Tuesday, July 13, 2010

A while back (actually during Nurse's week) Heather Smith, our union president asked me to write about my experiences in Haiti. Part of my story was published in the union newsletter but not all of it. The story directs people to this blog so I am going to publish the story I wrote here so people can read it. It is a new blog post so..here goes.

I know that there is not enough space nor time to tell you of how I feel..I watch the word counter at the bottom of the screen and I fear I will run out of room even before I can scratch the surface of what my recent trip to Haiti meant to me, did to me, made me feel.. but I will try because I have to try and help you understand…

Gut wrenching; heart expanding; incapacitating ; hopeful

0130: I am holding an 18 month old child in my arms..he bolts awake every so often, turns his head and looks at me..reassured I have not let him go. I cannot begin to explain to you the look in his eyes, the weight of his 15 pounds in my arms, the sadness the emanates from him..the pain he must feel emotionally and physically..he has not eaten in 2 weeks..no explanation...

Childhood malnutrition is very prevalent in Haiti. It is a combination of many different factors. According to the WHO prior to the quake 46% of Haitians were malnourished and that was before the quake!

“you are loved little boy, may you always feel my arms around you sending you loving no matter where you are”

Two Days later: able to stand for the first time...as I leave to go home to sleep after the night shift I play "this little piggy" and I get the smallest smile...I am elated!!

10 hours later: returned to the clinic..cot empty..turn to my friend Brian..
"sorry Canada, she left with him, seems she felt we were not feeding her properly..."

..because it's about her...incapacitating...

1030: “Can you check out my granddaughter, she was accidentally stepped on. We live under a tarp, her mother died in the earthquake”

No flail chest, no apparent broken ribs..fine, except for that horrible productive cough, fever of 39C and the fact that she is 3 months old and weighs 6 pounds. She has pneumonia, we think..diagnosis of elimination, no blood work , no x-rays, no NICU consults… good old fashion basic skills and best guess.

Antibiotics and bring her back tomorrow for a check-up…no admission to the hospital, no see your pediatrician in the morning, there isn’t one..anywhere.

0900 next day: higher fever, more productive cough, more lethargic..lets admit her to our cots on the terrace. They are not for the view, they are for the really sick so we can keep a closer eye on them…

4 weeks later baby and grandma are enrolled in the parenting classes , getting formula each week and thriving..as much as one can thrive in Haiti, living under a tarp with 6 other people, no guarantees of food or water, no guarantees of a future but..


Please check out the following organizations and blogs.

I would like to take this opportunity to thank all the wonderful staff of the Cross Cancer Inpatient unit for their logistical/emotional and financial support! You are wonderful and I could not do half of what I do if it weren’t for you! I would also like to thanks the Wound Care Team at the Misericordia hospital for their crash course in wound care before I left! As well a special thank you to Debbie from CONVATEC for the donation of awesome wound care products (which were put to good use!!)

Thursday, July 8, 2010


People never cease to amaze me...I really don't know how to thank everyone who has supported me..emotionally and financially these past 6 months! I truly could not have done half of it without you! So please accept this humble note as my thanks to you...friends, family, strangers (or friends I have not met yet). You all make me want to be a better person, you push me to do more, you inspire me (thanks Matt!) and although said by many before I do believe there are not a greater group of people in the world!

My friend Barb said to me today "it sometimes takes just one person Lise to make that difference" but the thing is I don't feel like "one person" with you all standing behind me...

Love Lise

P.S. Almost final total= $2800!!
P.S.S. check out Johns blog on the houses being built!

Monday, July 5, 2010

Final Pictures from the Night!!

more pictures

More pictures from the night...

Fundraising Fun!

Here are a few pictures from the great Fundraiser! Thanks to everyone for their support prior, during and after! We raised over $2000 for Heartlines Housing Program! From the bottom of my heart thank you!!!

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Sometimes I find words cannot express what I feel in my heart..whether its to express the depths to which I love someone, the sadness I feel at the tragedies and losses in life or the gratitude that I feel towards those around me...so I will turn to better writers then me to hopefully find the words that elude me...

On Love my favorite...

I do not love you as if you were salt-rose, or topaz,
or the arrow of carnations the fire shoots off.
I love you as certain dark things are to be loved,
in secret, between the shadow and the soul.

I love you as the plant that never blooms
but carries in itself the light of hidden flowers;
thanks to your love a certain solid fragrance,
risen from the earth, lives darkly in my body.

I love you without knowing how, or when, or from where.
I love you straightforwardly, without complexities or pride;
so I love you because I know no other way

than this: where I does not exist, nor you,
so close that your hand on my chest is my hand,
so close that your eyes close as I fall asleep.

Pablo Neruda

On Sadness...

There are circumstances that must shatter you; and if you are not shattered, then you have not understood your circumstances. In such circumstances, it is a failure for your heart not to break. And it is pointless to put up a fight, for a fight will blind you to the opportunity that has been presented by your misfortune. Do you wish to persevere pridefully in the old life? Of course you do: the old life was a good life. But it is no longer available to you. It has been carried away, irreversibly. So there is only one thing to be done. Transformation must be met with transformation. Where there was the old life, let there be the new life. Do not persevere. Dignify the shock. Sink, so as to rise.

And finally a quote that completely summarized how I felt this morning after the resounding success of our fundraiser last night..

I awoke this morning with devout thanksgiving for my friends, the old and the new.

- Ralph Waldo Emerson

And this...

How far that little candle throws his beams!So shines a good deed in a weary world. ~ William Shakespeare

Thank you all for shedding a beam of light into the lives of those so in need of it right now..the people of Haiti...

"I would thank you from the bottom of my heart, but for you my heart has no bottom". ~ Author Unknown