Sunday, September 26, 2010

Doctor Nikki

A few minutes ago I just put in my first NG tube.  Earlier this week, Amy taught me how to do this and I have been waiting for my chance to do it on my own.  When I saw Amy put one in the first week I was here, I was shocked by the process and even said that I hoped I never had to do this.  Tonight when she asked me if I wanted to put it in I got really excited and ran over to do it!  Surprisingly it was way easier than what it looks like.  This is a good skill for me to have that way if Amy is ever gone and a child needs one I can put it in.

For those of you who don't have any idea what placing an NG tube entails I will explain.  I know I had no idea of what this was 3.5 months ago!

-The first thing you do, which is most important in Amy's book is wash your hands since the tube will be going into his stomach.

-Then you measure the tube by placing the end at their nostril, wrapping it around their ear, and bringing it down to the xiphoid process (the triangle part in between your ribs) and mark it with a sharpie so that you know how far to put it in.

-Third, you rub the end in a little bit of lubricant to make it go down easier.  You then push it in until the mark you made is at the end of the nostril

-Fourth you use a 60ml syringe and suction out to make sure that you get stomach contents.  This ensures that it is in the stomach and not else where.

-Fifth is taping it to the child's face, which was the trickiest part.

-Sixth you use the stethoscope to listen to their stomach as you push 5mls of air in the tube to once again ensure that it is in the stomach.

-Last you feed them!

Amy also walked me through the process of giving shots earlier this week.  I was supposed to give one the night after she taught me, but the child was done with her antibiotics.  I'll have to wait until the next time one of our children needs shots!!  I mean I am completely qualified to do these things based on the fact that I have zero nursing education!  At least I have a good teacher!!

Off to help Amy put an IV in.  No I won't be doing it, just holding the child!!

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Wettest School Day Ever!

Last week we had a water sensory table at preschool and the kids loved it!  Luckily the floor in the school is cement and it doesn’t matter if it gets a little (or a lot) wet!  The kids enjoyed taking the bottles and dumping them back in the bucket, all over themselves, on the floor, and especially, in their mouths.  I told the children numerous times not to drink the water, but we will just say that they were all very well hydrated when we were finished!  Surprisingly nobody dumped water on anyone else which I was kind of afraid of!  Often at school, the kids loose interest in what we are doing and begin to wander around or cause mischeif.  Last week they all stayed focused the entire time.  In fact I had to pull many of them away, which caused a different type of waterworks for some of them!!  I think their nannies were a little confused the first few days when I brought the children back soaked, but then on the last day one of the nannies came over and watched!  She laughed and thought it was amazing that the kids were having so much fun!!

We might have made a bit of a mess on the floor!!

On an unrelated note, I have a one year old sitting on the table next to me as I write this.  I have some christian music playing and she is dancing to it!  It’s super cute to watch her as she rocks her upper half back and forth with her two middle fingers in her mouth and an NG coming out of her nose!!  These kids never seize to amaze me!!

Also, our puppies are 2 week old today!  I try to go see them every 3-4 days when I have time!  I often forget about them.  Any one who knows me knows that this is not like me at all.  Normally I would be by the puppies side constantly giving them attention.  Just don't have time here.  I saw them 2 days ago but they were sleeping.  Nick said their eyes are open now.  Their not walking yet, not sure how long that takes!  I'll try to get pictures of them soon!!

Monday, September 20, 2010

A day at Paradise

Yesterday Nick, Amy, Jamies Mom, Mika (Jamie and Jenny's oldest), and I went to Paradise Beach for the day!  The 3 of us really needed the day off.  It had been a busy month and we were all starting to get worn out.  Nick and I both had colds and Amy was tired as well.  We were all so excited to get away for a few hours!
We drove for 1.5 hours and then took a 20 minute water taxi to the secluded beach.  There were a few people from the UN there but not many.  The entire day was such an adventure!  The boat we took to get there was, well we will just say "very Haitian."  It looked like the builder just grabbed a bunch of random wood and nailed it together.  There was water in the bottom of the boat, which I realize all boats have water in the bottom, but normally there is a floor so you cant see it.  The beach was small but really nice and remote.  There is a lot of coral there and we snorkeled for a bit, but the water was kind of cloudy for some reason so we couldn't see much. We think maybe the tides were off because of the hurricane that is off our shores.

As I was snorkeling, I poked my head up from under the water and heard Amy scream a little and say Jelly fish.  Her and Nick started swimming towards shore, so I decided to as well.  We don't know if the ones here sting or not, but decided we would stay away from that area for the rest of the day.  It was really nice to hang out with Amy for a while and get to know her better.  No Amy, I'm not just saying that because I know you read our blog, it really was nice to hang out with you!  We love our kids so much that during our day off, we talked about how next time we should bring some of the kids with us.  We then talked about which children would be cute at the beach and why!

