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

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.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Thursday March 12, 2009

It is 4 PM and we are done for the day. Only 10 of the 30 patients showed up today and we will have to see 3 of the 10 again next week for vaginal bleeding problems. I suspect they sat on the benches and discussed the diagnosis of the day.
That darn Sue Behrens, she insisted that I purchase two 2032 batteries for the HBGM meters and I never took the time. Well today, I could only get one of the six batteries to work. I hate it when I am so wrong. Marlena will bring more for this clinic. Thanks Marlena for the offer. Ed’s face is quite red. I am very mad at myself.

Other than that, things went smooth. Roger had been given no warning that we neede him but he was available. Yeah. Suzette came early to start packing pills and she is a great help. I was given another helper today but I have forgotten her name already. She is in school and will only come in the afternoon. She giggles a lot but works efficiently so I do not mind the giggles.
Th lock on the gate at the front door of the entrance to the pharmacy is jammed so all patients have to try to find their way in and out of the clinic.
Dr Nelson brought along a nurse from Dr Martinez hospital to assist him today. I feel like she was scared to death of us. Oh well!!

Unfortunately we discovered some problems on the dossiers from the January team but it will make for a good teaching lesson for our first full team meeting here.

I discovered a dead lizard in the lab. Now, if I were a nasty practical joker, I would place in in someone’s bed who made my life miserable during one of our mission days. Perhaps I should start a poll and see how many people favor the idea.

Not much more to report today so I’ll close and post this. Thanks for the comments from my readers.

