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

Friday, July 24, 2009

Homeward bound at 3 AM

Thursday evening July 23, 2009

My last post from Cyvadier is being written outside on the third floor balcony. The kitchen a/c is on but the team chatter is distracting. Inventory is done and partially posted on y computer. Our bags are packed and ready for the over night luggage truck. We will leave for PAP around 4 AM and, if the internet is up then, I’ll post this. We will be traveling by two vans so pleas pray for our sage travels. The Internet is not presently available. We had the wonderful meal of red beans and rice, covered in lobster, onions, tomatoes, and Haitian herbs. It is one of my favorites along with the black bean sauce over rice. We are headed to Boyer’s for some sort of a party, complete with the FOTCOH Band. That will be an interesting treat but I will be even more tired tomorrow, The Haitian workers chipped in and gave each one of us a personalized small painting/ It was a great gesture. We are all anxious to return home to our loved ones and our homes. This has been another great team experience. My helpers in the pharmacy have been outstanding again. Carol Steiner,
We ended up seeing a lot of patients today and our total exceeds 2400 patients. The last day was a frantic scramble but we survived. Eric even got a video of the “Grise Grind” where I have to compound a solution of Griseofulvin for the fungal patients. I wish there was a way to educate them to wash so that I would not have to treat so many fungal patients.
3 AM. It was some party at Boyer’s home. First, it is a very nice and clean home. Second, his step mother and his father prepared the food and beverage. We had a great 3 hours there at his home. Now it is time to finish packing and head for home. The new people have no idea what is in store for them on the ride home. I will post this and describe the rest of the day from Peoria. Thank you again for all of your comments and especially your prayers.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Wednesday July 22, 2009 evening

Back from Son-son’s and the birthday celebration for Eric’s %$# . I’ll let you insert the number. The FOTCOG band showed up and the team danced and drank for quite awhile. The team drew quite a crowd of Haitians around Son-son’s gate watching the crazy Blanc’s. Tonight’s dinner was a special goat meal that the Haitian girls cooked for us. We have now seen over 2300 patients. I told the team hat I had only stocked medications for 2300 so the pharmacy would not be open tomorrow. I am such a jokester. Tomorrow will be another hard day. We will likely see around 175 patients, have lunch, and then do inventory. The word is that we have a party at Boyer’s tomorrow night so I’ll need to get my inventory entered and off to the September team, if possible, before I party. We will have to get up at 3 AM on Friday in order to drive to the airport in Port-au-Prince. That will be a memorable trip for the team as there are 365 turns between Jacmel and PAP through the mountains. In PAP they will see more of the poverty up close and personal.
It is after 9 PM and I am one tired guy so I’ll close this till morning.
Internet is up so I’ll send this post. It is our last day here. Sorry I have been unable to send more pictures. It takes so long to upload them.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Wednesday July 22, 2009 Lunch time

I am dragging a bit today. I did get to bed at 9 PM but had a rough night. There were severely loud thunder crashes over night. I could not cool down in spite of holding the fan that I am using in my face. It might be that I can look towards Friday and also look back at the past two weeks work. We have another team member down with GI problems. Last night it was vomiting-today loose stools. Dr’s Sara and Ron have been busy.
We saw over 300 patients again yesterday and it seem like we have had that same number today by lunch time. There are lots of small children so I have to grind up Griseofulvin tablets to make up the needed dosages of the Griseofulvin suspension. It is a slow process.
We are getting close on many items and the next two periods will be tough. I do not want to leave many bags packaged. Ooops, I have now dozed off twice as I write this preparatory document for the blog. It does not bode well for the rest of the afternoon.
Now it is 5 PM and we finished at 4:30 PM. A young girl came in with a broken leg that seemed to take everyone to care for. The team is on edge today. I think that the work, the stress, the homesickness, and the heat have finally taken their toll. We have heard from Papa Dick and I understand that a conference is in order and soon as we have to call him back.
Team is off to the beach and I understand that we are going to Son-son’s tonight to celebrate Eric’s birthday. I have lots to do in preparation for inventory so this will be very short. I hope the internet is still up.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Haiti on a rainy Tuesday late afternoon

It is nearly 6 PM and the rain will soon arrive over the mountains. I have been tracking this storm as it has come off the coast of Africa and we should experience it soon. I should go out to the patient waiting area and count the number of people for you who will spend the night in the cold and wet area. I have just heard that we served over 360 patients today. We saw somewhere around 350 yesterday. Many have been very tough and I urge you to read the blog at for more details from other team members. I am especially touched by the snow cone story as it was repeated again today. Brother Nego and Ellen, My friends from Jacmel, came to the clinic this morning and we treated two of their friends. Nego and Ellen had been in the USA and were happy to be back in Haiti. I was also visited by my sponsor child, John Carrey Pantaleon but as usual, we were swamped in the pharmacy and I only had time to give him a back pack and some cars (machines). His eyes really began to light up at the machines. I asked Becky Novack to take our picture and hope to upload it soon. Some of the team members have just gone outside the gate to find out how much it would cost to feed all of the people stuck in the rain. We have seen so much malnutrition and starving people. You will never understand the problems until you see the dossiers with weight loss from clinic to clinic. It is simply awful. You, in America, have it so darn good. Even my sponsor child is NOT putting on weight for almost 1 year now. He still looks and acts healthy and I am grateful for that. The Internet is working and I need a shower before dinner. I was very happy to get a nice email from my wife today. I’ll be home soon! I really appreciate all of your comments and post them when I can. Please continue to keep us in your prayers.
Late addition for Mrs C: DC is not the sick one……

A tired guy on Monday

I am very tired this morning. I got to bed at midnight last night and awoke at the usual 5 AM today. After the beach we sat around in the dining area visiting. I made several bags of microwave popcorn for the group. Boyer showed up and took a group of us to the Bee Club. That was quite an experience. Andreta was at the door selling alcohol. There were several young children present and that surprised us. The music was loud and the group of us who went to the club did a little dancing and people watching. I paid little attention to the time. It seemed that we stayed there about 1 hour. There was a $ 1.00 USD cover to get in to the club. The DJ did help us by speaking English some of the time. The music stopped and some sort of a program started so we left to return home. Not all of us could fit on the Toyota so we went to Son-son’s. He opened his gates for us to wait inside until the Toyota returned to pick us up. As I was preparing for bed, I was called out to assist with an IV for one of the team members. I will go as far as to say that it was a female. She had vomited 3 times and was quite nauseated. I’m sure I will pay for the late night all day today.
It is now almost 5 PM and time to sit and relax before dinner. Internet is busy-what else is new. We are so spoiled back home. Everyone gets very frustrated by this slow loading connection. I have no other answer except to say that it is not busy early in the mornings but slows down at noon and in the evening so I suspect that it is a satellite traffic issue.
We have another sick team member. His cough has finally caught up with him. He is being well cared for and is resting. Again, I am bound by the code of the mission not to cause any unneeded family worries.
We managed to see 327 patients today and we are starting to run low on certain items. Our September team will need to order Chewable Children’s Vitamins with Iron and lots of ace inhibitors. The bathroom vanity that I shipped over 1 month ago finally arrived today. Previous team members will get a chuckle out my note that the pharmacy sore room key was lost for a couple of hours today. Neva found it for me.
Internet slow. I'll publish this tomorrow.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Sunday July 19

There are many still in bed at 7:30 AM. It must have been a late night for all. I finally turned in at 11:30 PM. Our meal at Cyvadier Plage was as good as ever. The only problem was that I did not get the meal that I ordered. Christophe, the owner, made a dessert similar to Bananas Foster and allowed me to help him to serve it. He tells me that a video was made during our March team visit and he tells me I have a starring role. I must find a copy of that video so see just how much of a fool I made of myself. The band showed up and we laughed and danced for quite awhile. I do not recall what time it was when we left the place.
Today is another hot and humid day here. Our prayer service will begin around 9 this morning. Jon, he cook, promises a breakfast of pancakes, eggs, and bacon. That will be a nice treat. We will leave for the beach around 1 PM. Some of the team found bargains in Jacmel yesterday. I am saving packing peanuts and bubble wrap for the team to use to transport their treasures.
We discovered a pinhole leak this morning in the water pumping system. We will have to wait until tomorrow for Louchard to come out and check it out.
The internet is running very slow but that allows me to prepare this and maybe do a better job of checking for spelling errors before I publish it. So far, no one has complained about my errors. Renel just arrived with news that we have patients expecting to be seen.
Ooops.. it is now 7 PM and we are back from the beach and just in time. It is pouring rain. The beach was as busy as ever. I am getting teased for my pink swim suit and pink t shirt that I am wearing. Everyone had a great time today at the beach. We ate lobster, grilled fish complete with head and eyes, pikle (a spicy cole slaw), fried plantains, rice & beans, Prestige, Rum and two bottles of wine that Ron picked up along the way to the beach. One surprise was the arrival of Edzsa, one of my pharmacy translators. He came to take us to meet his mother who lived down the beach from where we were at at Ti Moulage. Bruce, Carol, Becky Novak, and I trekked down the beach to a small home right on the beach. Some of us were smart enough to wear footwear. We met his mother and his sister and two of his cousins. That means that story that he lives in a home with 9 people and one bed. I observed two beds is not the real story. Ha!
We also had two Americans join us, One we met last night at the Cyvadier Plage and
the other, and was an at instructor from Marengo Iowa. We had a great time talking about the towns around Marengo from my childhood. It made me a bit homesick.
We just made it home before the storm only to find that we had locked a door for which we have left the key inside. Picture, if you can, using a wine opener (now why would I have a wine opener with me?) to break in. Gee, I wonder if Papa Dick is reading this?
Monday AM Internet working halfway

