Saturday, January 23, 2010

AND THEN THERE WAS LIGHT!!!!

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Courtesy of The News Journal/Suchat Pederson

Good evening all,

I first want to start out by saying "Merci Beau Coup" for all of the kind words, well wishes and insightful thoughts. Today was a good day like Ice Cube's old school hit that we bobbed our heads too and felt good about.

Our day started with the best oatmeal I have ever had in life!! Cinnamon flavored and melting in your mouth. The Haitian woman who has prepared the breakfast only snickers at me as I inhaled two bowls in
front of her. I haven't eaten much because of my excitement and committment to working tirelessly. Not to mention the 90 degree heat. Last night I left you with frustration and exhaustion. Today I speak to you with much more encouragement and elation.


My Cuban Brothers - Photo courtesy of The News Journal/Suchat Pederson

At 7AM we arrived at Saint Michael Hospital here in Jacmel, Haiti.Our entire team met up with physicians from Inova Fairfax Hospital in VA and began to triage patients and provide the optimal care for them. As I approached the outdoor corridor to begin to try to once again establish an operating room. I was greeted by Roland, the funny Cuban anesthesiologist from Cuba. He pulled me to the side and asked for my Florida State Seminole scrub cap. For those of you that don't know, a scrub cap is that "hat" most surgeon's wear in the operating room. For me as part of my operating room style, I like to wear colorful scrub caps with college football logos on them. He likes the maroon/red color as it reminds him of his native Cuba. He also requested a New York Yankees scrub cap because of C.C. Sabatha. I quickly let him know that as a Philly boy, C.C. Sabatha was washed up, needed to lose about 20 and those songs about New York from Sinatra to Jay-Z and Alicia Keys stink. Oh yeah Mr. Roland, the Yanks will have to see the Phils again. We got a quick laugh and I promised once again that I would give him my information for future contact and grant him his Fla. St. scrub cap wish.I will leave him with Tennesee, Duke, and Michigan State.

Enough kidding around!! Today God demonstrated to me just how great a force he is. Discouragement and disappointment has now turned to elation and excitement. For you see today WE WON the RACE. We met a team from Illinois and the tri-state plus region (Philly, Jersey and B'more).They had two anesthesiologists with medications and the desire to provide assistance in getting us up and running. Let me tell you, they were a godsend. The Philly raised anesthesiologist fixed the broken anesthesia machine in the swaying operating room. New York?? One word, Philly!


This is the generator that gives us a power supply.
The Canadian Army continues to supply us with diesel fuel.

She and Dr. Brebbia found that there was a leak in one of the circuits. She is a Colonel in the US Army. She made a few calls and in about an hour she had the machine in our tent and ready to provide anesthesia. A victory indeed. Next, the Canadian forces that had been so gracious to us rode in like the calvary and provided us with over 40 gallons of diesel fuel to power our generator. Last problem was solved by one of the Haitian physicians. Her father was an electrician on site. With his experienced hands he made our generator operational and fed power into our field operating room. One of our translators provided us with cords for lights, a fan and he went out and brought us an air conditioner back to cool our tent. Incredible to say the least. A page from MacGyver. I am proud to say that our operating room is fully functional and I performed the first real operation today.

With my other surgical coleagues we have done five cases for the day and have had great results. First, was little 4 year old Louis (Lu-eee). He had a cut to the undersurface of his chin during the quake and now had an abscess. I drained his abscess and as he hugged me goodbye he changed my life forever. I hope to see him again before I leave Haiti. He must fight all odds to survive in his poverty stricken nation. His follow up is on Monday. The others faired well including a man who needed a hernia repair. He was doing well when I left this evening at 630PM. In addition, I also rounded with the Cubans and the Haitians and saw all of the patients on the ward to look at all wounds and schedule surgeries for tomorrow. I find that WE as a team are gaining trust with our multinational colleagues. They now have a different perception of Americans without a doubt.Even with the Cubans and Haitians flying their rrespective flags on the tents I have that our team put a banner with the title OR 7... Haiti, Cuba, Canada, US". Wr hope to make a point without pounding our chests.

Our Father in Heaven NEVER let's us down. He only tests us to see if our faith will be everlasting and durable. Today was an affirmation of this FACT.

WE are clearly making a difference. Tonight as I walk back to the compound where we are staying, my colleagues who are not surgeons have made a clinic with babies, adolescents and adults lining the streets seeking medical attention. Our supplies are strong, the people are determined to move on with their lives and I am proud of our efforts to make something out of NOTHING.

AND THEN THERE WAS LIGHT!!

- Doc J.

20 comments:

Christopher Rippie said...

"This little light of mine, I'm going to let it shine" and shine indeed you have Dr. Steven A. Johnson. I remain glued to your updates, progress and metaphysical discoveries. - Christopher Rippie

Anonymous said...

YOur update brings tears of joy to my eyes.

PRoverbs 3:5-6 Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight.

Jer.32:17, 26-27 "Ah, Sovereign Lord, you have made the heavens and the earth by your great power and outstretched arm. NOthing is too hard for you..." Then the word of the Lord came to Jeremiah: " I am the Lord,the God of all mankind. Is anything too hard for me?"

Lam3:32 Though he brings grief, he will show compassion, so great is his unfailing love.

Eccles. 5:12 THe sleep of a laborer is sweet, whether he eats little or much, but the abundance of a rich man permits him no sleep

James 1:2-4 Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Perseverance must finsih its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.

Please read and share. There should be a little something listed above for everyone in your crew.

MJ

Anonymous said...

Honey-

There is room for Lu-eee at our home and there is no question there is room for him in our hearts!

MJ

Audrey said...

