Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Master Bedroom

The new roof is ON! We had to pay for it out of our pockets, but it is up there and it looks great! We are still hoping insurance will come through with reimbursement, but we had to get the holes covered up to prevent further damage. And not a moment too soon! The last guy was finishing up the details around the edges yesterday and we got what my Daddy used to call a "gully-washer"! He came back today and ran a magnetic sweep around the yard for stray nails in the rain! We are so very thankful we are not trying to keep out the water with blue tarps like so many of our neighbors. And now we can start rebuilding the interior!

Before Ike was even a blip on the radar, we had ordered new bedroom furniture. This was a promise I made to myself when I started nursing school: "Self," I said, "when you finish this long haul, you are gonna treat yourself to some new furniture in your bedroom!" What we had was a lighted, mirrored wall-unit that was nearing 20 years old!

We had to wait almost two months for our furniture to come, but it finally got here this week and here it is! I had been watching for sale and clearance decorative elements to go with our new look for the two months so I got to redo the walls and everything... (You should be able to click on the pictures to get a closer look.)

This is the head of the bed. The long sign says "Dream" and the oval says is a scripture I love. The wrought iron scrolls are a bargain from Hobby Lobby. All of this was 50% off - gotta love it!

This is the entrance (door on the left) and door to the master bath). The gentleman's chest sports a lamp with a flicker bulb that I have had for several years but it had not really found a great home yet -it is setting up housekeeping now! The fan is a venetian bronze replica of a vintage fan that is my best friend when I am sleeping in the daytime after working a 12 hour shift all night!
The dresser with jewelry case on top. The TV will be going, but for now that is my one item that I am not so fond of...
I have struggled with these windows for the entire six years we have lived in this house. The eyebrow arch windows are a bear to cover! We installed the 2" wooden blinds when we moved in but I have never known what to do other than that - and I am almost never at a loss on window treatments! These are iron elements I found on sale at Hobby Lobby - got them for $10 each - I think they are meant to just hang on the wall, but I am using them to distract the eye from those empty arches. The fabric is a Wal-Mart $1 per yard find yesterday. I have allowed a little to puddle on the floor on the bottom of each. The swags still need some tweaking, but I think I am going to like it when I get them just so. I stuck a grape spray in the middle one- thinking about adding them on all three... what is your vote?
A closer view of the gentleman's chest. The ends open up to tie/jewelry hooks and trays. This furniture is really well-built and has lots of bells and whistles. So far I just love it!

I think I am going to head to the kitchen next. I am thinking a cayenne color, tuscan feel, using a paint and joint compound to texture the walls. I'm feeling some accents of chocolate, gold, and aqua. Sounds gross huh? In my mind it is fabulous! Stay tuned for more of the Hays House Makeover!

Saturday, October 4, 2008

Photo jewelry

Life is slowly getting back to normal after the hurricaine drama. We finally got an insurance adjuster out here on Thursday to look over all the damage. We will hopefully start to rebuild within the next few weeks. Roofing, painting, sheetrock, carpet, flooring - it just makes me tired thinking about it all! So what's a girl to do when she wants to avoid thinking about the chaos around her? Play! So.... I have been playing around with poly resin and photos to make photo jewelry. Here are a few samples... Oh yeah... a disclaimer: I can't get my camera to shoot these things very clearly. I will borrow a friend's camera next week and try to shoot some in natural light so you can see them better, but for now just try to pretend they are WAY more cool in person. Okay, now on to the show!

These adorable little people are my twin sister Dori's children; Elizabeth, Garrett, and Elena. I am so proud of these! I have long wanted to learn how to colorize photos with just one area in color and the rest in black and white! I finally figured it out! Yes, it is a bit time-consuming, but these look really pretty in person! Aren't those beautiful children?

These show some different shapes and ideas. The middle one is Melissa on the Galveston beach - when it was still there! The one of the castle is a painting of Cinderella's Castle at Disney World. This is Melissa's favorite place on the planet so I wanted to make a pendant of it for her.

The first one is a shot of Randy and I on the same Galveston Beach. In the middle is another attempt at the colorization process, this time on a picture of Melissa. The on the end is of baby hands and a chin and mouth. It looks way cool in person, but may be a bit hard to decipher here...just more experimentation of styles.

This is of all of us on the beach. I have already drilled the holes on either side of this piece - I am going to make it into a bracelet.

I LOVE this piece! Another colorization one. I just love how it turned out...

Another family shot on the beach. Heart-shaped sterling chain attached to either side.

Playing around with a silhouette piece...

This is anothe one of the beach shots. You will notice the kind of mottled look to the background of this one. This was the first batch I did and the resin absorbed into the photo paper somewhat. I found a waterproof paper and it worked fabulously on the next crop.

As you can see, I am having a blast playing with my new "sport". Let me know what YOU think!

Sunday, September 14, 2008

More from Ike

I was locked in the hospital from Friday at 2PM until Sunday morning around 7. I tried hard to get home, but every route I tried was flooded. I finally turned around and went back to the hospital and a fabulous friend there drove me home in her big ole' truck! These are a few photos of what I found.

