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.
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,