We left the beach early to go out and eat at La Kay, our favorite restaurant in town.  We say that loosely as there are only really 2 restaurants that I know of and I have never eaten at the other.  We got there at 4 and they were closed until 6 but said they would let us in at 5.  As we were standing outside the gate, we saw two tourist of all things.  Tourist are VERY uncommon here, and they were from Seattle of all places.  We started talking to them and they were really cool.  We decided to put them in the back of our truck and go down the road to some old ruins.  Unfortunately the tide was in and we couldn't walk to where they were.  When we got back to La Kay, they wouldn't let us in early, so we went over to the Christof, which is a bit more expensive but still good.  I was really looking forward to getting ice cream, but our food took forever to come so we couldn't order any as it was already dark out and we needed to get home.

The 3 of us have jobs to do at 7, and we got home at 7:05.  Amy ran to the pharmacy to start drawing up meds and we ran to the depot to give out supplies as soon as we got back.  We were busy working for the next 4 hours.  After all of our normal stuff, we attempted to put an IV in one of our children, but weren't able to get it in.  Instead we put an NG tube in her.  I have watched this happen a lot, but haven't done it yet.  Amy gave me a more hands on roll this time because she wants me to be able to do them on my own.  I even got to use her stethoscope and everything!!  Next one is all mine!!  I'm really excited to do one on my own.  Tonight Amy is teaching me how to give shots!  I'm a little more nervous for this as I don't really like needles myself.  I have helped hold kids several times for vaccines and IV's and being around the needles always makes my stomach a little weak.  It'll be interesting to see how I do on my own, I'll have to update you on that!!

Anyways, going out is always an adventure here.  We never know what to expect as everyday is a new day in Haiti and we always see new things!  It was AMAZING to have the day off and we were all so much more rested after that!  Hopefully it will help keep us going for a while!!

Saturday, September 18, 2010

A gift of velcro

Its 4:30 am, been awake since the baby in my room cried at 2 and can't sleep, so thought I would update you all on some of our past roommates that I have mentioned!

E. is doing great developmentally.  He has his first two teeth in and is adorable.  I thought he was cute before with his little gummy smile, but he's even cuter now with his pearly whites.  He babbles all the time, and when he does it he tucks his lower lip in and is adorable.  He has the cutest little voice that I am in love with!  He rolled over the other day for his second first time, although I'm not positive that it counts.  Nick and Amy said it does but they might just be being nice!  He rolled over in his crib about a week after he came and I was there to watch.  Pulled the camera out afterwards hoping he would do it again, but no such luck.  That was his first time.  His second first time was a few days ago.  He was laying across my lap and all of the sudden rolled completely over.  I'm not sure if my legs were slightly angled which my have helped, but it was still cute.  When he lays down, he can roll 98% of the way over, but never goes the last little bit.  Instead he rolls back onto his back.  I swear he does it just to drive me nuts because he knows how much I want to see it!  He is doing good about playing with toys which I love to see.  He is such a happy little boy and makes me happy when I play with him!  His eyes light up and he get a little smile every time I kiss him!  Sometimes when I kiss his neck, he will even screech with his happy little voice!

W. is doing good as well.  He moved out to the baby house 2 days ago.  Nick taught him how to pound it, and guess what, he smiles every time!  That was Nick goal and he succeeded!  He still LOVES Nick a lot! When ever we go out to the baby house he wants to hang out with us, so we often will let him come in and sit in the depot like good ole times!  He is super cute and such a patient little boy!  Nick misses him a lot.  It's weird, even though we still get to see these kids daily once they move out to the baby house, it's still different than having them stay with you in your room.  Nick came back from town today and said "Have you ever noticed that every cute Haitian child looks a lot like W.?"  Apparently he was missing his boy and was thinking about him a lot!

So this morning (or I guess technically yesterday morning now) I was sitting in the baby house working on some depot stuff and W. was sitting next to me on the bench.  He was holding a velcro piece off of our cloth diapers.  I left him sitting there and went into the depot to finish what I was working on.  He was instantly surrounded by the 6 oldest kids in the baby house who wanted to play with him.  He took his velcro piece and threw it as far as he could (only a few inches, some times a foot or two) and the other kids would all chase after it, grab it, and give it back to him.  He would then throw it as far as he could and the others would chase after it and return it.  All children, including W. were laughing.  He laughed, I couldn't believe it.  All his teeth were showing, full on belly laugh!  It was SO good to see!  I had to stop what I was doing and watch him for several minutes because I was so taken back by the moment!  Technically I should have taken that velcro back from him when I finished depot so that I could use it for the diapers, but I couldn't bring myself to take it away from him.  We have enough extra velcro pieces in the depot that loosing that one doesn't really matter!  It's great to see kids finally adjusting and improving here!  They all bring so much joy to Nick and I's life.  We are completely in love with each of our 36 children!