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Saturday night July 18

Today 178 patients came through the doors of the pharmacy today between 7:30 AM and 11:30 AM. So, if each patient gets a vitamin, Tylenol or Motrin, something for their acid that is 534 prescriptions. Add to that the one or two anti-hypertensive medications, one or two diabetic medications, a worm medication, a scabies treatment, maybe an antibiotic or an anti fungal medication and you have some idea what happens in the clinic pharmacy. To complete the picture, add providers coming in for consultations, volunteers using the pharmacy sink for hand washings, and other major distractions to the mix. I do not know how better to describe what Becky Novack has described as organized chaos.
I have some very good news to report today. Sue Behrens, our team leader, came to me for something for rapid pain relief. I had something to give her in a liquid form that I’ll choose not to divulge on the blog. Sometime later, I was sitting out in the pharmacy waiting area placing labels on pill bags. Yes, I was cheating and sitting down. I can tell you that is a rare event. Two ladies came into the lobby with their dossiers. One of the ladies had been given a treatment and had her shoulder wrapped in an elastic bandage. However she was not able to close her blouse to cover her bare breast. I asked for someone to get the lady one of the diaper pins so she could have some modesty. I got up to look over her dossier and finally realized that this was the “January burn lady”. She was treated extensively by the January team and given supplies and instructions for follow up at the local hospital. They refused to treat her and she showed up in March and we had to start all over again. So every morning on the porch outside my door she was treated and it had to be very painful. He would not accept any pain medications and sat it the chair with a death grip on the chair and a grimace on her face. It is such a thrill for me to report her progress to you. I am tearing up as I write this part and have had a good cry of joy today.
Today is the day o choices for the team. Do I go to town and shop? Do I stay here and head for the beach? Should I join Ron & Peggy as they hike up the mountain trail? Or should I just stay here and take a nap? I’ll bet you all know the answer to that question.
Some of the team is waiting to go to town and are packing pills. This is a great help to my pharmacy crew. Somehow the Americans are better and faster than my Haitian pill packers. I still, however, do need to check over their work for unlabeled bags or mislabeled bags.
On the previous blog when I reported on our visit to Sonson’s bar I told you about Diana, my pill packer, and her beautiful baby. She came through the clinic today and I’ll soon post some pictures for you to view.
Speaking of views, we are presently watching Emil, the lobster man, swimming and diving for located about 30 yards off the eastern shore. He comes up only for a moment and resumes his dive so he is hard to spot unless you really concentrate. There is no boat near by and the he is usually found at the cove by the hotel which is almost 1 mile away. I wonder how many lobsters he will catch today with his spear gun?
We have posted the visual aids on sheets of paper in the pharmacy waiting area. All seem to agree that was a good idea to put a graphic, such as a picture of a blood pressure cuff, on the bottles of medication that we send home with patients. It is also possible that this could cause further problems id the Haitians share their medications with their neighbors as we suspect that do already.
S0o I see that it is ever cool back home. What gives with that? 68 degrees on July 18? Unreal. I am sitting out on the third floor balcony enjoying the breeze. We will so leave for our Saturday night party. Details to follow soon.

Friday, July 17, 2009

Friday July 17

Today we saw a young man who had been in a motorcycle accident. He was in pain and, as he was being treated, endured much more pain as they cleaned and dressed his wounds. He did, however, leave with a smile on his face. He was so grateful for the care that he had been give.
The question of the day seemed to be “What do we have for anxiety?” Do you think that the medication was for Haitians or team members? I’ll let you answer that when you send comments.
I spent quite a bit of time trying to make a 6 year old boy smile. Nothing seemed to work for him. I tried the water gun, the ponytail hat and clown nose, and the funny glasses. I finally chose to give him one of the small Match Box cars that the First English Church of Peoria so generously donated. It worked wonders. Thanks again for that donation.
The team has made their selection for Saturday’s dinner at the hotel and is excited about the evening’s plans. Speaking of meals, we have not suffered in that department. There is a report that we are out of oatmeal but we will make due for breakfast. The mangos and are exceptionally tasty this year. A nice surprise was that the Internet was active during the noon hour and some of the team was able to get to their emails. I am continuing on the laptop computer set ups. I am finished with Dr. Nelson’s laptop and I am working on Boyer's. It is hard to clean up when I have so many security downloads to find and install.
Becky Novak remains the queen of the scales. I do mean the pharmacy scales. Sara almost let me scrub in with her today. At least she allowed me to prepare the scrub solutions. The late nights have been catching up with me. I stayed up way too late on Wednesday evening but I was the first to bed last night. That was not a good idea as the generator went off and Jon’s CPAP stopped working and awakened him for the rest of the night. I was not sleeping well as it was very hot and muggy so I went down in the dark to switch it over. I was unable to locate a flashlight but safely made the trip and changed the power. The fans here are very important.
The team went to Son-son’s last night. I was able to see Diana, my pill packer, and her new baby. The baby is as cute as ever and looks very healthy. Ron and Peggy arrived in mid afternoon and met an American at the Cyvadier Plage Hotel named Rachel. She joined us at Son-sons and it was interesting talking with her. She is from San Francisco but attended college in St. Louis.
Tried to down load this early this morning and could not get on the net. I am now trying at noon with even poorer results.
No 5 PM and it is working so here it comes.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Wednesday and mid week exhaustion

It is the noon break. The internet is running very slow so I’ll type this in a word file and post it later. We saw lots of small children today. We had to do the “Greasy Grind” twice already today and I suspect we will prepare the Griseofulvin suspension several more times this afternoon. I have been frantically looking for all of the Tylenol drops that I had purchased for this mission. They are no where to be found. Either I have shipped them ahead and are still somewhere in the Lynx Air system or they were all removed from the team luggage. In any event, we have none so, we will be using up more of the 60 ml solution than we had planned on using, So far, that is the only real problem we have had. I never did find the extra permethrin cream.
It is now 5:30 PM and much of the team has again gone to the beach. This time they supposedly went to the small beach. I still have not seen that place. Someday, I’ll not be so tired at this time of night. My crew has done another fantastic job in the pharmacy. We are so far ahead on everything. I plan to let Cari and Scott spend some time in other areas tomorrow. Then I can send Rebecca out to see more of that goes on at other areas of the clinic. I do not have the total on the number of patients that we have seen today. I do know that it will be a high number.
Oh my, the team is back from the beach and I have not made the shower and now there are umpteen people wanting to shower. Maybe I’ll wait till bedtime for that.
I hear the TV on in the next room. The internet is slow but the TV works. Why is that?
I am still typing this on the word document and posting if and when the internet is open.
Now it is almost 8:30 PM. The team meeting is over. Some interesting cases were presented today. I am trying to get pictures for you to look at. I must report that Dave Coleman is shocking me by eating each meal that we have enjoyed. I have, not once, seen him with a peanut butter sandwich. He showed me his plate at the beginning of dinner and his CLEAN plate at dinner’s end. I am so proud of him. I do need to report that Rebecca is so well trained at counting to 70 that when she diced up the hot peppers for dinner this evening they were neatly arranged in piles of 70. I am such a difficult boss of my helpers. Speaking of helpers, we are using an interpreter to assist us in the pill packing area until Dr. Ron and Nurse Peggy arrive tomorrow. He is 19 years old and has fallen in love with our Caroline. I doubt that she is aware of him. Scott and Caroline have made him feel comfortable, shared Facebook stories, played their music on the Ipods, and tried to get him to hydrate. He is, however, Haitian, therefore his work ethic is not very good, and he is terribly messy. Tomorrow should be his last day in pharmacy and he will be very disappointed to find that Scott and Caroline will not be there first thing in the morning. He also quits at 3 PM no matter what is going on.
I want to encourage you to check out the other blog at I need to do the same thing soon. I have finally figured out that Jailson is from Brazil. He is presently teaching Rebecca Portuguese here in the third floor. They had a great conversation at the lunch table about Brazilian kick boxing. Most of the young ones are on the third floor balcony. The rooftop is off limits and I am pleased to say that all have abided by the rule. I must admit that it is a tough rule for me as I love to lie on the roof and watch for falling stars.
Noww it is 5 AM and the internet is working so I'll post this.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Tuesday July 14

For those who have been here before, you will recall Dieudonne’s arrival with hand claps and whistles. Add to those sound the noise that Esperidon (Don or Asparagus) makes as he rakes he fallen leaves with his tree branch, add the sound of the nearby goats, and finally, the crashing waves and you will understand the symphony playing as I begin the day. The breeze here on the south east corner of the third floor is wonderful. I’ll need to rearrange the fans so I can sleep better tonight than I did last night.
The luggage truck arrived after team meal. I must report that David C ate the meal and not his usual peanut butter & bread meal. I was impressed. I did not keep track of the time it took to unpack the bags. I do know my clean and organized pharmacy is no longer. Today’s first project will be to restore some order.
Team reports that they had two O.J. Simpson runs through O’Hare and Miami airports. Surprisingly their entire luggage made it with them. Very little was broken. TSA in Peoria thoroughly inspected their bags, even opening and inspecting the ceiling fans that were in sealed cartons.
Every one is enjoying the Prestige and the Haitian coffee. Jon Wagner will serve as our team cook. We should have the usual oatmeal breakfast soon. Most of the older team members are awake but very few of the youngsters.
It is now almost 5 PM. Much of the team is off to the beach. We started clinic today around 10 AM and have seen a ton of patients. They are still tabulating the count. We we went out around 8 AM there must have been over 300 people waiting to get in. Since Pharmacy was up and ready we started to see patients earlier than planned. There were the usual rough spots but all in all it was a good day. I am very pleased with the volunteers that have been assigned to me for this team. They really got a work out today and did an outstanding job.
Lots of kids with fungal infections were seen today and that requires that we compound the medication. We call it the “Greasy Grind” as we grind up the required number of Griseofulvin tablets and suspend the powder in a solution of Ora-Blend. Our thanks to the May team for the bubble gum flavoring agent to mix with it. So, thank you, Mark and Phyllis.
BTW the revealing surprise for the team was the fact that we had washed the fans, both floor and ceiling, but, more importantly, we also washed every window in the clinic. Inside and out and cleaned every screen. It is so wonderful to look out at the beautiful view from clean windows and enjoy the additional air from unclogged window screens.
I will try to get out on the internet and post this. The internet has been quite slow.
Almost forgot. I was mooned by all of the new pharmacy volunteers and Dr Sara today. I’ll give out details a little later.
Internet slow but I just heard we saw 173 patients today.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Monday in Haiti