March 2009 post from Haiti # 1

Hello from Haiti March 2009

Wednesday March 11, 2009. After a 2 hour nap, I am awake and anxious to start blogging.
I need to start yesterday on the way to the Greater Peoria airport. Normally I drive a car out to the airport and leave it because when I return to Peoria from Haiti it is often very late at night and I hate to have anyone sit out there to bring me to my home. One of our cars chose not to cooperate with me and the inside driver’s door handle broke so it went into the shop on Monday and was not repaired by the time I needed to leave on Tuesday. My patient and loving wife, Donna, drove me to the airport. However, we had to make two stops along the way. I had a bank deposit for FOTCOH to drop off and some plastic totes from Alwan Pharmacy to return along the way. We were about to pull into the bank drive-up window when my cell phone rang. It was an automated call from American Airlines telling me that my flight from Peoria to Dallas-Forth Worth had been canceled and that I was to call the 800 number to rebook the flight. So I called American Airlines from the bank parking lot and the agent told me that the flight was still on. What a strange beginning of a Haiti trip, I thought. When we arrived at the airport we found that is under construction so I parked near the arrivals area on the lower level, and in the rain, dragged the two 50 lb bags of medications, food and supplies along with my carry-on bag and my brief case into the lower level of the terminal. Donna parked the car and helped me drag the bags to the American Airlines ticket counter. I was expecting that my flight would be cancelled and I was mentally trying to figure out how I would get to Fort Lauderdale by early Wednesday morning to make my connecting flight to Port-Au-Prince. The ticket agent assured me that the flight was still going out and that the airplane was inbound from DFW and about to land in Peoria. So, without weighing my two bags, she checked me in and handed the bags over to the TSA agent for security check. Darn, I could have maybe packed 55 lbs in stead of 50 lbs in each bag. Donna agreed to sit with me for awhile as the security checkpoint was closed. As we sat there, a large number of people passed by and all headed for the airport snack bar. Wow, I thought, that is unusual for that many people to get off a plane and head for the snack bar instead of their cars. I learned form overhearing on of the flight attendants very loud cell phone conversation that the plane had been bound for Cedar Rapids, Iowa and had to divert to Peoria due to bad weather in Cedar Rapids. Here was another strange occurrence which made me wonder what was in store for me that day. The checkpoint opened after awhile I kissed Donna goodbye and proceeded to the gate area. Our flight came in on time and we left Peoria right on time. The flight to Dallas was smooth and a tail wind got us into DFW early. We landed at the A terminal and my flight left from the C terminal. The Sky Rail system made it easy to move from place to place so I found a food court and ate a wrap sandwich for a quick supper. The plane to Fort Lauderdale left on time and I was seated in the middle of the plane. Most of the surrounding passengers were headed to Fort Lauderdale to get on a cruise ship except the lady in front of me with two small children. One of the children was a baby girl of about two and the second was another girl about 5 years old. The mother was busy with the smaller child so the older girl and I played a peek-a-boo game all the way to DFW. It made this Grandpa happy and kept the child laughing and giggling all the way there.
American Airlines had checked my two bags all the way to Haiti so when I got off the plane I headed for the courtesy phone to call the Day’s Inn where I had a reservation so that the shuttle would pick me up. I spoke with a woman named Diane who advised me to go to the lower level of Terminal 4 and wait by the second blue sign. Cool, I thought, that is a short walk outside so I walked to the place she described and waited and waited. After ½ hour I went back in and called but got no answer at the hotel. That was not a good sign so I waited 5 minutes and tried the number again. There was still no answer. After another several tries and 10 minutes later, I spoke with a man who told me that I was waiting in the wrong area and that I was to proceed back towards terminal 3 where the bus to the parking garage kept coming and going from. I arrived at that area and in about another ½ hour here came my shuttle. So, to my team mates who might also be staying at that hotel, which I had advised them had a late night-early morning shuttle, here is a bit of advice. You can call 954-463-2500 which is the hotel phone number and ask to be transferred to extension 158. That is the cell phone of the shuttle driver who will give you clear and exact directions as to how to find where she can pick you up. If you should arrive at Terminals 1 or 2, and I know some of you are coming in on Southwest Airlines which is located in those terminals, the shuttle driver will tell you where the pick up point is for those terminals. I was tired when I reached the hotel and I was given room 404. That meant that I had to drag my bags up 3 flights of stairs. No problem I thought, until I reached the last landing and realized that this stair climbing with luggage is work.
The room was okay but quite cool so I shut down the air conditioner and prepared for bed. Here is another tip for anyone using that hotel: Ask for an inside room. My room fronted Broward Avenue at I-95 and the traffic noise all night long was terrible. I hardly slept a wink all night long and had not slept well at home the night before. I got up around 5 PM, showered and read the Peoria Journal Star on-line addition to pass the time. I had hoped that the free breakfast bar would be open before I caught the 7:00 AM return shuttle to the airport but I was informed that it would not be open till 7:00 and that was the final answer. I had the same shuttle driver that brought me there last night and we had pleasant conversation back to the airport and she was kind enough to give me the telephone information that I passed along a little bit ago.