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

The Happiest Man in LaGossette

Thank you, thank you, thank you to all of you who donated money to help Rikens buy his first Moto!  We were once again over whelmed with the generosity of our friends and family.  You all came together and gave a little to help out someone who you didn't even know (well one of you knew him).  No matter the size of your donation, you made a big difference in not only Rikens life, but the life of his family, and the life of his driver.  The man who drives Rikens moto didn't have a job prior to this, but now he has some income to help support himself and his family.  Rikens was so excited to have his own moto that he really didn't want to turn it into a taxi, but knew he had to.  He kept it for 3 days before giving it to his driver, and rode it to work everyday.  I mean why walk the 100 yards to work if you can ride a moto?  There have been a few times since he got it that we have asked him to call his driver to take our nannies somewhere and some other moto driver would show up.  Finally we asked him why he does n't have his guy come on these days and he told us it's because his driver is too busy to come!  We were glad to hear that because it means that Rikens is coming closer to building his house every day!  Rikens has asked us several times to thank all of you for him!  So from Rikens, Thank you!!
Yes they did plan on matching that day, just kidding!

Sunday, September 12, 2010

24 hour shadow

Nick and I have another new roommate and he is in love with Nick.  He has been since the moment we took him in.  He won't have anything to do with the rest of us, but is constantly by Nicks side.  He is either in Nicks lap, holding on to his hand, or hanging on to his shorts.  If Nick is doing the dishes, he is  standing right there next to him holding Nicks shorts.  If Nick walks away, he grabs Nicks hand and walks with him.  Nick is in Milot right now and our little man was pretty upset when he left.

Nick pretends that he doesn't like this, but he totally does!  Nick introduced him to Samson and Rikens as Ti Nick, Little Nick/Nick Junior.  He has completely taken over caring for this child.  He is the only one who changes his diaper, gives him showers (he's to big for our sink so he has to be bathed like a big boy), and getting up with him in the middle of the night.  It's a weird feeling to have a child in our room who cries at night and be able to roll over and fall back to sleep.  Normally that is what Nick does, but with this child, Nick is the one telling him it's ok and rubbing his back trying to get him to fall back to sleep.  Nick is the one who reads him his bedtime story and feeds him his meals.  They took a nap together yesterday, but I think it was more for Nick than it was the child!

He is super cute.  When it's time for us to do night depot, he comes with us and sits on one of the boxes and waits until we are finished.  He is a very patient little boy and just likes to hang out!  He hasn't smiled here yet, but Nick is determined to get him too!  He likes to watch Cars.  We turned it on for some of the other kids and he seemed to enjoy it too!  He is older than a lot of kids that we take in, so this transition is hard on him.  Pray that he does well here and can return home soon!  His Mom loves him a lot, and when she gave him over to Nick, she asked Nick to push him on the swings so that he would like it here better!

We have some pictures of him up on the picture blog!

Saturday, September 11, 2010

A day in the life of Nick and Nikki

By this point in time I was hoping to be able to do a post about what we do on a daily basis.  I thought I could make a schedule of what we do every day, but I have learned that that is nearly impossible.  Each day is a new day and we wake up not knowing what to expect.  Some days we will set goals for what we want to get done that day but wont end up even starting on it because other more important things come up.

I do want to give you a little glimpse into our life though, so here is a rough schedule of what I do.  Nicks schedule is extremely sporadic, so there is no way to document his, but mine has a little more order to it, so here it goes...