There is another beautiful sunrise here in Haiti that I am watching. All of the clouds from last evening’s downpour have passed. The storm arose around 5 PM. It started with thunder & lightening and then it poured by the buckets full for almost 1 hour. It was raining so hard that it was difficult to see much of the surroundings. We really felt sorry for the three women who took up positions in the patient waiting area outside the compound. We had notice them when we returned from our nice lunch at Cyvadier Plage.
Carol, Bruce, and I decided to walk to the hotel for lunch. Yes, I said, walk. Some of you might find the fact that I would walk somewhat shocking. We chose to walk up to the main road by Son-son’s, then along the main road to the road the leads back to the hotel. We passed Boyer’s house and we think he was surprised to see us. He had company on his veranda. His arm continues to be very sore and he plans to have Dr. Nelson look at it again before he departs for Port-au-Prince early this morning.
The three of us had another nice meal at the hotel. The manager was very pleased to see us again. We are trying different items on the menu so as to be better able to describe them to the team when we all eat at the hotel this Saturday. Again, we were pleased with the lower than expected bill.
Our return to the clinic was via the back route. Basically you follow a narrow foot path through the foliage. I have not taken that trail for several years and was surprised at how many homes were along it now. And, yes, the litter from trash dropped y the Haitian was everywhere. We thought we would see more small children on our walk but we were not joined by them along the way. We stopped by to see Renel’s home building progress. Not much has been done to the building since I last saw it in March. Renel has already asked Carol for money to help him finish building it. A note to Dr. Stoner, I will bring pictures but we failed to take along a camera yesterday.
It was a restful Sunday and we hope that we have everything ready for the team’s arrival today. We have one problem that we cannot find the solution to. The door on the north side on the third floor is locked and we cannot locate the key. We have looked everywhere for it. We are hoping it will turn up soon. There is an exit on the south side so the team will be forced to use only the one door.
I am watching the team’s flight progress on flight aware. That is so cool. I am also listening to the noise from the property to the West. The boys are back to the rock breaking. Yesterday, they added the sounds made by throwing the rocks into the steel bed of a large truck. It was very musical-not! Otherwise, it was nice to have a somewhat restful Sunday prior to a very busy week ahead.
Yesterday I wrote about seeing cats. On Sunday we saw an even stranger sight. As we sat at the Cyvadier Plage looking out on the water two, yes I said two, power boats were cruising past the bay. One was near the shore and the other a little further out to sea. I believe that is the first power boats we have observed in this area. Today’s news tells of a ferry boat accident between a city in the DR and Jacmel. I suspect that is the cause of us seeing a boat. I was unaware that there was ferry service from Jacmel. You learn something new every day.
The families who were eating at a nearby table were quite interesting. They appeared to be Sri Lankan’s. Two older men & women and two teen aged boys. They spoke French and mixed in a little English now and then, I think, to confuse us. Other than that family there was one other couple having a meal and that couple was engrossed in watching something on their laptops. I suspect the hotel has a wireless network.
It is now almost 8 PM. Team has had supper at the luggage truck will soon arrive. I’ll post this and describe the teams travel adventures another time. I will say that this team seems to be another great team. I am enjoying each one of them but I still miss my old team mates. Thanks for your support of FOTCOH and even more thanks for having to put up with me..

Sunday, July 12, 2009

A Sunday morning in Haiti

Hello from Cyvadier. We had a nice dinner last night at the Cyvadier Platz hotel by our favorite swimming beach. The dining room was real quiet. There was no band, no manager, no crazy March team members, only a bunch of crazy Peoria volunteers. There was one table of Sri Lankans, one table of French speaking people, one group from BC in Canada and one single blonde lady busy on her lap top. Our good buddy Belloni appeared towards the end of the meal and I bought him a Prestige. He said he knew where to find us. I had to send him home on Thursday as I did not need him then. I figured he would be mad at me but he seemed to understand. The food was very good even though Christopher, the owner was not present. Our bill was much less than we expected. We did speak with the manager in charge and we are working on details for next Saturday evening. EDH, the local power company is quite unpredictable so we use the generator when EDH is off. Thank you again Caterpillar and especially the folks who arranged the gift last September. Today I managed to complete the task that will be revealed to the team on Monday. I have not been bribed enough to divulge details till then. I suspect that the March team has some idea what the DOM is up to and will leave it at that.
For those of you who are keeping score, we have requested that Boyer drive us to 7:00 AM Mass. I told Bruce we should just keep the Toyota and drive to Mass by ourselves. Will the church walls fall in when Boyer enters? No, Boyer just dropped us off at the door and came back 1 ½ hours later. The Mass was 1 hour and 45 minutes. Last night Boyer was wearing a rosary around his neck as a piece of jewelry so maybe there is hope.
We had a patient show up Saturday with a RTC for yesterday and expected to be seen. I sent her away with instructions to return during clinic. Yes, team members and experienced FOTCH volunteers, I gave her a valid RTC slip. Maybe I should have made it for the September team. LOL.
I am not seeing much news from home on the PJ Star website so that is a good thing/ I understand that Bill Clinton went to the Northern part of Haiti last week but not to the Jacmel area/ I wonder what effect that will have in the long run.
A note to the July team: Today we took all of the small fans apart and finished cleaning them after the Haitian girls had attempted it. We also WD-40’d all of them. The bill for services is in the Haitian mail. There are two of the fans that we are unable to stop squeaking, no matter how much WD 40 we spray in it. We drove to Ti Moulage on Saturday and the surf was quite strong so I suspect the undertow was also strong. We are all set there for Sunday and made the Saturday evening arrangements at dinner on Saturday. There was a meeting Saturday of many of out Haitian workers today and Bruce was introduced as big boss. Carol and I are labeling Bruce as Boss # 5 as there are others who are above him on the organizational chart. He does tease well. A note to the previous FOTCOH teams, the swimming beach was filled with Haitians on Saturday night. It was great to see families enjoying the water. It was some sort of a party or picnic with several Haitian families. Yes, all of the vendors were there with paintings, jewelry, but no t-shirts and no t-shirt lady. Yeah.
Today will be a rest day. We may walk back to Cyvadier Plage hotel for lunch. You can look up Cyvadier Plage on Google if you care to. The Internet is working better today. It was very slow yesterday. There is still no rain, only heat & humidity. Roger sprayed for bug yesterday and gave us all a headache from the smell. It lingers on today. But now all of the bugs should be dead and that is a good thing. Strangely, we saw two cats in the past 24 hours. One was on the road from Ti Moulage and one here in our back yard. Speaking of the road from Ti Moulage, we almost stuck a stray cow that darted across the road right in front of our Toyota. I do not know how we missed it. Boyer’s right arm is still painful so he drives, shifts gears, and operates his ever ringing cell phone all with his left hand.
Thanks enough time on the computer this morning. It is time to get outside and watch the men who are fishing on the east side in 3 boats. They have the diving flag out so maybe we will have some lobster soon. We hope you are having a great weekend.

A Sunday morning in Haiti

Hello from Cyvadier. We had a nice dinner last night at the Cyvadier Platz hotel by our favorite swimming beach. The dining room was real quiet. There was no band, no manager, no crazy March team members, only a bunch of crazy Peoria volunteers. There was one table of Sri Lankans, one table of French speaking people, one group from BC in Canada and one single blonde lady busy on her lap top. Our good buddy Belloni appeared towards the end of the meal and I bought him a Prestige. He said he knew where to find us. I had to send him home on Thursday as I did not need him then. I figured he would be mad at me but he seemed to understand. The food was very good even though Christopher, the owner was not present. Our bill was much less than we expected. We did speak with the manager in charge and we are working on details for next Saturday evening. EDH, the local power company is quite unpredictable so we use the generator when EDH is off. Thank you again Caterpillar and especially the folks who arranged the gift last September. Today I managed to complete the task that will be revealed to the team on Monday. I have not been bribed enough to divulge details till then. I suspect that the March team has some idea what the DOM is up to and will leave it at that.
For those of you who are keeping score, we have requested that Boyer drive us to 7:00 AM Mass. I told Bruce we should just keep the Toyota and drive to Mass by ourselves. Will the church walls fall in when Boyer enters? No, Boyer just dropped us off at the door and came back 1 ½ hours later. The Mass was 1 hour and 45 minutes. Last night Boyer was wearing a rosary around his neck as a piece of jewelry so maybe there is hope.
We had a patient show up Saturday with a RTC for yesterday and expected to be seen. I sent her away with instructions to return during clinic. Yes, team members and experienced FOTCH volunteers, I gave her a valid RTC slip. Maybe I should have made it for the September team. LOL.
I am not seeing much news from home on the PJ Star website so that is a good thing/ I understand that Bill Clinton went to the Northern part of Haiti last week but not to the Jacmel area/ I wonder what effect that will have in the long run.
A note to the July team: Today we took all of the small fans apart and finished cleaning them after the Haitian girls had attempted it. We also WD-40’d all of them. The bill for services is in the Haitian mail. There are two of the fans that we are unable to stop squeaking, no matter how much WD 40 we spray in it. We drove to Ti Moulage on Saturday and the surf was quite strong so I suspect the undertow was also strong. We are all set there for Sunday and made the Saturday evening arrangements at dinner on Saturday. There was a meeting Saturday of many of out Haitian workers today and Bruce was introduced as big boss. Carol and I are labeling Bruce as Boss # 5 as there are others who are above him on the organizational chart. He does tease well. A note to the previous FOTCOH teams, the swimming beach was filled with Haitians on Saturday night. It was great to see families enjoying the water. It was some sort of a party or picnic with several Haitian families. Yes, all of the vendors were there with paintings, jewelry, but no t-shirts and no t-shirt lady. Yeah.
Today will be a rest day. We may walk back to Cyvadier Plage hotel for lunch. You can look up Cyvadier Plage on Google if you care to. The Internet is working better today. It was very slow yesterday. There is still no rain, only heat & humidity. Roger sprayed for bug yesterday and gave us all a headache from the smell. It lingers on today. But now all of the bugs should be dead and that is a good thing. Strangely, we saw two cats in the past 24 hours. One was on the road from Ti Moulage and one here in our back yard. Speaking of the road from Ti Moulage, we almost stuck a stray cow that darted across the road right in front of our Toyota. I do not know how we missed it. Boyer’s right arm is still painful so he drives, shifts gears, and operates his ever ringing cell phone all with his left hand.
Thanks enough time on the computer this morning. It is time to get outside and watch the men who are fishing on the east side in 3 boats. They have the diving flag out so maybe we will have some lobster soon. We hope you are having a great weekend.

