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Asking for Stuff

I get a lot of email asking me for stuff.  Ad requests, what my thoughts are on this or that, could I post this link?  Would I like a guest post?  Hey, we’ve linked to you, can you link back to us?  And really a whole lot of “we are positive that your readers will find this link very interesting!  You should post it!”  Sometimes someone does actually send something interesting, and I’ll read it and think, “Oh, this sounds neat” but then I’ll get distracted and forget and then I go back to reading through all the email a week later and it’s too late.  Anyway, my point is that I’m terrible at answering email, even when I find it interesting.

But today I got a different sort of email, and the sender asked me to share his personal fundraiser on my blog.  “Seriously?” I thought.  But something caught my interest (and both kids were napping, so that helped) and I clicked his link.  It’s an interesting back story and that last perk there at the bottom just made me laugh, so I made a deal with the guy – I’d post his link if he gave me some stories to go along with it.  And he did.

So the email said this:  “My name is Paul Sebring and I am currently enrolled at the Ida V. Moffett School of Nursing at Samford University because after having helped in Haiti after the earthquake and leading a cleft lip/palate mission in Ecuador, I realized that becoming a nurse was the most important thing I could do in this life.”

And then he provided a link wherein he asks for money.  So here are some stories he wrote about his experiences in Haiti.  If you like them, throw a few bucks his way.   He gave me a few choices – I found these interesting:

Burr Hole Boy:  06/11/2010

On Monday night we went to the Plaza Hotel  to check emails and such when Gabe from IMC pulled me to the side and asked if there was anything we could do to help a 16 year old boy that needed a Neurosurgeon.  It turns out that 3 days earlier this kid was in a motorcycle accident in Gonaive and his family finally got him to the General (state run hospital).  He had a pretty bad head injury and he seemed to be somewhat stable but he still needed a Burr Hole procedure.  This is a simple procedure where they drill a few holes into your head to relieve pressure on the brain.  Anyway, so Gabe tells me what’s going on and what the kid needs when the attending doc at the General calls me to tell me about the kid too.

It’s apparent now that we need to get this kid to a Neuro team to save his life.  Medishare hospital wasn’t an option since they were right in the middle of being moved to their new facility and Adventist hospital didn’t have a Neuro team at their facility either.  I knew that the hospital in Milot (I was there a few weeks ago doing a supply run) had a Neurologist showing up soon so I called Jo and asked her if they could take the kid.  She was really excited to take him since their Neuro team was showing up the next day, but when she talked to the local hospital administrator he denied our request because he felt they were not well equipped to do brain surgery.  The problem is that this kid didn’t need brain surgery, just a decompression.  Jo tried her hardest but knew there was no way to change this guy’s mind so Jo took it upon herself to call a hospital in the Dominican Republic and she actually got the hospital there to accept the kid, a full Neuro team to receive him, and she lined up an ambulance to pick him up from the heliport.  Jo, you’re amazing.

This is where it got good.

I called up Sam from Grass Roots United because I needed his help with getting a helicopter and he had a connection.  Keep in mind that Grass Roots is about as big an NGO (Non Governmental Organization) as ourselves.  When he heard of what was going on he called up his contacts and got the helicopter.

Now all we have to worry about is how are we going to get this kid through customs and out of Haiti.

Back to Jo, she’s now working with the Dominican Republic to get his papers approved, I’m working with the General to get the kid’s papers ready and Sam is working with Haitian customs to put it all together.  At 10am the next morning we had all the paperwork in order, a green light from Haitian customs, a green light from the DR customs, a helicopter, a doctor to go with the kid, a medical team to receive the kid and an ambulance to take him to the hospital.   Time to put everything in to play.

Christina and Micaela go to the General and scoop up the kid and take him to the airport.  When they get there, guess what, the Haitian official “claims” that she never received the email with paperwork and it would cost $100 USD to get the kid out of the country.  Sam pays the $100 fee (bribe) and gets the kid on the helicopter, which just happens to be the size of a VW bug, and gets him to the DR.  When they arrive in the DR it was a bit of fiasco with the Immigrations department but the receiving hospital got them to accept the kid, they loaded him into their rig and got him to their facility to do the procedure.

Now, let’s put this in perspective.  What we did for this kid saved his life and it was all done by 2 small NGO’s with no funding.  You all know how I feel about this topic, and I’m not going to go on another tirade about how ineffective the big NGO’s can be.  All I have to say is thank you Jo and Sam for helping us get this kid to a medical team that saved his life.


All in a days work:  Haiti update from 8/2/10

Let’s start off by saying that the Haiti diet is the best way to lose weight. Between the flop sweating, mass consumption of water and overall repetitive diet I have lost almost 65 pounds since my first trip here. Jenny Craig ain’t got nothin on Haiti. The bad thing is that I am still out of shape. Granted I’ve had to have people bring me new clothes because all my original pants would fall off me and the 3-4x shirts looked like tents on me. I’m now at a 40 inch waist and a 2x shirt.