6- Nick lets the security guard out.  (Occasionally wakes up at 5-5:30 to do airport runs)
7-Nick gives food to cook for kid's breakfast.  I wake up (if I haven't been woke up already by the baby) and feed, change, and bath the child in my room and get myself ready for the day.
8 to 9- Roll call and morning depot.
9 to 9:30- feed the child in my room again (depending on their schedule this may or may not happen, or I may help with another house baby)
9:45 to 10- Breakfast
10 to 11:15- MWF preschool.  Tuesday Formula program.
11:30 to 12:30- Creole lessons
12:30 to 1:30- what ever needs to be done, feeding children, working on formula program stuff, payroll stuff, emailing past volunteers with updates or current needs, emailing COTP staff stateside, checking in mail, or working on children's monthly updates for sponsors/adoptive parents.  Theres a 1001 other things that I could do during this time.
1:30- 1:45ish- eat lunch.  Every other day pay our cook for food during this time as well.
2:00- let laundry ladies put clothes and bins back in depot
2:30- open depot for boxes of volunteer/nanny food to be returned
3- get food from depot for kids dinner
3-7: what ever needs to be done (see list above)
7-8: Evening depot.  Every third day mop entire baby house with bleach to prevent germs from spreading!
8 to 9- Shower, eat dinner if we have energy. Except Wednesdays when we have bible study, then this is pushed back an hour
9-9:30: feed, bathe, and change the child in our room one last time before bed.  Read story and put in their crib or bassinet.
9:30 pm to 7 am- wake up anywhere from 0-5 times to feed the child in our room depending on their needs.

This schedule doesn't even do it justice.  Basically Nick and I work 15 hours a day and while we are awake we go none stop.  We rarely have time to sit down, but it's so worth it!

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

I must be in heaven...

Today I was in the office working on some formula program stuff when Nick said I needed to quit was I was doing and go into the shop IMMEDIATELY.  He had a weird look on his face and a camera in his hand, so I thought there was going to be a tarantula there or someone was going to pull some sort of prank on me.  I slowly walked across the court yard and over to the shop, but before I entered I asked Reekins if there was another tarantula in there, which he responded to with a yes.  I didn't fully believe him, but I still walked in carefully and was quite shocked at what I saw!

Roxy, our dog, was curled up in the corner with a bunch of puppies around her!!!  She had her puppies this morning!!  I've never had an animal give birth before, my Mom always had all of our pets fixed!  I became overly excited and couldn't help but pick them all up and immediately ask Nick if we could keep all 5 of them!  Reekins, Papito, and Samson were all watching me with the puppies and thought it was weird how excited I got.  Reekins made a few comments about it later to Nick, however I think he likes them too!  He brought Roxy's food and water dish into her so she didn't have to leave them, and the boys brought a few blankets in so that they have a bed.  I could see Reekins being a big dog lover!

After a few minutes of enjoying the 5 puppies, Roxy tried to move a box with her nose, and all of a sudden we heard a little puppy squeal.  There was another one behind the box.  So we have 6 puppies plus our 3 normal dogs!  It was kind of like 101 Dalmatians where you get really excited about your puppies and then find out you have more!!  There are 3 boys and 3 girls and I can't wait for them to be old enough to run around the yard!  I think it'll be good for the kids to be able to play with the puppies from the time they are small and hopefully minimize their fear of dogs.  This will help those being adopted from being scared of the family pet when they go home!

Roxy was so excited to have her puppies, she was wagging her tail and had that doggy smile on her face the entire time!  We are probably going to keep one, I don't know what we will do with the rest!  I named one charger today because he was moving all over the place, but 5 of the 6 look identical so I don't know which one it was that I named!  Oh well!!

(doesn't she look like a proud mother!!)

How could life get any better than being surrounded by babies AND puppies!!  All I need now are kittens and I'd be in heaven!!

This afternoon 4 nannies and I took the Zandolits and Elefants for a walk.  It was a long process to get everyone ready.  Most of the kids shoes seemed to have disappeared, so I had to fit about 7 kids with new shoes from the depot.  After everyone was dressed and had eaten snack we were on our way.  We had 5 non walkers in the strollers and 6 walkers who actually walked!  I pulled a wagon with one hand and had a line of boys in my other hand.  All the kids held hands and walked in a line!  It was really cute!

The walk was really successful until we came upon a pack/flock/group of turkeys.  The kids were all quite scared and began to cry.  Apparently our kids are kind of sheltered and need to be exposed to more things such as dancing veggies, turkeys, and dancing penguins (happy feet).  They all mustered up the courage to walk by and luckily the turkeys were gone by time we came back.  We also saw some cows and horses and were able to work on our animal sounds which we have been practicing in preschool!

One nanny pulled a bunch of weeds from the ditch saying that they would help with her cough!  We had to stand outside of our gate for quite a while because the nannies wanted to watch the kids from the community play soccer!  It was fun to hang out with the nannies and try to communicate with them.  There are certain nannies that I have an easier time communicating with than others!  I'm going to try to make it more of a priority to go on walks a few times a week.  It's nice to be out in the community and to spend time with our nannies.  Plus the kids like to get out and its good for them!

Any suggestions on what we should name our puppies??