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Come Saturday morning-

-I’m going away with my friends.

So I thought I would start out today with a song since I chose to skip yesterday. Actually with Deacon Bruce here we start out the day with prayer, and that is a good thing.
There are three laptops here on the dining table of the second floor where I am sitting. Dr Nelson brought me his so I could try to load a program for the palm pilot that Holly from the March team, sent to me for him. However, I do not have the Palm program CD for the T/X model and I could not find the program on line to download. I did transfer some files from my laptop to his via my jump drive and promptly picked up the Trojan horse that was on his unit. He has no anti virus program, no firewall turned on, no clean up utility so I am fixing him up with some. It is a cute little Acer one which is ½ the size of my 17” screen that I need for my tired old eyes. I do find myself squinting at his small screen. I’ll give it back to him today when he stops by for it. The second laptop is one that Jacky, one of our Haitian workers and main stays would like to purchase. It is an old HP ze4800. They want $ 300.00 American for it and it is bare bones. I do not think that is a good price for that unit. There is no wireless card and I have yet to see if there is a way I can check out diagnostics on it to see what it may contain in the way of hardware specs.
Yesterday’s clinic results 28 patients were scheduled and 21 of them showed up. We had one show up who had a Return To Clinic (RTC) but the dossier was not marked by the provider in May so it was not on the list. I will not mention the provider’s name but it did make me smile, when we went to pull the dossier. Roger has been a great help in organizing the patients and anything that is asked of him. He must have turned away over 20 patients who heard we were in town and wanted to be seen. I made the mistake of allowing a reactive airway patient who was having severe breathing problems to be seen by Dr Nelson and the word got out. Out of the 66 people we saw two will be returning to see our doctors during clinic for follow up. I have some thoughts for medical advisory that are best shared there and not on this blog. I just got a note from pharmacist Jess that was encouraging bout the pre clinic. Thanks Jess.
BTW, I do see that I make this blog to personal but, since it is my thoughts and observations I’ll leave it up to better editors and writers to extract items for the FOTCOH blog. Someone from the July team other than me will be the author for the FOTCOH official blog so you might want to subscribe to it.
I have had several questions about the shocking announcement that I will publish this coming Monday. Maybe I chose the wrong word. Perhaps a better word would be revealing to describe what is going on. Yes, I am teasing you but, for those who have known me for any length of time, know that I love to tease.
Today we will continue to prepare the clinic for the team’s arrival on Monday. We hope they have better luck with travels than we did last week. Peoria airport was a breeze. American Airlines was a pain. Miami hotels were a bargain by Hotwire and the shuttles were easy to use when we found out where to find them. We did have to recheck the 50 lb bags-thanks to AA. Miami airport was easy to navigate but all of our gates were at the far end of the airport. Port-au-Prince airport remains the same. With the smaller early morning plane, a 737, we breezed through immigration. Yes, the Haitian herd was active as we boarded the plane and especially as we exited. It got worse when the luggage was finally off loaded. One lady was almost knocked across the room by a man swinging a bag off the carousel. Since I had to go back to retrieve the three missing bags I got to participate in the melee twice-thanks again to AA.
Boyer, our main man, has had his arm attended to by Dr Nelson. We have been trying to help him for 3 days but he would not listen until yesterday. I brought out the largest syringe and needle I could find for Nelson to us on him. I also found a skin stapler. It scared Boyer even more than he already was. Anyhow, the area has been drained and cleaned, antibiotic prescribed, and it should be better today. He plans t go to town to purchase Prestige, soda, water, and ice for the team’s arrival. I will try and have it chilled for Monday. We will also travel to Ti Moulage to put down the down payment on the Sunday beach adventure and travel to Cyvadier Platz to negotiate the Saturday evening event. I wonder if the team will tip the clinic hosts for all this extra hard work. LOL. As a reminder to any who have Google Earth, there are pictures of both Ti Moulage and Cyvadier Platz on that sight if you were ever curious. I find it fun to use that program and look at Jacmel, to try and find the clinic when it is visible, and other places in the world.
It is almost time for breakfast so I’ll need to clear this table and publish this to the site. Thanks again for the comments. Please keep them coming. And, yes, I am trying to catch the spelling and grammar errors and love it when you find more. That means you are reading this after all.

Thursday, July 09, 2009

This is Thursday-I think

Dave Coleman gave me permission last night to drink a total of 7 beers plus my wine. Who believes that I did that? Funniest thing is I never once got up over night. Do you think I have not been hydrating enough? My black t-shirt seems to have white streaks from the salt I have been sweating out. I have a 1.5 liter water bottle that I refilled twice a day and still not hydrating enough. I wonder what it will be like during full clinic.
Shocking development today but I am restrained from giving details until Monday morning. Strict orders from big boss so I must honor the request.
We enjoyed another rain free day in spite of thunder rumblings in mid afternoon. Today we saw 20 of the expected 30 patients so I am 2/3 rd’s pleased. We had two patients show up. One was to come on July 22. It was explained to me by Roger that she is illiterate and did not know when she was to be at clinic. Her “reactive airway disease” was in crisis mode so I asked Dr Nelson to see her. Come to find out that he was not fully aware of our guidelines and she had not been treated in May with the guidelines. It gave me a chance to work with Dr Nelson and he appreciated the help. Belloni showed up to work today and is mad at me because I sent him home. The mean old treasurer is watching the money again. We did not need him and I was told he was a problem for the May team. The mean old treasurer will only need the pill packers for one more half day tomorrow as he has 4 helpers scheduled for the pharmacy.
The other non scheduled patient today was one of Esperidon’s (many call him Asparagus) children or grandchildren. We never know which!. He had a bad cut on her finger and expected us to stitch it up. I made her wait until Dr Nelson showed. I do not do stitches-period.
In other news, Boyer, our main man, has a bed infection on his forearm and he will not let Dr Nelson work on it. Nelson and I are having a good time teasing him even though it is very painful. We have asked Neva and Andreta, our Haitian housekeepers, to clean off the ceiling fans for the team. It may take several days as they are only able to one floor of the clinic per day. You always have to remember you are in Haiti. They do not think or act as we would in the USA with regards to dirt, work, or finding things to do. You must always direct them and I have a hard time with that. Oh Well!
We are having fun with the local power company, EDH. They seem to switch the power off and on at random times instead of the expected 2 PM to 2 AM. So we are constantly switching from EDH to generator and back and forth. Again that is very Haitian.
Not much else to report to you. Thanks to my son & grandson for the comments.

Wednesday, July 08, 2009

Today is what day?

Hello from Cyvadier. It is nearly 7 PM and we are done for the day. Up at 5:45 AM. Thanks you Sparky the rooster. One of these days…… will be chicken soup.
I am pleased (?) to report that our neighbors to the West have returned to the rock breaking exercise that they have done on previous missions. This means that from sun rise to sunset you are treated with the musical sound of the sledge hammer hitting the rocks and the exclamations when it seems to have slipped and hit them instead. At the moment there are two of them so it is quite entertaining.
We had expected to see 30 patients today on our experiment for an early refill clinic. We won the raffle and 30 people showed. However: Dr Nelson was 1 hour late due to delivering a baby, or so he says. 25 of the people we expected showed. Three people show up that were given incorrect return to clinic May dates by yours truly and I feel very bad about that. One showed up who should have come on July 10 but had “extremely important business” on that day, and we had one patient who had a RTC slip but was not listed on our report. We will need to see one very sick patient during the July clinic.
Today went better than I expected and we had very few problems. Some of the usual start up confusion like where is the ??????. I am happy that I have been here often enough to be able to help out with many non pharmacy related items.
We did loose one jar of jelly in transit-it may have been strawberry and ½ half bag of M & M’s. We have had to wash two bags as a result. All of the ceiling fans need to be cleaned as well as the personal fans so I’ll be busy on Sunday and Monday. We hope to enlist Neva and Andreta to help with this. We caught Neva sleeping today so we know they have the time. I may also ask them to WASH THE WINDOWS! They are very bad as are the screens. If we got the lint off the screens they would let more air inside-I think!
All 3 of us slept well last night. I’m up on third only until team arrives, then I’ll move down to the boy’s room.
We had a big lunch, even though it was rushed, today and none of us are hungry for supper. We have some cold Prestige and some cold Sauvignon Blanc so I may end up drinking my supper tonight. I wonder why I drink so much beer here in Haiti as opposed to Peoria?
There are some surprises in the clinic pharmacy inventory that I need to investigate more carefully tomorrow. I am too tired tonight to think about it. We had a beautiful sunrise and sunset so it is a great day. Thanks for reading this.

Tuesday, July 07, 2009

Hello from Cyvadier July 7, 2009

After a long and frustrating day, we are safely home at the FOTCOH clinic in Cyvadier. Last night Bruce & Carol at the Miami Doubletree and I at the Miami Airport Wyndham could not sleep well. I was just dozing off about 11 PM when FOTCOH Pharmacist, Mark Purcell chose to text me a message. That kept me awake for quite some time and I watched the clock till about 3 AM. At 4 AM, Bruce and Carol called me from Miami airport wondering where I was at. The Doubletree hotel told them to be at the airport at least 2 full hours before flight time do they chose to get to the airport at 4 AM for a 6:45 AM flight. Okay, so I am awake. Time for a quick shower and call the bellman to assist with the three 50 lb bags I had to claim at Miami due to the layover. I had acquired one of Bruce and Carol’s bags on my luggage cart so I had to get to the airport so we could check in together. Getting through AA check in and TSA was a breeze at that time of the morning. BTW, we saved 50 % 0n our hotel bills by using Hotwire. That was a nice thing. Bothe the Miami Doubletree and the Wyndham have 24 hour shuttles and are great hotels for $ 55.00 per night thank you Hotwire.

