  Oh, and some labs.
  18. Wait for more hand written orders and labs to be drawn (glove used as a tourniquet, not worn, and blood just taken with a syringe with a needle attached.  And, labeled with a piece of tape). 
  19. Go back to the place to pay for those things (which somehow we didn't actually have to pay for.  Woot!).
  20. Take the blood samples to the lab.
  21. Go back to radiology to get an X-ray of the left leg.
  22. Return to the ER.
  23. Flag another ortho doc. down to help.
  24. Wait.
  25. We are finally told that J needs to be admitted (obviously!)
  26. Wait.
  27. We realize we are all starving, so Anabeli, another nurse who was helping, decide to go get lunch.  It's almost 2:30.
  28. Get back, J and Rebeca are still waiting.
  29. Walk to the lab to get the results, but they were not ready.  And, no one was in the lab to ask about them.
  30. Continue to wait.
  31. Finally get told J has a bed.
  32. We go to the room... with 20 other kids (I wish I had my camera).
  33. One licensed nurse for all of the kids.
  34. We were asked if we had sheets and a blanket for the bed.  Um, nope.  They allowed us to borrow a sheet.
  35. Get J on the bed ourselves (well, a few guys helped us.)
  36. Nurse comes over and looks for a vein to get more blood and place an IV.  She is 'surprised' that we never got the results from the first blood that was taken.
  37. Then, I am told that there can only be 1 person that stays.
  38. I leave.  It's a little after 4:30.
I was so sad to leave J there.  Of course Rebeca is there, but that place is scary.  Please pray for him that he stays safe and they provide him with what he needs to heal.

All of the doctors, nurses and other personell are so over-worked, they have lost the compassion for helping it seems.  Everyone seemed to be in a bad mood and what not.  I was shocked that not one single person did a full head-to-toe exam, no one listened to his heart or lungs.  No one did a set of vital signs.  Not even a temp... you would think that at the least they would have thought to do that b/c he has crazy infected ulcers.  But, no.

It also disgusted me how many people (nurses, docs, any random person) just would stare at J.  Look at his legs and even asked Rebeca and I what was wrong.  The nerve!  How incredibly rude.  The kid understands you!  Come on.  One lady (who in all fairness was probably thinking she was being super nice and selfless) even gave J a wad of cash!  Seriously.  Just came up to him and gave him money.  I couldn't believe it.  That lady has no idea how good J has it, and how NOT poor he is.

Another thing that I will probably never forget is of an 8 day old baby.  While we were all waiting, before we found out what room J would have, we talked with a couple who was just waiting, too.  They were there with their 8 day old baby who had pneumonia, so they brought the baby to the hospital, but while they were there, the baby died!  Died.  They were just waiting.  For what?  Who knows?  And doctors and other people were just walking right past... some even looking at the lump of blankets in he crib.  It was terrible.  Heart-wrenching.  Ugh.  Rest in Peace, Baby.  May you be resting in God's embrace.

It was a crazy day.  I am sure that J will be just fine.  He has been there before, and came out just fine.  But, he has a good support system, and we are able to pay for the care he needs.  If you can't pay, then you can't get treated.  So, if you are poor, then you get terrible medical care.  Therefore, the majority of people get terrible medical care.  It's just a sad, sad system.

Like I said, I am so thankful NPH exists and we have a doctor here the majority of the time.  And, we have an amazing surgery center that is able to provide a safe option for surgical needs.  Not just for our kids, but the surrounding community.  Thank God, thank God, thank God.

Please keep all of the sick people that have no other option than to get care at that hospital in your prayers.  And, for Honduras in general.  There are some really good people, and good things here... I just pray that the government and systems will change and things can be great.

Saturday, June 30, 2012

Is it really that time??

Well, first let me just say that I had an interesting week this past week.  My weekend started off really hopeful, with a day last Friday at the city dump (where literally all of the trash goes and is burned, and people make a living off of it, and there are multiple little towns around/in it... yes, in it) for a brigade with the Catholic University.  It was a nice change of pace, working with a ton of people to provide a little medical care, food and hygiene materials for the people of that area.  Even though I didn't have very much interaction with the people that lived there, I was still happy to help out in the little way that I did.