I had my boarding pass and proceeded to security. That was a joke. It was filled with Haitians and none of the TSA agents spoke Kreole. If you have never traveled with Haitians, you may not understand why that is a problem. First of all they all had carry-on’s that exceeded the requirements. Second, many of the carry-ons were metal cooking pots or store boxes that were taped together with duct tape. The man in front of me had a suitcase filled with cell phones. Try to get a Haitian to follow directions in English when all they understand is Kreole and you will quickly see what I am trying to convey. And then there was the mother with two small children. The oldest, around 4 years, kept wandering out of line. The mother could not find the boarding passes that she had shown another agent just moments before. She had problems getting the children to remove their shoes. There was, of course, only one line and the TSA agents were grumbling that only ½ of their fellow workers had bothered to show up for work this morning. I estimate that it took almost ½ hour to get through the security checkpoint. Lots of people got frustrated but there was nothing anyone could do about it except laugh at the comedic scene.
After I passed the security checkpoint I headed for the nearest coffee vendor and found, to my delight, that Dick and Barb were there enjoying their morning coffee. We had a nice visit and proceeded to the gate area.
When I made my reservation, I assumed that the plane would be an Airbus 300 like the airline flies from Miami. I was wrong. The plane was a 737 so my idea of sitting in the rear of the plane and exiting the rear of the plane was foiled as there would be no rear exiting on this flight. I sat in row 27 of 30 on the aisle seat and waited for my seat mates. I’ll bet that you can guess who they were. The winner is: the mother with the two small girls. Oh my, what was I in for on this flight. This story is getting long and I have lots more to tell so I’ll just say it was a pleasant flight. I was entertained by Dora the Explorer, helped the lady to fill out her paperwork for immigration and customs, and helped her get the kids off the plane and into the terminal for the immigration line. I never saw her after that.
The immigration line was surprisingly short. The agents were efficient and prompt and when I arrived at baggage claim, the bags were coming off the plane. I have discovered over the years that the Haitian baggage handlers could care less about getting tour bags to you and it seems to take forever for them to unload cart after cart of bags. Of course, mine were on the last cart. Dick had rented two carts for my bags and those of his and Barb’s. Boyer, ou main man, arrived at baggage claim and we loaded my two bags on the bottom of the cart because they contained the medications and placed the bags of Dick and Barb containing food items on top in case customs stopped us for a bag search. That is another tip for my team mates and here is and additional tip. DO NOT wear your FOTCOH T Shirt when coming into Port-au-Prince. We believe that the shirts are a RED FLAG to the customs people that we are likely carrying drugs. So wear something that blends in with the crowd and that may get you a free pass to go like we had yesterday. We sailed out of the customs area to smiles and hand shakes. Be prepared to surrender your white customs forms to the clerk. Ours was busy talking with another and did not even glance at mine. Also be prepared to surrender your baggage claim tags to the agent who merely grabs them and does no checking whatsoever.
Boyer had driven over in the Toyota truck and Dick insisted that I ride up front so I could see more on our trip over the mountains. It was some trip. For those of you who have ridden with Boyer, you will understand. He drives a break neck speed, cuts corners short, passes cars with a short safety margin, and so on. There are 365 curves on the 81 Km trip from Port-au-Prince to Jacmel and my head snapped at each turn and my stomach churned inside as we raced on. I was very happy to see Jacmel bay from the top of the mountain road. We stopped at St. Cyr pharmacy to pick up some wine. So, dear Holly, they did not have a pinot grigio, only Sauvignon Blanc and a Chardonnay. I did find some Cote Du Rhone myself and a Rose wine for you. By the way, Holly was the only person who informed me of their wine preference but now you know our limited wine selection here in Jacmel.
It was well passed lunch time by now and Dick chose to have lunch at the Hotel Cap Lamondue which is one of my favorites. When we arrived we encountered a large party of Blancs who did not seem overly friendly. We greeted the owner, a nice lady that I have met before and sat down at the table. There had been no time for a rest room break so I took off in search of the men’s room. When I passed the group I noticed that many of them had on Notre Dame University apparel and wondered about that. In a short while, one of the group came over and introduced himself. His name is Mark Walsh MD and his group was in Leogane on a fact finding mission for the University. He explained that Father Tom Streit, CSC is w world renowned scientist who received a $ 5 million dollar grant from the Bill Gates Foundation to eradicate Filarias in Haiti. Dr Mark is an emergency room physician in South Bend and soon we met several other doctors from the team. We were informed, much to our dismay, that the 250 bed hospital in Leogane had closed and the ND group was searching for a place to work out of. And so, perhaps we have stumbled on another group who can work with us, provide us with medical volunteers, and maybe tap into additional sources of donations. We encouraged them to follow us out to the clinic and they though that was a good idea. It was spoiled by the fact that it took forever to get their food and made us wait also for our order so it was a long lunch break and the group needed to return to Leogane. Yes, for my Peoria readers, many of the group spoke highly of our own Bishop Jenky. So, my friend Bruce Steiner, please be sure to contact out good Bishop and pass along the greetings. Please!
Ah, at last we arrived at the clinic. Things are in great shape. I have managed to put away most of the shipments that have arrived. The pharmacy is in the best condition I have ever seen so a hearty thank you goes out to Gary Alwan, Jess Streif, and Sharon Doran for a job well done. Things are clearly marked, neatly organized, and some of the medications I will need right away appear to be packaged and ready to dispense. Thank you, thank you, and thank you. Barb, Dick and I worked till about 6:30 and stopped for a Prestige on the third floor balcony to watch the daylight end. We sat on the East side and enjoyed the slight breeze, the sound of the goats, the view of the white cranes and a brown pelican, the fires on the mountain, and the taste of the Prestige beer.
We ate so late a lunch and so heavy a meal we decided that we could do without supper. Incidentally, I had the Lambi Kreole which was excellent along with rice and beans, no pomme frites (French fries) for lunch.

