Market Day

Standard disclaimer: no time to proofread. no time to write well or even coherently.

Today was a slow day at the clinic. There’s a market a couple Saturdays a month a few towns over. So everyone in Ranquitte was there. Or watching Saturday morning cartoons. Whatever the reason, patient numbers were way down. And it ended up being a damn good thing.

The girl with the septic knee didn’t come back for her antibiotics today. So we figured out where she lived with the help of the locals and went to give her antibiotics. She feels better subjectively, she’s more active. But her ability to walk/crutch is decreasing with each day that passes. The clock is ticking and there’s not much more we could do for her with what we had available. When we first saw her, our initial plan was to send her to the hospital. But she had already been and even though there is nationalized health care in Haiti, it’s much like the nationalized health care in other third world countries. It doesn’t get distributed equally. So poor people, those who need it most, often go without care. Our patient is not rich. Our patient didn’t get the care she needed. That’s why we tried to treat her instead of immediately sending her to the state hospital.

But it’s not working as well as hoped. So a contingency plan was formed. Everything fell into place to make it work. Peacework Medical is sending her, her mother, and one of the trusted translators to a hospital about 4 hours away. It’s sort of a legendary hospital. And it’s not known to exhibit the same type of discretion the state hospitals do. If you’ve ever read Mountains Beyond Mountains, then you know the one I’m talking about. The journey there is difficult for a person in her condition. Same roads we came in on. And until today, the translator accompanying them was stuck in Port au Prince waiting for the bags of medicine United had misplaced. Even in the US, with all kinds of technology, her condition would be incredibly challenging if allowed to progress to where it was when she first came to the clinic. But she has an indomitable will. She’s made it this far. So there’s still tremendous optimism that she’ll beat this infection. And with the translator there, we can get updates. If you handed me cash back in the US and told me to make sure it goes to something that matters in Haiti, and you know who you are, this is where it went.

In a place like Haiti, orchestrating something like this is difficult. And if it weren’t for the slow clinic day, there would have been far fewer resources to devote to this pursuit. The team still would have gotten it done. Because what else could we do? But it would have been far more difficult. And that’s not all…

There was a patient with feet covered in burns.

A patient with an infection that made a 1/2 deep hole in his leg and a constant entourage of a dozen flies. Until Josh got close to him. At which point they all knew they had found a new, hairier home.

A lady who had a stick in her eye (that actually perforated her sclera and caused her eyeball to bleed). It was a stick. Not a little fleck of wood.

And the house call patient that probably has polio and can’t walk anymore. His sister saw the people with scrubs walking in and out of the house of the girl with the septic knee and flagged us down. He’ll get a walker.

So we got lucky and there was a market a few towns over today. Good for us. And good for a few other people. The funny thing is, at the start of the day we were griping about how boring the day was going to be. Apparently Haiti operates under the same paradigm as American emergency departments. If someone comments on how quiet it is, things will immediately get interesting.