Tracking Ed Monroe as he travels to Haiti and other exotic(?) places

Friday, February 10, 2006

Friday in the rain

Today was crying baby day, terrible scabies day, rainy day, and sadly our last full day. We saw 295 or 300 depending on how patients were tabulated. The day started in the rain, then the sun came out, then the rain appeared, then the sun, then the rain and so on till about 10AM. Again, I feel sorry for the Haitians as they had to endure this and while the Americans were hot and welcomed the rain, the Haitians became cold and began to shiver.
Yes we had screaming babies all day long and it does tend to wear on a person. We have almost run out of suckers which usually quiet them down. I had a very sad task this afternoon. An elderly lady in her 70’s, was seen by Dr Lukas. His station is outside the back door of the pharmacy and I can usually hear him as he discussed the patient’s problem with the interpreter. I overheard him tell the lady that she had severe breast cancer and needed to go to the local hospital for treatment. She left the provider and showed up in the pharmacy line and soon was at the pharmacy to be given vitamins and pain medications. When my interpreters began to explain how she was to take the medications she was given, she showed them the blue referral slip that she was given to take to the hospital so FOTCOH would pay for the treatment. She did not understand what she was to do with the slip or where she was to go. I, with my very limited knowledge of Kreole, could tell that something was wrong so I came out and asked my guys what was the problem. They were as confused as the lady so I told them that I would lead her back to the Doctor for help. Just as soon as we left the pharmacy, one of the Haitians hollered at the lady because she was supposed to exit the grounds as soon as she exited the pharmacy. So I had to tell him that she was with me and to back off. The next encounter was with one of the doctor’s interpreters and we again explained why we were there. The doctor was in surgery and not available but we drug his interpreter out and went over the story 3 times. We thought we had finally convinced her until we passed the waiting line for the doctor and all of the women in the line began to chatter at her. So back to my boys for one more try. I told Roger, my best worker, to talk with her slowly and kindly and explain that she had breast cancer and needed to go to the hospital to have it cared for. We think we have it solved and she proceeds to go out the entrance to the area rather than the exit. We got her turned around and I finally broke into tears. It was so heart breaking. Just one of the many hundreds of stories we could tell but that would take quite awhile.
It has been pouring since we closed and some of the group were out at the bar and just came in, wet and muddy. I’ll bet they will not sleep on the roof tonight because I am sure their bedding is soaked. This is the first year that we have had a good shower of rain. Other years it would only rain in the nights we would try to show movies outside on the upstairs porch wall. The rain is a good thing as our water reservoir ran dry this morning and we need to pump water from the well to the reservoir and then to the tanks on our roof. No laundry today and we were just told we could take FAST showers. Yeah, I am sticky and sweaty. Tomorrow is aour last day, and it is a half day at that. We’ll stop seeing patients at noon. In the afternoon, some will go to the wedding of one of our interpreters, some will go shopping, and the rest will relax and go into Jacmel in the late afternoon for dinner. The adventure is winding down and we will be packing for home on Monday after we take a closing inventory. It will be hard to close tomorrow. It will be very hard for the crowd control people to tell the crowd we are done until May, but that is what is required. There is a great deal of team satisfaction this year, as we have felt in years past. We have made a difference and that is a good thing. Thanks to all of you for your words, support and prayers. I’ll try to continue writing to this for a few more days. I hope you have enjoyed reading this as much as we have enjoyed experiencing it.

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