We are trying to just assess the damage and keep more from happening at this point. My brother-in-law is on his way from the Dallas area with relief supplies for us: food, bigger tarps, etc. He is planning to stay a day or two to help Randy with immediate needs.

My uncle and cousin are also making plans to come to help with other areas: they are bring stuff to move big piles of debris so we will be working on keeping them busy with disaster relief but are excited to get to see them. I think they will plan to help get us under protection from the rain as well. Randy has found a roofer that will come tomorrow to give us assessment of the damage and let us know how long it will be before he can get to us. It seems like the wait would be very long, but actually there are so very many in so much worse shape - they are all a LONG way from needing a roofer, so we should be able to get fixed up with a few weeks we think.

I have been called back to the hospital to work tonight as so many of the nurses are unable to get through the flood waters to work. They are predicting more rain tonight and tomorrow so we will just pray for the best...

Some of our roof - now we can see why the water is pouring in!
Lots of shingles are missing...
Our dear friends, John and Stephanie Rezac nabbed a roll of plastic for us. We used all of it and a tarp or two we had in the garage to cover the biggest holes. It won't last long, as the entire roof is damaged and leaky, but at least we won't drown in our beds! All the homes in our neighborhood have roof damage - notice bare wood in the second house down.
Ceiling starting to bulge in Brendan's room.

Ike comes to call!

Our backyard
More of the back - notice the water in the retention pond.
The shingles that WERE on the roof - now they litter the yard.
The paint in Melissa's bedroom is bubbled up with water behind it. This bubble is about the size of a saucer.The carpet in Melissa's bedroom is soaked.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

A Day in a Field Hospital

Some candid shots of various departments in our hospital. Here Pastor Scott gets a crash course in being a medic! He was an OR orderly years ago and he pulled on that past life and made a great triage tech! Here Pastor Jude is acting as his interpreter and he fills our our makeshift triage form. By the end of the day he was prescribing basic medications with the rest of us! Nearly everyone who came through got Mabendazole as a worm treatment so that was a very common prescription.
I was doing the initial triage out on the portico. This got to be totally NUTS! As the day progressed the crowds got worse. Here you see the line waiting to talk to me. It was like winning the lottery: You win, you get to see the American Doctor, you lose (runny noses, backache, etc) you have to let the nurse check your vital signs and write you a prescription for vitamens and Paracetamol (Tylenol).
Soon the lines weren't content to sit on the sidelines - the gathered closer and closer in. They were always interested in the diagnosis of the other persons. We were continuously asking them to sit down! I got very claustrophobic at times because there were about 200 people gathered around my little table.
The waiting room is full and all the chairs are taken - here's a rock that looks mighty comfy... These people walked from many miles away.
Chelsea Dolan is crowd control indoors in the line to the pharmacy.
Filling prescriptions. The girl in the middle between Chelsea and Susan is the daughter of one of the local doctors and she was an invaluable help! Only 10 years old, but with great English speaking skills, she interpreted tirelessly for two days and helped our pharmacist people fill medications. We all fell in love with her and want to bring her home with us, but she is much loved by her parents and we have to leave her here! She called us all "auntie" as a sign of respect. (except Chelsea - she was "sister" - I guess she was too young to be "auntie"!)
And the crowd grows!
The OR at the beginning of the day. Note the open doors on the other side of the table and all the supplies that we brought from America are in bins on the floor - all of you who know sterile technique can cringe - we did!

At the end of the week we have seen approx 987 patients in four days - 547 of those on Friday alone! Hard to believe, huh? But with God's help we REALLY did see that many patients. We lost count of the surgeries we performed, but hopefully we are leaving this area with many people some better for our having been here.

A Surgical Commentary

Sri Lanka
WARNING: The graphic nature of some of the photographs may not be comfortable for some viewers - enter at your own risk! (it is interesting though if you can stomach it!)

Another wonderful day at the makeshift hospital. We are absolutely amazed at all the people! This gentleman came in with a mass on his face. He was very uncomfortable and complained of the mass obstructing his vision. He told us he had had it since he was eight years old and had had it drained once but "no answer" - which is Tamil-speak for "the treatment I got didn't work"!

