Hello from Haiti!
After a good nights sleep I am not quite as mad as I am sad. Very early yesterday, morning, one of my room mates, Raj. Decided it was time to get up. That woke me up. I waited till Raj finished in the bathroom, and then I got up, washed up, and got dressed. Imagine my surprise when I liked at the clock and it was 3:30 AM. So I lay back down and never did get back to sleep. So last night, after another great meal and our usual meeting, I was in bed by 8:45 PM and feel more rested today.
I know that this clinic, or any clinic for that matter, is not about patient numbers but is about serving those Haitians who come to us for care. FOTCOH has developed a monster in that we have patients returning clinic after clinic for refills of medication who still think they need to be seen by a provider in order to get more medicine. During this particular clinic, we have tried to establish a new procedure where some of our providers do a check on the patients and send them directly to pharmacy for refills and we give them a two clinic supply of medications. This new system is not a big hit with the Haitians as they complain about new problems AFTER they are given their refills. Another important reason is that the next team, for the March mission, has only 15 volunteers. They will have enough on their hands during that mission so we are trying to lighten their burden. Incidentally, I will be returning on that mission as there was no other pharmacist available. We are trying to recruit more pharmacists and we would appreciate help in spreading the word to any other pharmacist you might know. So, as you might suspect, the conversations between my pharmacy interpreters and the patients gets a bit heated and loud. It makes me glad, sometimes, that I do not speak Kreole so I can’t tell what they are calling me!
Back to patient numbers, yesterdays count was 435. Yes, folks, that is not a misprint. I do not believe that I have ever been part of a mission that saw over 400 patients before. In addition, we had a visit from the Haitian Connection people from Peoria who were on their way home to Peoria from working in Bodaire Haiti. That is way up in the mountains near the border of the Dominican Republic. We are getting tight on some medications. This problem with Lynx Air is serious and forces me to be creative and also to say sorry we do not have the medications. Sadly, it is Garron’s surgical meds, some comfort items such as stool softeners and eye drops, some baby vitamins, and some dandruff shampoo (that is a big problem here and the head is usually full of infection).
This morning, I am on the east side of the clinic watching a lot of storm clouds blocking the sunrise and heading this way. We may have rain at the beach this afternoon. We plan to shut down at noon and head for the beach around 1:45. Tomorrow, after a prayer service, a special breakfast, and a little rest, we will head for the pool at the Cap Lamondue Hotel for R & R.
I must say a word about my wonderful helpers this year. I was a bit fearful as the mission approached because my normal helper, Carol Steiner, would not be on this mission. However, Sharon Doran had helped last July and I was sure that Mary Hedges would do well there also. To my most pleasant surprise, they are not only doing well, they are doing SUPER well. We do get help from Carla Haycox, our nursing student who is doing the lab and giving my shots. I keep teasing her that she is doing my wife’s job and she just smiles and nods. Debbie Yandell, on of our triage nurses, also comes to help when triage is done. Chip Moodie and Jane Gray are assisting in pill packing. Oh my, the beautiful sun has burst through the clouds and I know that this will frustrate the English majors, but I had to tell you of it’s beauty.
It is time for breakfast and I MUST get a jump on the day as I left the pharmacy in shambles last night to rush to the internet to find out about my shipments. So I have a mess at the start. Everyone is well here. Garron is another year older, after his birthday party last night, but I will not tell you how old he really is. I am enjoying your comments and would love to hear more from you. I was tickled to death to see a comment from my wife. Thank you dear, very much! Please know that all of you are in our thoughts and prayers!