Our plane was 30 minutes late at take off due to a light bulb that needed to be changed and a late arriving passenger. We flew in a 737 which is know as the SST (short stubby thing)/ That forced us to give up one of our carry on’s due to the lack of space and the tremendous quantity of bags that were carried in the plane. We 3 were the majority of Blancs on the plane; I counted 5 of us on the plane. We arrived in PAP1/2 hour late and we encountered the usual delay in getting our luggage. However, three of our bags did not make the flight. One of my green 50 lb bags, one of Carol’s 50 lb bags and my carry on with my laptop. Oh SH##! So we were told to come back at 11:30 AM as the next flight would have landed and our bag would surely be on it. So Boyer took us to a nice hotel near the airport, along with his father, Louis, and we had a nice sandwich there. Boyer had eaten some fish the night before and was not feeling at all well. We returned to the airport and, of course, the plane was not in. It arrived 1 hour later and our bags were on the very last baggage cart that was unloaded. It was so exasperating. They could have cared less about unloading the carts. They kept shutting off the conveyor belt and standing around. Several Haitian went nuts so I did not have to get crazy. Finally, I got all three bags loaded on a cart and then had to hunt for Boyer and the Toyota. The Digicel phone that I had kept going to his voice mail and I was outside in the crazy thong of “helpers: that congregate there. Finally he picked up his calls and found me. Now we are off through Port-au-Prince and headed for Jacmel. For those of you who have never experienced that ride, I cannot begin to do it Justice. Washed out areas in the middle of the town, garbage dumps everywhere, cars, trucks, busses, tat-taps, and motorbikes everywhere. General mass confusion and chaos constantly were our traveling companions. Next came the run through the mountains. I am told there are 365 curves. We stopped counting as they came too fast. Boyer tried to maintain 40 MPH as he cut corners, assed on curves, honked his horn at blind corners, caused a pedestrian to drop her bowl of what ever she was carrying when we passed her too close. We almost wiped out two chickens, and more that I will not go into.
Finally, Jacmel, beautiful Jacmel, came into view and we arrive at the FOTCOH clinic safe, sound, hot and tired. Neva and Andreta had prepared a chicken with rice dinner for us and there was a cold bottle of Sauvignon Blanc and s few Prestige beers for us to unwind with. The only damage in our bags was ½ bag of plain M & M’s and a jar of jelly so we have some laundry to do tomorrow. I am disappointed that we lost so much time today that could have been used to prepare for tomorrows refill clinic but we will survive. It is just after 8 PM and I will close this, take a cool shower, and try to get some sleep. We are presently all on the third floor and running the air conditioner as it is extremely hot on both the second and third floors.
Thanks you for your prayers and support. Today was a very frustrating day but we continued on knowing that you are supporting what we are trying to accomplish for the Haitian people.

Monday, July 06, 2009

Maimi Nice

Wanted so bad to write Miami vice but you all know what a good person I am and have no vice in my life. LOL! I am enjoying the savings that Hotwire gave me at the Miami Wyndham hotel. Nice place, great meal, cold glass of wine, free internet, nice weather, looking out past pool to nice golf course. half mile from airport, 24 hour shuttle. I could enjoy this again. Sure whish I understood the local language. Help is Haitian but language is Spanish.

You gotta love it

Around 9 PM last night American Airlines called to tell us that due to mechanical difficulties, our 6 AM flight had been canceled. We are now going out at 10:55 AM and will arrive in Miami at 5:09 PM. That will require us to spend the night in Miami and catch the 6:45 AM flight on Tuesday for Haiti.
You gotta love it.

Saturday, July 04, 2009

July 4,2009 The Haiti blog resumes

It ‘s about 24 hours till I head for Haiti on another medical mission with the Friends of the Children of Haiti ( I will be going down about 1 week prior to the full team to try to solve some of the problems we are having with Haitian patients requiring refills. I hope the experiment works this time as it was not very successful in March of this year. We had expected about 50 patients per day and were lucky on one day to see 12. Perhaps we have learned from our mistakes. Only time will tell.
This team is composed of 23 volunteers. Thirteen are experienced and 10 have never been to Haiti. We have 9 men and 14 women. Darn, I was outnumbered in March also. There are three married couples, one engaged couple, one set of twins, one mother-son combo, and 3 mother daughter (or is it 4 when I count the twins?). According to our team leader, Sue Behrens, I will have 4 helpers in the pharmacy. That should prove interesting. There are a lot of young people on this mission so I may have to act my age for a change.
The team list is as follows:
Eric Behrens Sue Behrens
Ron Bush Dave Coleman
Caroline Cusack Katie Cusack
Peggy Gebhardt Scott Hultgren
Jan Lundeen Ed Monroe
Christina Myers Jailson Nascimento
Rebecca Novak Becky Reeser
Chris Robinson Sara Rusch
Anna Spika Mary Ellen Spika
Bruce Steiner Carol Steiner
Jon Wagner Sue Waltrip
Jordan Wilson.

Present plans call for us to leave Peoria on a 6 AM flight and arrive in Port-au-Prince around 4 PM on the same day. Bruce, Carol and I will leave Peoria on July 6 and the team will follow on July 13. We hope to be back in Peoria on July 24.

This looks to be another great team and a great experience. I’ll try to update the blog daily but the internet is so iffy from the clinic. Please keep us in your prayers.

Monday, March 30, 2009

Hello from Peoria

We survived the trip over the mountains from the clinic to the PAP airport although there was some scares along the way. As of today, Monday, I have heard from some of the team and all are at home or will soon be home safely.

On Thursday we finished seeing patients sometime around noon. Our team saw a record 2212 patients on this mission. I am so very proud of all of the team members. After lunch, some of the team headed for the beach while a few of us readied the clinic for inventory and clean up. When the team returned they worked hard and completed the inventory. I should tell you that we had extra items to count. You may recall that Lynn and I had an appointment at a nearby school on Tuesday to pick up supplies. That turned out to be 4 truck loads of merchandise. We retrieved one on Tuesday and one on Wednesday and Boyer finished the work for us so we could get back to seeing patients. Some of the boxes were infested with termites. I managed to get bitten by a spider as I carried some boxes. I have the list of supplies so that our medical supply people can go over them. I did discover a full case of pints of cough syrup with good dating and also some melatonin spray that made Dr Jo pleased. On Wednesday, I had a visit from my friend Nego Pierre Louis. He is a young youth minister in Haiti. He introduced me to Ellen, his Canadian bride to be. They were married on Friday so I could not attend the wedding. That would have been fun.
I did manage to drop my laptop on Thursday night as I was inputting the pharmacy inventory data and lost about 1 hour’s time. It is okay and I brought the hard copies home to key here at my desk.

Now for the Friday story: First of all, I awoke at 1:30 AM and realized that my passport was in the checked baggage on the first floor. I took my trusty flashlight and went to retrieve it. Dick woke up at about 2:15 to switch from EDH to the generator and I heard that. Around 3:15 AM, Dr Ron and I woke up to start our day. The two vans and the luggage truck showed up at 4:30 AM and we were off in the dark for PAP. I sat in the front seat of the vans. Our driver tailgated Boyer’s truck into the mountains in the rain. As we rode through the mountains you could tell that we were in a cloud also. We came upon several large dump trucks that were slowly moving up the mountain. It was very scary trying to get around these trucks who did not want to yield the right of way. We approached Port-au-Prince around 6 AM. The town was bursting with people and cars everywhere. Try driving 3 abreast on a two lane road. No problem, the Haitians say, I’ll just get in the oncoming lane and pass everyone. Early morning is the time for school children to go to their schools sow we noticed yellow shirted crossing guards everywhere. Sometimes we encountered police with shotguns. That was interesting. Blancs (us white Americans) were in very short supply. Our drivers got impatient so they took another route and encountered the same traffic jams we had just left. The highest speed that we drove was around 55 just outside of Port-u Prince. Our speed in the mountains never exceeded 40 mph over the 365 curves of that road.
When we arrived at the airport, our luggage truck was somehow right behind us. We got our bags and entered the airport with little problems. Margo did misplace her bag but Boyer retrieved it for her. American Airlines computers were down so we stood for 90 minutes before the line began to move. It did not take long for us, once the computers were up, to get our boarding passes and pass through immigration to the shops and food stands at the departure lounge. Barb Smith found that she had a scissors at the Haitian security check which had not been discovered during 3 TSA check in’s on her way to Haiti. It was confiscated. Our flight took off on time and the trip to Fort Lauderdale was smooth. There was hardly a line at immigration and our luggage came out quickly so we had lots of time for good byes at FLL before we went our separate ways. Dr Ron & Dr Jaime flew to Miami on a later plane from PAP and reported no problems that way.
So now we are all home with find memories of this mission. Thanks for reading this. I am going back in July so I’ll restart at that time. In the mean time “ Bonde Bene Ou.” “May God bless you.”


Friday, March 27, 2009

Friday March 27, 2009

It is 4 AM. We are about to board the bus for the Port Au Prince airport. 2212 patients served. Internet back on but no time to write. Pray for our safe journey home.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Thursday March 26, 2009

Good morning. You may be wondering where I have been on blogging. The past 48 hours have been extremely hectic and busy. We have seen loads of patients here at the clinic and I seem to be running around like a chicken with it’s head cut off. I just wish the chicken was named Sparky, our Haitian rooster, instead of Ed.
So I am going to cheat this morning and post the notes that Marlena Marie is posting to her Facebook. I hope to have some time this afternoon to add more to the blog. Today is our last half day and that is followed by inventory, clean up and packing for home. We will be transported by bus around 5 AM Friday morning so I will likely finish this blog from back home.

Marlena’s notes:

We had a family spend the night last night, we set up a bedroom in they GYN room. The little girl (I'm not sure the name or age, maybe 4 yrs old) came in with a fever and was having seizures, we did some kind of surgery on her leg, but I never heard what for ( I will update that for you as soon as I hear, or read it on another volunteers updates). Her fever was 104.7. Dr Nelson thought it probably wasn’t malaria. They treated her fever and gave her IV fluids, and antibiotics. I am not sure if they determined the exact problem or not, but before we ate dinner last night, her fever was down to 100.4. It reminds me of how important it is that we are here. Last year we got a little boy as one of our last patients and we didn’t have time to help him as much as we would have liked, because it was time to go, so we drove him and his mom into the hospital, with money and supplies. I never heard what happened. I hope we don’t get any last minute serious ones like that again, although "just in time" is better than just missing us, at least we could get them to the hospital, and hope they got the care they needed (often, even in the hospital, they don’t, that’s why we send them with all the supplies we think they will need). Hospitals don’t work the same here as they do back home. In Haiti, you have to bring in your own supplies, IVs, medicines, etc. The hospital supplies the bed you sleep in, and maybe the surgeon or doctor but not the food, or meds or bandages or IVs. The patient’s family has to find those things and find a way to afford them, and bring them in. Because of this many people don’t get the treatment they need, even if they are in the hospital. As long as you have lots of money it’s not so bad.