Pictures, Pictures, Pictures!!

Hey all,

August pics are up on the picture blog!!!  Enjoy!!

Monday, September 6, 2010

James Bond and Ice Cream

Yesterday we had a really slow day which was a nice change of pace.  Technically Sundays are our days off, but this rarely happens.  There is always something that needs to be done.  Yesterday though, we really didn’t have much work to do at all.
Nick left early and went for a moto ride with one of his friends and got to see a new part of Haiti that we had not yet been too.  I’m a bit jealous, but I’ll make him take me some day!  While he was gone I got caught up on laundry which isn’t fun, but always makes me feel good to have done.
After Nick got home we put two of the kids in slings and took them for a walk which is always fun.  Shortly after that Nick and I took the moto in town hoping to find ice cream.  Nick had seen a picture of an ice cream cone painted on the side of some random building and was convinced that they must sell it.  Half way there I asked him if he knew whether or not this was a clean place to get food and he mentioned that he wasn’t even sure if they actually sold ice cream or not.  This is after we had been talking about going there for about 2 weeks.
We drove around for a while before we found the random building that he had passed before.  We went inside and guess what, no ice cream.  The guy told us that we could get some from the gas station though which was across the street, so we weren’t totally out of luck!
We each got a cup of chocolate and were surprised by the amount that they shoved into it.  There was a lot there.  It had a slight taste of orange to it and was a bit freezer burnt, but hey, I’m definitely not complaining!  
After we bought it we were looking around for a place to sit and the cashier told us to go to the seating area.  This was in the back of the gas station and had one way tint on all the windows so that you couldn’t see in.  There was a bouncer/security guard at the door holding a shot gun.  We stepped inside this quazi secret area and were blown away by what we saw and the rush of cold air.  There was a beautiful 40 some inch flat screen tv with satellite hooked up to it.  There were 4 Haitian men sitting in there watching an old cheesy James Bond movie and laughing a lot.  I’m sure they couldn’t understand it as it was all in English, but I guess you don’t really need to hear the words to figure out whats going on in James Bond.  We sat with them enjoying our ice cream and the air conditioning.  This was the first time in months that I was actually some what cold.  I have never even been cool since being here.  We are pretty much always hot and sweaty!  Nothing ever lasts for ever though.  We had to go back out into the heat and make the 30 min (4 mile) drive down the bumpy dusty “road” to home.
It was a great break to get away for an hour and not only enjoy some ice cream but also spend some time together.  This was the first time since we celebrated our anniversary almost a month ago that we were able to get away.  It was also the first time I have been outside the gates (minus the late night trip to the hospital) in several weeks.  It’s amazing how just a short little break will completely regenerate you and help you feel fresh again!  Last night was the first time that I felt energized for a while!
On another note, payroll went much better this month!  Our creole was a lot better so there weren’t hardly any translation issues.  We also started to implement in a new program that Nicks dad made which makes the process a little easier.  There are two parts to pay roll, one which requires me to be there and one which requires Nick.  This is great because it’s the one task that we get to do together.  Even though we only talk about work stuff, it’s still great to spend the time together.  I spent more time with Nick this past weekend than I have in a long time and it was great!!

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Shrek, better than Veggietales

About two weeks ago it was rainy and nasty so all the kids were just hanging out in the baby house.  I went over and asked Madam Jeremie if she wanted me to start the movie early and if she wanted to watch Shrek 2.  She said yes and then yelled it out so that all the nannies knew that shrek was going to be coming on.  All the older kids ran and sat down on the mat, excited to watch a movie earlier than normal.

I came back a while later to do depot, and every single child and nanny were all inside the Zandolit room watching Shrek.  Every single one.  Even the Jiraf and Bato rooms were in there.  There were probably about 25+ children in there and 10 full grown Haitian women, all extremely excited to be watching the movie!  Normal only the Elefants and Zandolits watch movies before bed.  It's witnessing little things like this that make me love being here!!

Then, three nights ago I went to start the movie and decided to put in Veggietales since the kids haven't watched that since I have been here.  I thought they would love it, but boy was I very wrong.  When the opening screen came on, three of the elefants began crying and started to run out the door.  Their nannies called them back and they huddled at their feet, all having terrified looks on their faces.  I then pushed play, but apparently the sight of a dancing cucumber was too much for them to handle, because those three along with 2 others began screaming again.  They were really scared, with real tears and everything.  The nannies instructed me to turn it off, so I did.  Note to self, movies with giant green monsters, Ok to show.  Movies with dancing and signing vegitables, a bad idea!  Boy are things different here in Haiti!!  I love these kids!!