Brother in Law,
Words cannot say how heavy my heart has been through all of this, in a good way. Between the news team, Meek and now your blog, I feel as if we are taking this journey with you. I am so glad we are able to stay informed and hear from you. Keep being the blessing you are being to the residents of Haiti. Meek and the girls are fine. Lots of folks checking on them often. See you when you get home. Love your sis in law.

Audrey

Anonymous said...

Sands,
Nicole and I are praying for you and all those who journeyed with you. Keep up the good work. Remember, shun not the struggle, for it's God's gift...

SWJ

Haji Glover said...

What up Dr. J - Our prayers and blessings are with you and your team. You are doing a wonderful thing. Looking forward to seeing you when you return. Much love and respect.

Haji

Anonymous said...

Steve,

I spoke with Miko today. I am so proud of you and the work that your team are doing. You are a shinning example of going above and beyond to help fellow man. I can't thank you or tell enough people about your deeds and sacrifice. Keep up the good work and since the COWBOYS are not in the playoffs anymore you wont be missing anything with the Football Games.... Just a little bit of humor for ya Bruh.

Anyway, take care and hit me when you need anything. I want you to know that I am keeping you and your family and my prayer.

YITB,

Antar

Anonymous said...

Anonymous said...

Dear Steve,

I am in awe of you. As someone who knew you when you were in medical school, it is amazing to know your talents are not going to waste. As someone of Haitian descent, I thank you.

It makes me happy to know that that Haitians can see us helping them in the wake of all this tragedy.

Shirley (otis' wife)
January 23, 2010 4:02 PM

Phil said...

Hey Steve,

Once again you were in my prayers this morning as you continue to do God's work (John 3:16).I just want to thank you, for continuing to show the world how GOD loves us and how we can show appreciation for his love through faith, sacrifice and dedication.

As I talk to some of my friends and collegues we are wondering how we can contribute to your team. Is there anything that you need that we can raise money to send to your team, food, clothing, etc. Please let me know so we can coordinate.

Thank you brother for being such a solid foundation in our community, fraternity and in life.

Yours in the bond,

Phil Spring 2000.

Joel B said...

Steve and crew

You and the team are providing a great service to the people of Haiti while acting as ambassadors for the US (and the Philadelphia area). Keep GOD in your hearts and all things will work out fine. Tell the team that our thoughts and prayers are with them.

P.S. Love how you’re representing the Phillies out there. Now all we have to do is get you to support the Eagles…LOL

Roman said...

ADP,

You are a special man. A true example of a christian that embraces the phrase "What you are is God's gift to you... What you make of yourself is your gift to God". We are all proud of how you are giving and growing from this experience. Stay strong. Stay Healthy. Stay true to who you are, because your work and your radiance reaches far beyond Haiti. Proud of you. Hard to believe that you are actually a stinking cowgirls fan. KEEP ACHIEVING....

Roman, Elana, and the boyz

Jacque said...

I choked up throughout my entire reading-out-loud of your post, Martin and I are so grateful you and everyone else on the ground is providing the beautiful people of Haiti with much needed care.
You are the true heroes of this world! Your actions are a gift and are for sure ones that will pay forward thousand-fold. You are all in our thoughts and prayers. Keep up the phenomenal work! We feel blessed to know you and your beautiful family!

Anonymous said...

My name is CArine and I'm a friend of Tomikos' from Rider. I am Haitian and I'm currently making arrangements to come to Haiti as a trauma and grief counselor as early as next weekend. I also serve as the mission director for my church and last year Tomiko and I talked briefly about you the posibility of a medical mission to Haiti and DR - I guess it was bound to happen. I look forward to following your blog and hopefully if we are in Haiti the same time at least catch up (it's a small island) Thanks so much for your work. And also.... tell the cook to make you some duri a jion jion (black mushroom rice)

Anonymous said...

Steve,

Thank you for doing what many of us wish we could do. You have taken your talent and applied it for good. You are an inspiration to Camilla and I as we wrestle with what we can do beyond just giving a financial donation (though that is also important). Report on the miracles, but don't forget to report on the horrors because we cannot afford to forget the struggles of our people once you leave this nation.

With little make a lot. Keep safe and you have a lot of people looking out for and praying for you Meek and the kids.

And by the way, don't front on the Yankees!!!

Your brother and friend.

Dru, Camilla and the girls.

Anonymous said...

Hello Steve

It's Renee H. LaMontz & I are praying for you, your team and all others. We are so proud of you. Please keep your head up and pray daily.

Ann-Marie said...

Dr J~ Your thoughts and the pictures with daily updates have been so inspiring... I can say we are all raptly listening and sending you our prayers and thoughts all the time. Be safe, be well and Thanks for all you are doing!!! We love you back home!

Yolanda Dunston said...

Steve-
We are all so proud of the work you are doing. Our thoughts and prayers are with you, as well as with Tomiko and the girls as they wait for your safe return.

Much Love-
Yolanda, Phil, Tyler, and Tori Dunston

Licia said...

You have done wonderful things. Thank you so much for taking the time to share your experience. I studied Haitian dance with the legndary Katherine Dunham and other great teachers. Haiti and her people will always have a special place in my heart. Thank you for showing them so much compassion and respect.

Nestor McDade said...

Well done Little Lion or should I say Big Lion! LOL. You trruly made a diference bruh. - Rob P.

Jess Kokoszka said...

Dr. Johnson,
I am standing here reading your amazing blog while I am at work and tears are just streaming down my face! I am soooo incredibly proud to say that I know you. You and your team are absolutly amazing. This blog is awesome too! Please know that we are praying for u and are awaiting your return home. Keep up the good work! xoxox