Sunday, December 21, 2008

"Where there is great love, there are always miracles."

Heurese had successful heart surgery at Cleveland Clinic on Tuesday. She had her faulty aortic valve replaced with an artificial one and an existing patch, which covers a hole in her heart, was reinforced.

There are so many factors in Heurese getting this surgery that can only be described as miraculous. Here's one of them.

Heurese has been a Haitian Hearts patient since 2001, when she first came to the United States for surgery. Since then, my husband John has been bringing her medicines and checking on her a few times a year. However, because of a family situation, he hadn't been to Haiti at all this year until November.

Sometime this summer a young man named Frandy, who is a healthy Haitian Hearts patient and who helps us with certain tasks in Haiti, entered a cybercafe in Carrefour, a huge, poor, suburban slum (if that's not an oxymoron) of Port-au-Prince. Frandy needed to get in touch with John about a patient, but he didn't have any money to buy minutes. So he yelled out as he entered the cafe, "Does anyone have a couple of minutes I can use for an emergency e-mail?" A young man sitting at one of the computers raised his hand. Frandy sat down and began typing out his message to Dr. John.

When the young man saw who Frandy was writing, he said to Frandy, "Do you know Dr. John Carroll?" Frandy responded yes. Well, it turns out that this young man was Heurese's brother, and he wanted to get in touch with Dr. John himself because his sister was very sick.

As Frandy later discovered, the brother wasn't exaggerating. Heurese was at home, too weak to walk, having sent her two young children to live with relatives. With Frandy's help, John was able to get Heurese medicines that stabilized her situation. Then later, she went to Providence Guest House in Port-au-Prince to rest and receive good nutrition until her trip to the United States.

An encounter at a cybercafe that strains the boundaries of coincidence was necessary to the chain of events that led Heurese back to the United States for life-saving heart surgery. Maybe we shouldn't be surprised. As Willa Cather said, "Where there is great love, there are always miracles."

Heurese pictured above in her home in Carrefour.

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