Ok, well that wasn’t much of an update, but it’s all I have time for. I got a little needed sleep last night, and planned to get up early today but slept in a bit too. So it’s off to work now.

Thank you everyone for your replies, well wishes, support. I love hearing that you are reading and enjoying the updates.


Lots of love yesterday. We saw 337 patients. A really bad case of Malaria, but Peggy and Dr Nelson fixed him up and sent him on his way after Tylenol, Ibuprofen (fever >103), IV fluids, Chloroquine, IV antibiotics and Typhoid treatment too I think, just to cover all the possibilities. I worked back and forth between provider and the Pharmacy again, which I like. Gives me a chance to move around a bit. I like to change things up. Pharmacy finished up around 6 o'clock today but it was going to rain anyhow so there was no hurry to get to the beach. In the morning Papa Dick had asked Lynn, our fearless leader, when standing out at crowd control where all the Haitian people are waiting to get into clinic, "What's your goal, how many do you want to see today?" Lynn's response? "All of them." Papa Dick, half laughing says, how long do you want to work today. "Through the night if we have to." Don'cha love her?! Unfortunately Papa Dick informed her that our interpreters won't stay through the night. So she set the goal at 300, which turned out to be a compromise between 300 and "all of them". It’s estimated we turned away about 100, most of who will be back today.

After clinic Dr Nelson stayed late and shared with us some of the signs and symptoms to tell us to suspect malaria versus typhoid and other tropical diseases. Very informative. Turns out the Haitians with very severe cases of Malaria have been responding very well, and quickly to IV fluids with B-complex (Vit B-12 specifically), and Chloroquine 600 given right away (then 2 more doses later). They are better within hours of that first dose, he said, and we witnessed that in the man Peggy took care of yesterday. He also told us that any pregnant women that come to his office get Chloroquine now, but there has to be education with it because the women used to take Chloroquine, in large single doses, to induce abortion. So the Drs have to explain to the women that the proper dose of Chloroquine prevents harm, and if anything does happen to the baby it’s not the fault of the Chloroquine. Dr Nelson said Malaria is increasing in epidemic proportions here, especially since after the hurricanes and flooding. Laurie Tinker shared with us some exciting news she had learned before coming on this trip; that there are allot of organizations, many in the Pacific Northwest, dedicating their research to finding a vaccine for Malaria. The Bill and Melinda Gates foundations has dedicated millions of dollars (or was it billions) to the cause. It is nice to know that while we are 15 or so volunteers here, fighting this on the front, there are masses of people behind us, back home supporting the cause and working to eliminate it.

We did get some bad news. Holly Melroe asked Dr Nelson about a little boy she'd taken care of, with a big round belly, who we sent to the hospital, St Michel in Jacmel. Dr Nelson told us he died the next day. It was Kwashiorkor, protein malnutrition. So many are at risk for malnutrition especially from protein, so much of their diet is rice, rice, and more rice. It is rewarding to be helping here, and I think we all feel like we make a difference, but sometimes its just so hard when we hear things like that. When you touch and comfort and hold them then you hear they died the next day. And when we run out of medicines, and formula, I keep thinking about my 4 pound baby, I don’t even want to ask. I keep telling myself, he's going to make it.

Tears are streaming down my face right now so I will switch to some great news.

We got a new Dr Yesterday. Dr Ron joined us on Sunday evening for our last week. He's from Ohio, and came for the last week (because his daughter got married right in the middle of clinic). He is a great asset to our team. He comes here a lot, working with other organizations also. We were so relieved when we unpacked his bags of supplies and found more baby formula.

Zech, my 16 year old son, worked in the Lab, essentially all by himself yesterday, doing blood sugars and other finger stick tests, hemoglobin’s, and testing urine. At our after dinner meeting Dr Jaime announced that Zech had made an interesting scientific observation; that the urines that were collected in the wax paper cups all were abnormal for biliruben and the ones collected in the little plastic cups were not. It’s so nice to see him evolving and growing while he is here, and so welcomed by the other volunteers. Everyone keeps telling me what a joy it is to have him here. Makes me proud.

And on that note, I think I will sign off, because I need to go shake him up a bit and get his sleepy butt off the couch. (He sleeps on the couch because his roommate snores, he says, "but don't tell him that mom". (I won't just all of you.)

Again, thank you all for your support, and positive thoughts and prayers.

Love from Cyvadier,


Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Tuesday March 24, 2009 early morning

Hello from the third floor balcony. The breeze is nice here this morning so I escaped from my usual computer station to enjoy the breeze, the rocking chair, and the sound and smell of the sea. It is very cloudy in the East so I doubt that I will see the sunrise. I think that I may have skipped a report to you. I just looked over my blog and fail to see a report for Sunday. I will blame it on the rum and coke that I drank at Ti Moulage.
So, on Sunday we had a very nice prayer service on the veranda. They even convinced me to lead a song. I tell you this team is nutty! After a great pancake an bacon breakfast that was cooked by our fearless leader, Lynn we relaxed until it was time to go to the beach. I got a new appreciation for Larry Shank. He taught me how to prepare a team for the trip to the beach and so we had the coolers filled, the opener attached to the cooler, some extra wash-ups, garbage bags, and cups for mixing the rum and cola. Thanks Uncle Lar!!! I did forget to bring some cigars. The road to Ti Moulage was much different than in years past. Just East of Cyvadier there is a large hole in the road. A few miles further on is an area where there must have been a lot of run off as the part of the road has washed away and it is about 3 car lengths of rough road to cross. I thought that was bad until we reached the next one and it was worse. Almost 75 % of the road near the Ti Moulage area has washed away leaving a narrow passage to the other side for one car or truck to pass through. There are several large boulders visible so you would know that it had to be a tremendous amount of water to cause those large stones to crash into the roadway and wash it away. There was no sign of large chunks of the blacktop road in the ditches. Having encountered little road damage on the route from PAP two weeks ago, and seeing no visible damage to the Cyvadier area, I was not really seeing the destruction that this area had during last year’s hurricane. The trip to the beach sure opened my eyes and my mind. How many people lost their lives in this area from that storm? Now I understand why it was so hard to get supplies from Cap Haitian in the North all the way down to Jacmel here in the Southern part of Haiti. The reports of many roads being washed out no make a lot more sense to me.
Okay, back to the beach we go. It was not very crowded again this trip. Shopping wise we had T Shirt lady of course. She had a new selection and one had J’aime on it so we got a bright yellow one for Jaime. I’ll tell you a bit more about that in a moment. Zech enjoyed going from vendor to vendor for his treasures. Dr Jo bargained with them in French. I had brought some ones and fives but did not have enough to make change for every one. And, yes, I did not shop but you expected that. I have more than enough Jacmel t shirts and art works at home. Dinner was excellent as usual. The lobster was cooked to perfection. Interestingly, the food costs for the meal were $ 13.00 per person and that, to me, is a real bargain for what we had. Yes, the fish heads were still attacked and if you flip over to my Picasa album you will see Jaime in his new T shirt doing a dance with a fish skeleton. Unfortunately the clouds moved in and we returned to the clinic in the rain. Thank goodness that we were in our swim wear. On the way back, however, we did something very American. We stopped at Joseph’s Cyvadier market for two loaves of bread for the next day’s lunch menu of grilled cheese sandwiches. I got to run in and have Joseph put the bread on FOTCOH’s tab. The rest of the evening was spent in socializing and yes, I stayed on the roof too late. The end of the story of Jaime’s t shirt is the dye around the neck area ran down and ruined the shirt, I think. I have not seen it since Tracy took it to try to wash out the stain. Speaking of laundry, this team has it done early and often has it stashed in one of the two girls rooms by the time I finish work. So I have to ask one of them to rescue my clothes. Thanks Tracy, I am sure the Jodi will not mind..
Breakfast time for me.

Monday, March 23, 2009

Saturday March 21, 2009

I am writing this off and on as I get some time this Sunday. This was an interesting day. At the start, Katie had bandaged a young man’s foot and elbow and sent him on to pharmacy. By the time we filled his order, he had managed to seat enough that the bandage on his elbow was coming loose. One of my interpreters, Belony, tried to help him and was going out the door with a roll of duct tape. I inquired what was going on and soon found myself binding the elbow with a roll of coban. It is all a part of our full service pharmacy here in Haiti. We are seeing several police at this clinic and they are bringing their families in to be treated. Many of them speak good English. Papa Dick and I have a meeting early some morning with a person who runs an orphanage here in the area and has given us supplies in the past. That should be interesting.
I got in trouble yesterday with my water gun by chasing Diedudone though where Dr Jo was trying to treat a wound. I am also in trouble as I have managed to break the pharmacy sink drain basket. The very small screw that holds it together finally rusted through so you need to be creative to get a sink full of water for cleaning up the pharmacy tools.
Our evening at the Cyvadier Plaz (notice that I have corrected the spelling now that I re-read the hotel’s signs) was a great time. The food was excellent and almost every one got what they ordered. The owner was very helpful and attentive. He set up a tab for each of us so that we would not have to bother the bar staff with change. I had taken a photo copy of the drink prices and translated the costs into US dollars. I had failed to add the tax and gratuity so he redid my list and everyone had a better idea of how much they were spending on drinks. He had engaged a band so we had even more fun dancing and laughing. BTW, my legs are sore-sometimes I am not to smart. We finished the evening on the roof gazing at the stars. That keeps the noise further away from Dick and Barb. This team is doing its best to wear our hosts out.
Here are about patient numbers to this point: Tuesday 245, Wednesday 271, Thursday 205, Friday 256, and Saturday 192.
I am posting a link to some of the pictures from team members: I hope that you enjoy them. I wish that I had taken the time to label them with more information. Marlena is writing a blog for FOTCOH each day and you can access it through the FOTCOH webpage ( Marlena is writing from more of medical perspective as she has floated from being a provider, to helping me in the pharmacy, to triage etc. She is a great multi tasker.
Someone needs to use this computer so I’ll close.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Friday March 20, 2009

Hello again from Haiti. I do hope you are also enjoying reading the blog on PNN. If you go to the FOTCOH website ( you will get a more medical perspective than I may be writing about at this location. I have enlisted the help of Holly Melroe to add more medical information to this blog. Message to Scott, I am putting Holly to work as requested. I have not found the rolling pin but there is one here so I am mindful of that.
Today we had a squirt gun war. Zech passes out several squirt guns and it got a little out of hand till our team leader, Lynn, stepped in to halt it. I found out that Zech had not taken his meds/ HMMMM! It looks like he and I will have to do a little talking soon.