Dr. Harper bravely set out to remove whatever the thing was! Once she got the thing open it quickly became apparent it was a sebaceous syst. The thing drained about 10 ml (2 tsp.) of oil! Once the cyst was collapsed, she set out to remove to cyst wall to prevent it from refilling - don't want him going to someone else and saying "no answer" for OUR treatment! Here you can see how deep this thing goes!
This shows one of the ways we "creatively" used the equipment we had at hand. Dr. Harper got the bright idea to use an angiocath (the thin, flexible tubing that stays in the arm with and IV) on the end of a syringe as a suction device. This worked in many ways over the days. We also used the same set-up for flushing ears and etc.
I love this photo! You can see how challenging our set-up was at times. Yes, that is the yard over our shoulders. The lighting in the room we had as an OR was not always adequate so they just opened up the glass wall and let the breeze blow in! We were blessed with excellent weather and cool breezes so that was nice - the sterility? Not so much! But we prayed hard and covered everybody with antibiotics and will continue praying for no infection to set in. All-in-all I think with God's help we made a big difference in a few lives.A view of the man's face after surgery is complete. This looks a bit worse than it actually was because we smeared antibiotic ointment liberally once the stitches were in! But he can see un-obstructed now, Praise the Lord!
We had no electro-cautery equipment (we didn' always have electricity!) so when bleeding became an issue, we used the old fashioned "let-the-nurse-hold-pressure-for-five-minutes" method! It worked though - the bleeding stopped and he was ready to go! Gotta tell ya', I was praying hard though and even asked Chuck Watson who was our medical photographer to come over and help me pray! I wasn't as confident as Dr. Andrea that this method would work!
Here is a view of our OR from the yard looking in. David George (aka. King David) is our interpreter for the OR and he is standing on Dr. Andrea's left. My hair style for the day? Unavailable to critters - I didn't care what it looked like - just as long as I didn't have any passengers to bring home!Okay, so his vision is still a bit obstructed, but that will come off in a day or so and he will be able to see better than he has since he was eight! How great is our God!

Friday, August 15, 2008

Clinic at the Center

WARNING: There are mildly graphic photos in this post. Read at your own risk...


We are holding clinic at the NCM Center today (the same place we are sleeping and eating). It is a wonderful facility and we are thrilled to be here. We have paused for lunch and I wanted to share a miracle!

This morning has been a zoo! We got our clinic all set up and set up: a triage, a dispensary, and a treatment/surgery room. The people started coming...and coming...and coming! You can't imagine how many people are crowded onto the porch of the Center! We decided we needed to set up a screen to show the Jesus Film on while people were waiting. The screen was too sheer for it to show up in the daytime though. We decided the black blankets on the beds were a perfect fix. I grabbed some of the handy-dandy suture kits from the surgery room and started stitching! The pastors at the center thought this was just great! Here you see Pastor Jude holding the screen up for me to sew - they laughed the whole time! It worked though!
And the people kept coming... Dr. Andrea decided we should send me outside to run a cursory triage and separate the really ill from the curious. You can see ALL the people crowded onto the porch...

Then we got an interesting case. A gentleman walked up to me and complained of localized chest pain. He said he had received an injury a year ago from a "soccer boot" that he got kicked with while playing soccer. He was very uncomfortable and there was a slight swollen place on his chest. I called Dr. Andrea and the three of us headed into the surgery.

Dr. Andrea deadened the area with Lidocaine and then opened the skin over the mass. She dug around a bit and was a bit perplexed - there was inflammatory tissue, but she couldn't seem to see anything else. Then she found it - she thought she had a bone spur that had developed on his bone as a result of the trauma. She was doing one last bit of poking around explaining to the man through Sugun (our interpreter) that he would need to go to a hospital to have his injury repaired. She pushed on the mass and he winced - in terrible pain. Then she moved just a bit and we saw something interesting start to peek out of the wound - it was a hard mass! It just came popping out - apparently on it's own, but we all know God touched the thing! She laid it on the gauze I was holding and then pressed on the spot where all the pain had been... his pain was TOTALLY gone! We all got tears and goosebumps! Here you can see the tumor that was removed.

And here is a photo of the patient with his surgical team...

Well, our lunch break is over and the droves are outside waiting on medical care so I must go and help. Our patient count is now at 208 for the morning and we are still going...

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

The Vomit Comet

Bright and early this morning we stumbled from our warm beds and headed down to a hearty bowl of oatmeal. I don't typically like oatmeal, but I gagged it down because I knew we might not get lunch for a long time. I was right. Don't we look nice and chipper?

We headed out the front door of the Center and got in a mini van. This thing was normally a 7 passenger van - we stuffed 12 people in that thing! We were told we would be going approximately 30 miles to a Dispensary to hold clinic. The roads were so twisty we were breathin our own exhaust - and I am NOT kidding!! Amy nicknamed the van "The Vomit Comet" - and she was right. Two of the local pastors came along to the clinic to act as interpreters. The driver was a local fellow - not from the church - and he was a great driver, but it was still a very harrowing road. Yesterday on the road from Colombo, there were two drivers along - one to actually drive and a second riding shotgun to get out and negotiate with other drivers when we met one on the road. There are many times the road is a very narrow one land and they think nothing of two or even three cars squeezing through! We have learned to NOT look out the front window - it is just better for our nerves and coronary system.
We arrived at our destination and were ushered into a very aged building. The floors were cracked concrete with dirt showing through in many places. There appears to be electricity in one room but not in the others. No running water is available. We went into one room and met the physician who typically runs the office. He watched Andrea Harper triage one patient and she was doing surgery on an abcessed leg within about 5 minutes - at that point he decided we could handle things and he left!
This is what the waiting room looks like within half an hour. People came from everywhere! Maladies real and imagined were presented. We did one other surgery and saw around 75 people total.
This is a crude triage area we set up in the outer room. I found one very suspicious-looking ear using my handy-dandy otoscope. Sure enough, there was a critter in there that Dr. Andrea had to extract!

We are tired and headed home but feel very good that we have helped a few people. Thanks so much for all your prayers!