Thursday, November 06, 2008

Heureuse Survives

A very well-meaning missionary with tired eyes brought her to me.

When I first met Heureuse in Haiti in the early 2000’s she was the same petite and polite woman that she is today.

With my stethoscope placed over Heureuse’s heart, I could hear a loud gushing noise coming from her diseased aortic valve. A hole in her heart was nestled just below the bad valve.

Heureuse needed heart surgery to stay alive.

Heureuse’s sister Eva had kept her alive while Heureuse’s body was all bloated with fluid. Eva had even made tapes for her. When Eva was in the capital, and Heureuse was lying on her mat in her home in the coastal village of Bainet, Eva’s recorded voice would tell Heureuse to stay alive.

Heureuse did stay alive, got out of Haiti, and survived major heart surgery performed by a large medical center in the United States.

But this year Heureuse has become real sick again and now the large medical center does not want Heureuse back for repeat surgery. It seems they are comfortable letting Heureuse the survivor silently slip away in Haiti.

Incredibly, last week, Heureuse was accepted by another excellent medical center in the United States for surgery.

So what exactly has Heureuse survived?

She survived dark lonely breathless nights in a slum of Port-au-Prince. Her family was far away.

She survived the powerful macrostructures far from Haiti which control her world and influence her misery.

She survived the rich and powerful of her own government and business community that don’t view her as human, let alone a human with dignity.

She survived the kidnapping business in Haiti and the haphazard bullets of the Blue Helmets.

She survived four tropical storms--- Ike, Gustav, Hannah, and Fay. She survived the subsequent brown mud and sewage that ripped down the mountain into her slum and shanty.

She survived the loss of her children’s father as he vomited blood and moaned as he died.

She survived giving away her children this year as she prepared to die.

She survived the disappearance of Eva in the Dominican Republic.

She survived heart failure as the operative repair she had done at the big medical center fell apart.

She survived the painful memory of the United States and all of its rich food and clean water. She survived the memory of the blan that cared for her then…

She survived the silence and abandonment of people at the large medical center that should have said something, should have done something, as she was being led to the gallows.

She survived the silence of the Bishops and Monsignors and Sisters and medical center chaplains who should control and influence the true philosophy of the medical center.

Heureuse has survived total despair.

She needs to survive a few more days.


Jesse Sullivan said...

Wow, this is great Johnny. Thanks for all that you do by bringing truth to the world. In the book I am reading about Ghandi they use the word- "satyagraha" a lot. It means "truth force" or "love force." You sir are a satyagrahi, and I am proud to know you.

I will pray for Heureuse and re-dedicate myself to doing something about her situation and for the other crucified people in the developing world.

JP Wilgues said...

As a Haitian immigrant i can relate to Heureuse situation. as a matter of fact i went through the same situation where i was even prounounced dead and sent to morgue. In 1999 i came to the US for a laser ablation in my larynx to open my airway. Few months later i went back home to go back to school then a year later all hell broke loose. i couldn't get a new visa to go back to the US and the political turmoil was worsening; so i ended up in coma and few days later pronounced dead. i survived! thanks to a Cuban doctor who performed a tracheotomy and Later reunited Dr John who helped me get back in the US in 2002 for more treatments and since then i've had 22 surgeries, i'm in school and just happy that i'm still alive. Thanks to the Haitian hearts organization in Peroria.

Karen Kenny said...

John, you persevere in your faith and determination to see that those who have nothing but hope find you and fulfill their dream of health and the opportunity to experience the prosperity we have known our whole life. To those who think you are wrong for doing what you believe in and what God put you on this earth to do you I continue to pray for you. Those of us who know you, know you have always believed that all people must be treated with respect and dignity. You will always have our love and support. Thanks for the precious gifts you have entrusted to us. Love Mick and Karen

Michael Deibert said...

I hope that she survives, John. There are too many stories like this in Haiti, and elsewhere in the world. Thank you for all your work on behalf of our brothers and sisters in Haiti.

Anonymous said...

I stumbled across this blog and I was transfixed by the photos that gave faces to these wronged people. This is a beautiful, heart-wrenchingly sad but hopeful blog. I live two hours away from Peoria and am happy to know there is someone near by who is fighting for the lives of Haitians.