So, here I sit hunting and pecking my way through my adventures and I am getting sleepy so I’ll close and post this in the morning. I do need to thank you for reading this. Even more important, I need to thank you all for your prayers, your support, and your encouragement. All of those drive me to do this work for the Haitian people.

Sunday, March 08, 2009

March Mission to Haiti 2009

Hello again. It is almost time for me to leave for Haiti on another exciting medical mission. This is my ninth trip with The Friends of the Children of Haiti. I am almost all packed and ready to go. We have gathered all of the supplies, medications, baby formula, children’s vitamins, some nutritional supplements, and other assorted odds and ends. We have them packed in bags and totes and each one weighs around 50 lbs. Members of the team will transport them as checked baggage on the airplane.

This mission team is made up of members from Washington State, Minnesota, Illinois, and Ohio. Here is a list:

Team Leader: Lynn Garber RN, Washington State Experienced
Assistant team leader: Katie Koehler RN, Illinois Experienced
Assistant team leader: Laurie Tinker RN, Washington State Experienced
Maureen Barta RN, Washington State Experienced
Ron Bush MD, Ohio on his second FOTCOH mission (January 2009)
Laurie (Mickey) Byrne RN, Washington State First FOTCOH mission
Jaime Cercone MD, Illinois First FOTCOH mission
Zechariah Crutchfield, Washington State First FOTCOH mission non medical
Linda Damery RN, Illinois Experienced
Peggy Grebstad RN, Washington State First FOTCOH Mission First mission
JoAnna Forwell Nd, Washington State First FOTCOH Mission
Tracy Higdon, Washington State Washington State First FOTCOH Mission
Marlena Marie RN, Washington State Her second FOTCH trip (September 2008)
Nancy Holly Melroe RN, Minnesota First FOTCOH Mission
Ed Monroe R.PH, Illinois FOTCOH Mission
Barb Smith RN, Washington State First FOTCOH Mission
Margo Spence RN, Washington State First FOTCOH Mission

This team has endured In spite of the many road blocks that were encountered. Late last fall, Maureen’s husband expired after a long battle with cancer. Earlier this year, Lynn Garber’s husbands passed away from a liver problem. We had a physician for the team, then lost a physician, then gained a physician and now I believe that we are stabilized. We have a physician from Ohio who has worked in our clinic once at last months’ clinic. I am working part time due to his family’s plans. The team was also short of funds needed to purchase the medications’ and supplies but a very generously sponsor agreed to cover the approximately $ 20,000.00 that the clinic costs which is over and above the proximately $12,500 that is paid for by the team member. Each team member from Illinois and the one from Ohio will be carrying down with them as checked baggage.
Some of this could have been avoided but the medications were late getting here as I was out of touch while flying in an airplane.
There are likely some more stories I could tell but I will try to bring some joy into future blogs as I intend to tease the team. As you can see we have only two non medical members. Also we have 9 first timers and 2 second timers so this year should be interesting.
I am travelling ahead of the team in order to try a new experiment. I plan to provide refill medications for 150 patients prior to the full clinic. This is being done so that the medical providers will not be bogged down with refill only patients and can spend more time treating the sicker patient population. This team will also be the first to view the results of the Medika Mamba nutritional supplement on the failure to thrive infants that were started on the program in January. Early reports indicate that the supplement is doing as expected and the babies are gaining weight. We hope that we can obtain additional donations of money in order to expand that program to more of the starving Haitian children. The product is made in Cap Haitian and it could be made in Cyvadier if we are able to grow the program here at FOTCOH. Medika Mamba is a product that contains peanut butter, powdered milk, vegetable oil, and vitamins. I will have more information to pass along in the next few days about Medika Mamba.
The January team reported that many of the Haitians complained of food shortages. I expect that we will encounter even more hunger as I understand that food prices are extremely high and the price of gasoline has risen even higher than it was last year.