Of course, in the middle of the day when we are the busiest so I had little time for him, Fortunately, Barb had rescued the soccer ball that I brought down for him, I had to stop and re-inflate it, of course. I did not break the needle this time as I have done in the past. His dad said that he had not been well but the clinic was closing and I kept getting pulled away so they left before I could get them seen. I have asked Jacky, one of the Haitians that work with us, to tell them to come back to be seen by a provider.

Did I tell you that we had a great time at Son-son’s last night? Apparently I missed the roof top after part here at the clinic. It is reported that it was complete with dancing to the voodoo music that was playing just outside the gates. I have added a few more pictures to the Google album on line.
Good morning- the joke is on me. It is now 5 AM Saturday and I never did get back to finishing this edition. I do not know why I am up so early on a Saturday as I know it was late when I finally went to bed. I spent some time late last light hunting the power switch for the pump to draw water up to the roof top tanks because they were empty. I looked all over the third floor balcony store rooms and could not locate it. Papa Dick tells me this morning that it is now outside by the air conditioner. Oh well, I tried.

I have no notes from Holly on the interesting medical cases to pass along yet. I did get a message from Scott, Holly’s husband, to beware of her rolling pin. Thanks, Scott, I have hidden the rolling pin that was in the kitchen, just in case.

Sadly, I must report that we are stating to get low on medications and still have several days of clinic left. I know we will run out of baby formula even though we brought down a lot of it. We are encouraging each mother to breast feed but the Haitian men will not support the women in that decision.

Today will be a half day of clinic. After we finish, 10 of the team will head to town on Son-son’s tap-tap for some sightseeing and shopping. The rest of us will go over to the Cyvadier Platz hotel around 4:20 PM for dinner and socializing. Speaking of shopping, we had an opportunity to shop just outside the gate late yesterday afternoon as Jacky had brought his paintings, wood carvings, and jewelry for our perusal.

The shower is open so I’ll post this and dash in before someone gets ahead of me. BTW, this team has really bonded well. There are no conflicts or personality issues, only smiles, hugs, jokes, and water gun fights.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Thursday March 19, 2009

Okay, where I do start this evening? I have to warn you that I have been fortified with more than a little Prestige, our local Haitian beer/ So you will understand if I have more than my usual 20 spelling and grammar errors.
We started the morning with a brilliant sunrise and some great oat meal. The team was ready for the day on time in spite of the fact that many of us stayed up talking in the lounge. I finally headed for bed at 10: 30 PM.
Today was another interesting day. We had Blancs (whites) as visitors today. Sara Wallace, a nurse midwife who is trying to establish the Olive Tree Project (www. Olivetreeproject/com). She brought in two children to be seen, one being a newborn. Along with her, she brought along a pharmacist by the name of Zelda Knause. Zelda is from Alberta, Canada. I tried to chain her to the pharmacy counter but the darn lady escaped. It was fun showing her around. My helpers today in the pharmacy were Peggy, Mickey, and Zech so we had lots of blonde jokes and blonde moments. Thank goodness that Marlena is not a blonde or I would be total crazy by day’s end. Roger gets a lot of laughs from our actions and words in the pharmacy. I have been teasing all of my helpers as they learn to “Moon” right there in the pharmacy. I am sure the Haitians do not understand what is going on and I’ll bet you are wondering also.
We sent Zech to town with Boyer today and he came back wanting some banana flavored soda, I tiled him I would get him one this evening at Son-son’s. Today was also a wine run into town as all of my wines have been consumed. Boyer came back with more wine, some Sauvignon Blanc and Merlot. I did stash some of the Cote du Rhone which I am drinking as I write this note. Some of the team is recovering from last night’s dinner, the Mexican bomb. However, I was asked to provide some Colace, Surfak, and Dulcolax as an after dinner treat. I will leave it to you to translate that remark.
BTW Boyer brought back some Cohiba cigars for $ 5.00 each. Eat your heart out cigar lovers.
This seems a bit disjointed. I swear it is not the wine as much as it is the interruptions as team members pass by where I am sitting and alternately squirt me with a squirt gun or just give me a hard time. For you who are counting, we saw 271 patients yesterday and 205 today. What does that mean, you might ask? Well we believe that we DID make a difference in those people’s lives and are damn proud of it.
Wile at Son-son’s, we again saw my pill packer, Diana and her beautiful 2 ½ month old baby, Karin. Many of the team held the baby and the baby did great in spite of all the blanc faces. I understand that Diana will get married some time next month.
Papa Dick commented that with a large number of females on this team that the sound level that they generate is much louder. I am on the third floor and it sounds like I am in the middle of the second floor where most of the team is relaxing.
Message to Scott: Holly says that I am to help her just like you would. What does that mean?
New pictures are posted on the Google site.

Wednesday March 18, 2009

Sunrise was blocked again by the clouds so I just sat in the rocker and watched the waves break on the rocks. I do need to report that Zech spent another night in the IKEA lounge. I can testify that the last clicks on his laptop came at about 3 AM because it is right outside my door. I am amazed at the battery on his laptop lasted that long,

Today was Mickey’s day to work with me in the pharmacy so I can now officially announce that Mickey has done drugs in Haiti. I hope her family understands. She did a great job and is scheduled to work with Zech and me again tomorrow. Some of the team to the beach this afternoon and they report that the swimming is great. The plan for tomorrow night is a visit to Son-Son’s for okra (Fried dough with hot peppers).
One of the retired Americans who live here in the area, Jean Frederique, visited the clinic as a patient today with his wife. I happened to go to Triage as his cell phone was going off so I confiscated it, much to the surprise of the crowd. Jean thought that I was his FOTCOH pharmacist friend Bob. He had forgotten my name so he got his first dose of my water gun. As he progressed from Triage to Lab, I managed to soak him several times. I even ventured out to the provider stations to catch him again. When he came to the pharmacy he wanted a medication that we do not stock. I told him to buy it in the USA next month when he goes there to see his USA doctor. It is on the Wal-Mart $ 4.00 list so I would not advise the May team to bring him the supply.
Dr Jo’s has a new sponsor child and I hope she will share the picture that was taken of that moment. Dr Jo did manage to catch me with my ball cap and red nose and I believe that she has sent it to me to be published.
We enjoyed another great lunch and dinner today. We are not suffering in the food category. Our team meeting ran a little longer than we would have liked but it is an important learning time for all involved. I am in the process of loading pictures to my Google account and I hope that this link will help you. Here is the link: You will see pictures from this mission and several others, I hope you enjoy them all.
It is pouring down rain, yet we still have the internet. BTW, Linda Damery announced the bith today of another grandchild and all are doing well. Congratulations to Linda!
The new clock in the pharmacy works well. Thanks Gary, Jess & Sharon. However, I do NOT have any dropper bottles here. It is hard to dispense the Lugol's solution.
Okay, so the rain has slowed down the internet connection enough that I am headed for bed and will post this in the morning.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Tuesday March 17, 2009 9 PM

Happy Saint Patrick’s day. One of today’s funnies was a Haitian with a Green Saint Patrick’s day shirt on who had no idea that it was Saint Patrick’s day let alone who Saint Patrick ever existed. We celebrated the day with a taste of Irish whiskey courtesy of Katie Koehler. Thank you Katie!
I have a message for Tracy Higdon’s friends and family. She has some problems with her email and the passwords. So she was unable to get on to her Comcast account or her Google accounts, and that darn Facebook would not cooperate either. I convinced her to use my email to send to her partner and let her know the problem. I told her to use her name as the subject so her partner would not send the message to the trash. Her partner helped her with the proper sign on and she is now back in business.
Next I want to send a message to Sue Behrens about Silver Nitrate. The can that was packed in the Peoria bags come open. I now have permanent black stains on my hands and on my good FOTCOH shirt from unpacking them in a warm moist atmosphere. Next time, please put the %%&&$$ things in a baggie.
We had lots of babies today. Two of our failure to thrive babies on Medika Mamba showed up. Incidentally, we managed to see 249 patients on our first day. We ended the day with 33 of the patients who were supposed to be here last week for their refills. Papa Dick gave them an angry lecture about responsibility.
First day problems were relatively minor and I had to tease our leader, Lynn that the team meeting went on too long. We did not sit down to dinner till after 7 PM. I am pleased to report that Zach did great working in the pharmacy. His mother, Marlena, was also helping me today in the pharmacy. Tomorrow, poor Mickey has to put up with me. Speaking of that, I may get strangled or murdered by Dr Jo. I have been teasing her and tonight she threw a pen at me when I again brought up a “moving” subject. Speaking of Dr Jo, she is a great physician and I am so pleased that she is a part of this team. I do hope she stays involved in FOTCOH as she will be a valuable asset.
We are out of Beclometasone inhalers but saved by the Triamcinolone inhalers that the upcoming May team sent down for us. BTW, it seems that we have re-established a working agreement with Lynx air for air freight shipments.
Other helpers in the pharmacy today were Dr Jo, Peggy, and Linda. Others tried to help but it gets too crowded and too hectic for more than 6 people at one time in that small of a space.
I hear the stars are quite visible on the roof this evening, all of the other nights we have had too many clouds. It will be interesting for the folks from Washington to be about to see the Southern Cross in the sky. So I’ll close to do a bit of star gazing.

I am still hoping for more comments. Come on folks, let me hear from you!

Let me include some photos from Holly Melroe’s camera


Monday evening March 16, 2009

It is late. We are just finished with a long team meeting and I am very tired. Team arrived early today. Lynn finally arrived around 7 PM. Please be sure to ask Lynn to tell you where her passport is at the present time. Is it at home? Did she leave it on her last flight? Did she sell it to some Haitian?? Where is it at?

This looks to be another great team. While we will miss John, David, Liz, Rene and others, we will make do with the great group that we have. I have managed to tease each and every one of them.