That afternoon, after a couple of beers with some of the girls (yes beers... what has happened to me?), I was really not feeling very well.  I ended up just resting in bed for the afternoon, trying to fight off the bouts of nausea I was having and then ended up throwing up for the whole night.  It was rough, and annoying b/c I was supposed to have a Skype date the following morning with Morgan (who is in SPAIN) and a friend I made in Copan was going to visit.  Poor timing, body, poor timing.  Well, suffice it to say, I did nothing really for the rest of the weekend other than sleep and eat a little.  That's the sickness for the month of June (for those keeping track!).

The external was closed this last week, and I was actually not looking forward to being in the internal the whole time.  I am still struggling like I belong and have a place within the clinic world, so it's hard sometimes.  But, it ended up being a blessing in disguise... I was able to get the de-parasiting thing all finished, finished up stuff for the new nurse coming, and all that jazz.  So, it was nice.  It was also really nice to get up in the morning and eat with the other volunteers and take my time.  I will miss that when I return to my regular schedule.

And, now all of a sudden it's time for the new volunteers to get here.  Is it really that time?  As we speak, I am sitting at the internet hut with 3 newbies (2 from Spain, which is so fun!).  I can't believe it!  The rest come this weekend.  I just don't feel like I am ready for them to be here... I am still new.  I still don't feel like I know what I am doing all of the time... I just GOT here. :)  But, asi es.  It's part of the volunteer life here on the Ranch.  It will be nice to get to know new people, and watch them go through this process, as well.

I think that's about it for recent events.  This next month will probably go by pretty darn quick... which is great... b/c my MOM IS COMING! :)  I am excited... is it obvious?

I hope you all are well!
Paz, Amor y Bendiciones!

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Things are just... normal

It's been a busy few weeks.  For a while I was incredibly stressed about getting fingerprinted, b/c I needed them to renew my nursing license.  I had tried once, sent them in and they were rejected and had to start at square one.  But, unfortunately, it's a hard thing to find here in this country.  Somewhere to get fingerprints.  Finally, after asking the people at the Embassy (again), they were able to give me a suggestion, and it worked out!  It was a hilarious experience.  Ask me about it sometime. The same day, Hunter, Christina, and I needed to go to Immigration (this was my 4 trip) to see if our residency was ready.  Right when we get there, I get a text from my mom saying that my nursing license was renewed, and I don't have to stress about the prints!  WHAT?!  I couldn't believe it... so much stress and running around, to finally get those things, and then... my thing was renewed already!  Oh well... it worked out and that's what counts.  To top it off, our residency was NOT ready (again), and we will have to return yet another time.  Oh, Honduras...

Last week the external was closed, due to the employees having off, so I worked in the internal clinic.  There is another wave of Chicken Pox running through the Ranch, and has only seemed to affect Casa Suyapa.  So, in the internal clinic there were about 8 of the youngest kids on the Ranch being quarantined.  I had a few turnos (overnight shifts), and they were crazy.  It's hard to keep track of that many kids in general, but add the fact that they don't really know me very well AND my Spanish sucks, there was very little listening happening.   I had some help, thank God, so I was able to get through it.  Not without a few freak outs (normal, yes?) and questioning my ability to be a mom one day.  Ha.  But seriously...

We have had well over 50 patients every single day this week in the external.  CRAZY.  It makes for longs days, working until 4, when I still need to work on de-parasitizing stuff (yes, I am responsible for giving the entire Ranch meds for parasites, which happens about every 6 months)... and going to Hogar until 8.  Ugh.  But, asi es.  I had some nice moments with patients which reminded me that I really am doing a cool thing.

Other than that... things are just... normal.  It's kind of weird.  I wanted to write about everything all of the time when I first got here, b/c it was so new.  Almost being here for 6 months, I now have this sense of home and normalcy in a way, so it's hard to pick out the things to talk about.  I don't really know when that even happened... but it did, and I think it's a sign that I am doing what I am supposed to be doing.

I hope that things are going well for you all!
A shout out to all the dads our there... Happy Father's Day!!  Especially to mine. :)