Now, back to the out of shape thing.

This morning a few of us had to go to the General (state run hospital) today to transfer a pre-term momma to Adventist hospital. She is TB positive and about 30 weeks along. Contractions were 10 minutes apart so we had to get her to a place that was much more well equipped to handle the mom and baby.

LP (co-founder of MMRC) was dropping Tuwanda, Jeanne and Ellen off at a clinic near the Embassy so we had to walk to the hospital. It’s only about 1.5 miles but the fun part is that you get to dodge traffic and pedestrians while walking at a very brisk pace. I was on the phone with the TB Clinic Doc about this patient and it was apparent that we had to get her out of there and to Adventist ASAP. About 6 blocks from the hospital I told the boys we had to pick it up so we started running. Now please try and picture this: 2 marines and a fat guy running the streets of Port Au Prince. The marines look like they are in great shape. They’re running in unison, have great form and are weaving through cars. They don’t even look tired and they’re barely breathing hard.

And then there’s the fat guy…. ME

I’ve got one hand on my backpack to keep it from flailing everywhere and the other on my belt to keep my pants from falling off. I’m trying to not get hit by cars that I can’t see because the sweat is flowing so profusely down my face it is blinding me. I’m beet red and am huffing and puffing so hard that the locals can’t stop staring at me. And the best part is, you can’t stop this much momentum without a few hundred yards notice.

So after about 3 blocks I holler at Sully (one of the marines) that he can run if he wants but poppa bear is going to have to keep it at a brisk pace. We finally arrive at the General and I am sweating so bad and I’m so hot I can’t even form complete sentences. Oh ya, I almost forgot, my pants are soaking wet and my grey shirt is dripping.

After being there for about 15 minutes we get the ok to use an ambulance, we load up the patient and Michelle (RN), Sully (Marine), Riaan (Corpman) and myself head over to the Adventist hospital with her. The best part is that I still can’t stop sweating but now I have to wear gloves and a mask the whole time we are en route and try to comfort a very scared mother. Brooke (RN) was expecting us when we arrived and she made sure everything went through smoothly.

As we drove back I had a chance to look down at myself and it is apparent that I’m a hot mess. I just wish I had video of this so I could just see what the locals got to witness.

I found out 2 days later that both the mom and her new baby daughter are just fine.  The family brought the mother back to the TB ward 24 hours after the delivery.


Good luck, Paul!


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Wow, great post and blog. It is so great to see the community of second career nurses on the internet. I have just recently graduated from an accelerated MSN program and am looking forward to starting my career in nursing. I think sites like this are so important to give both advice and support to aspiring nurses from all walks of life. During my time in school, I started a blog called The Second Degree Nurse in an effort to work towards this end: http://thesecondcareernurse.blogspot.com Please take a look at my site and tell me what you think and I will continue checking in to look for more updates from you!


[...] Some very touching stories at Gina’s site: Code Blog, Asking for Stuff.  We are so fortunate in this [...]

Thanks for sharing these stories and I know exactly how you feel when it comes to answering emails. I am also terrible at following up on them, even if it only takes a few minutes, but I do love to and can write fun and interesting content for hours. Go figure. Thanks again for the stories.

Touching Hati stories…
you were right to give this guy a little bump in promotion.. I am still checking out his *good cause* fund raiser blog..


Dear Gina and the codeblog community -

First, thank you to Gina for posting this and for referring people to Paul’s Indiegogo campaign.

I think that it is so important for nurses to support nurses in their endeavors, whether they’re about getting through nursing school or…another shift. I’ve been struggling with the “nursepreneur” hat recently and I can say that learning how promote myself,, when all I’ve been doing is working within the system (for 30 years!) can be hard. I’ve been great at showing up at the bedside, but showing up to promote nurses through my own efforts…not so.

Mark’s promotion of Paul’s school was brilliant, yay!! Nurses have received the unfortunate (although somewhat true?) reputation of “eating their young” for years, or at least since I started in 1982. New grads can feel one-upped by super-nurses who are only adopting their “super” status to try to stay one step ahead of burnout.

Nursing is a tough career and those who strive to provide over-and-above care, who strive to show their inherent brilliance, should be given every opportunity and the support of their community, to do so. So, thanks again Gina for helping us to show up for Paul.


Jerome Stone, RN, MA

Author – Minding the Bedside: Nursing from the Heart of the Awakened Mind

PS – I’m also trying to fund an Indiegogo campaign, to relaunch a book written for nurses, to help them show up at the bedside, heart and mind intact. Please check it out if you have any interest. Thank you.

Thank you to Gina for this incredible site. I believe every nurse has a great story to tell, and she has given us a storyboard to write it on.

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  • profileI am Gina. I have been a nurse for 15 years, first in med/surg, then CVICU, inpatient dialysis, CCU and now hospice. This blog is about my experiences as a nurse, and the experiences of others in the healthcare system - patients, nurses, doctors, paramedics. We all have stories!

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