I am fielding questions now from providers so I will save this for tomorrow.

Hello again. The sun is about to rise but the clouds may not give me the view that I am hoping for this morning. Zech is sleeping in the Ikea lounge and was there all night. I have no idea why he chose the lounge to sleep in. I was not the last one to bed. I know Marlena, Maureen, Zech, and Lynn were all on computers when I headed for the bed. We did manage to get Maureen up on Facebook.

The team had a great experience at PAP airport. Only two were stopped. Maureen’s bag was opened and the customs agent asked her about the medication Topamax. When she answered it must have been what he wanted to hear so he closed her bag and sent her along. It seems that Boyer had talked with this agent and his child was on Topamax so Maureen may have been set up by Boyer. Laurie was also stopped and asked to open her bag, which was another team member’s. Inside was a baggie with personal items including a bottle of Aleve. Laurie explained that it was a pain medicine. The agent asked her to take one so she complied. With that act, he sent her on. It is hard to figure. Also at PAP airport they encountered the smaller line at Immigration and got their bags in record time. They arrived at the small airport, caught the Tortug flight and were in Jacmel before 11:15 AM.

After lunch the luggage truck arrived and the team got all of the items put away. There were lots of medical supplies so some adjusting had to be made to the hallway storage of the items. That is a small area so, after I changed the light bulb, the rest of the team adjourned to the second floor balcony to sample the Prestige. I taught Tracy how to make coffee and she is now enjoying her Haitian Bleu. I teased her that with all of the designer coffee she can get in Seattle, they do not hold a candle to this blend.

We have quite a crowd outside waiting to be seen. It rained around 8 PM and was another heavy downpour. It hurts to think that those who are waiting outside in the rain have n- protection from the elements. I did notice that Luloon has her cooking fire going at her Haitian food court station.

Other team members are wanting the computer so I’ll wrap this up and post. Please know that we are all well, safe, and so happy to be serving the Haitian people.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Sunday March 15, 2009 late evening

Hello. It is late and we must arise early in the morning. Seems our team leader, Lynn, has encountered some problems and we will need to help her solve them. We have spoken with her twice already this evening and plan to call her as soon as we get up in the morning. I do not want you to worry. Lynn is okay, safe and sound but separated from the rest of the team. I will fill in details later.

We saw about 15 patients today out of the 34 expected. We saw an additional one from the January team. You may have read that they treated a lady who had been burned in a fire and set her off to the hospital here in Jacmel. She was never treated there so we had to debride and dress the burn again today. We are having her return this clinic for more treatment. I think she still had on the original dressing from January.

We awoke this morning and traveled to 7:00 AM Mass at Sacre Coeur. We had two guests, Desaline and Renel along. Mass was in Kreole so I only understood a word or two. It also lasted 1 hour and 35 minutes but was filled with singing and music. There were lots of women, a few men, and several children at the Mass. After Mass we came back to the clinic and had breakfast and prepared for the Noon patient arrivals. We were finished by 3 PM. Dr Nelson was a little late getting here. Roger, my pharmacy helper, had to play surgical technician for Dr Nelson and his nurse. Roger came dressed in a clean white shit. Beige slacks, his best shoes and a yellow tie. I was afraid he would get all bloodied but I did not see a drop of blood or speck of dirt on his shirt afterwards. I teased him about his new job.

We had a quiet afternoon and I got in a short nap before dinner. We enjoyed a quiet dinner and lots of conversation. I called Donna around 7 and that was the day’s highlight. It seems that all is well at home and that is reassuring.

I plan to discuss the experiment I came here to perform tomorrow morning as we await the arrival of the rest of the team so I’ll make this short tonight.
I would sure appreciate any comments on this that you would care to share.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Saturday evening March 14, 2009

We are just back from dinner at Cyvadier Platz hotel. We needed to check it out and make our reservations for next Saturday evening. The cove was filled with a lot of water and there is very little beach area this year. There were several swimmers in the cove and a couple in the hotel pool. We met the midwife who accompanied Tiffany Olson, MD with the January team at the hotel. At Son-son’s we also met with an OB-GYN from Port-au-Prince who wants to help (?) us to get registered as an NGO in Haiti in about 39 days. A further meeting was set up with him for after the clinic. We need to check out his story. The experienced FOTCOH people will understand that. We also stopped at Joseph’s Cyvadier market. Attention: he has Doritos, Ramen Noodles, Prego sauce, and lots of rum. No wine selection however. Darn!

So far the experiment that I came here to do has mixed results. The problem is that the Haitians are not showing up in the numbers that we expected. On day 1 we had to refer 3 patients back to this clinic for follow up and another one again today. I am pleased to report tha those who have come to the clinic were stable in their Diabetes and Hypertension but Dr Nelson picked up on other medical problems. Some of which we could treat, like the malaria patient today, some need more examination by our providers.

Tomorrow we may also have a problem with patients as it is Sunday so we expect that instead of 30 it may be closer to 10 patients who come to us. Dick says Mass starts at 7 AM and we will have two more Haitians with us at Mass. I’d better get to bed early. Ha! I enjoyed the rain overnight. It came in waves at about 15 minute intervals. Yes, I did not sleep well last night but I still feel rested.

The pharmacy will be ready to open when the team arrives. We are days ahead on the pill packing. I gave the girls tomorrow off because we are so far ahead. Again, I must thank the January team for a well organized pharmacy to come into.

BTW, I think I told the team that I lost the lizard to the floor cleaners. I’ll have to look for another item for practical jokes. I’ve been working to start getting the lab set up but I have not done that before so I am proceeding slowly.

Dr Nelson and I had a nice talk today about patient education in Haiti, patient compliance in Haiti, our new packaging to protect the medications, and working through the interpreters. We decided that he should address the interpreters and maybe all of the Haitian workers about that and some other issues on Tuesday. We continue to tease each other every chance we get but we do work well together and that is a good thing. He dose not get mad when I question a dose or a therapy. I gave him my printed 2009 Medical Guidelines last night and he had questions for me about some of the pages so I believe that he read it. I also sent it to him in a pdf file for his computer. He is now a resident physician at St. Michel hospital and he has privileges there now. Sadly, the failure to thrive Medika Mamba baby that we sent to the hospital never arrived. Now we will need to see if we can find the baby while the team is here.

I know I am missing the March madness in Peoria and more importantly, I am missing my family. I did get a message from my son so I do have a news link there. I see on the PJStar website that the Illinois river is flooding the downtown area and that is no surprise with the rain we had last weekend. I am anxious for the rest of the team to arrive next Monday. It should be a great experience. It is time to go out on the deck and check on the stars if the cloud cover has dissipated. Papa Dick just told me that it smells fishy out there. I also hear the Saturday night Voodoo drums on the North side so I’ll climb on the roof for a better view. Whew, I just caught a whiff of the breeze from the South and Dick is very right.
Till tomorrow

Friday, March 13, 2009

Friday Afternoon March 13,2009

I am happy to report that so far today the Friday the 13th bug has not arrived in Cyvadier. We had a good day and about 20 of the expected 30 patients showed up. I am not sure about the 20 but it was somewhere in that area. We also had one from yesterday and one from tomorrow show up at the gate.
Today was teaching day. I realized that we had not given Dr Nelson the current medical guidelines so when he when outside of them I could only holler at him a little but that was fun to do in front of his nurse, his best friend Boyer, and Papa Dick. Actually he is doing great, as I suspected he would. Roger is also doing a great job and my pill packers are getting us ready for next week. Life is good. I am sitting here with Prestige in hand and reprinting the medical guidelines as I gave my copy to Dr Nelson with instructions that there would be a quiz hen he shows up at 10 AM tomorrow. Many of the patients come into the clinic around 8 AM expecting to be seen.
Tomorrow is bug killer day. Roger, my main man in the pharmacy is also the FOTCOH exterminator so I asked him to spray the nest of mosquitoes that are in the pill packing room. That is all that I have encountered so far. My dead lizard got swept up by the girls before I could trap it into a baggie for later use. Darn the luck!
Last evening, I cleaned up Dick’s laptop computer and tonight it is the desktops’ turn. I did get to sleep around 9PM and slept till 6 AM. I must have been tired!
The welder came today to change the lock on the entrance to the pharmacy waiting area. There is no such thing as a locksmith so he had to take off the old lock and replace it with one that Boyer purchased in town.
The girls, Neva and Andreta, are saving the prunes for the team. That is enough said about that.
Fortunately, I have no last minute requests today. We did worry about the new print cartridges that Barb brought down but they fit the printer as advertised.
Brother Nego Louis, a youth minister friend from Jacmel, came to the clinic and I was able to spend 1 hour visiting with him. He may bring his bride to be back on Sunday so that I can meet her. We walked around the grounds, out on the rocks and back to the crowd control area and had a great time catching up with each other since we last saw each other in Florida in November. He tells me that the word is out that we are already open to see patients. I advised him that was not true. We did have two people show up at the gate today hoping to be seen by Dr Nelson.
I am getting anxious for the team’s arrival. I told them that they should NOT wear their FOTCOH t-shirts when they land in PAP. We suspect that the T shirts are a red flag to the customs people that we are carrying drugs so it may be better to blend in a little more. We have been unable to get the letter from the Haitian Department of Health to allow us to bring in drugs as the person who was to write the letter is recovering from a gunshot wound. We did get a letter however, from the Jacmel Health Department and hopefully that will do on Monday at the PAP airport.
We had a visit last evening from a dentist from Jacmel who wants to treat our patients. I asked him for more information so I can pass it along to our FOTCOH dentists. We told him that we could only pay him VERY little.
On the local front, Belony showed up today to work even though he was not invited. Big surprise there. Diana, one of my pill packers is too busy with her new baby to work and Binotte is reported to be very sick but I have no idea what the diagnosis is. So I have anew person, Dessalines to help Suzette and occasionally Jacky. Dessaline is about 20 years old and still attending school. She is the sponsored child of someone but I did not look up who that might be yet.
I did discover that I can get on to FOTCOH’s accounting from here and I am able to track what is going on back home so a word to the wise that I am watching you! Ha!
It is time to end this, transmit it out, grab another Prestige or glass of wine and watch the sunset over Jacmel bay.
Please know that you are never far from my thoughts and prayers.