Haiti Post #2

Clinic is in full force. Each day that goes by, we get people from farther outside of Ranquitte coming in, so by day 9, we’ll likely have people from all over the region. We’ve been treating a lot of headaches, sore backs, some infections, and even seeing some healthy people. Haitians appreciate a check-up as much as the next guy, so if we can put some minds at ease, then that’s a win.

Unlike back home, we’re a bit more flexible in our care.  We got word of a patient that needed a visit at home. We heard that the patient had “gone crazy” about 5 years ago and now had little energy. He was weak all over and unable to work like he used to. A few of us headed to the house, a small mud home with a tin roof, and met the patient and his family. After a few minutes of talking to his wife (he was unable/unwilling to answer), we recognized him from that afternoon and were already treating him for diarrhea and a UTI. Further discussion with the family revealed that his primary problem was most likely caused by a disease process, likely HIV, leading to swelling in the brain. We don’t carry HIV testing kits and definitely not the drugs for it, but we were able to give them a referral to one of the local resources. It’s a help, but not nearly what we’d do in the US.

Another house call we went on today, was for a 67 year old woman, unable to walk for 3 months. I went with a Dr. and PA, who were able to rule out out a stroke, but suspected a hip or femur fracture. One of the biggest risks to an immobile patient is skin breakdown, but her husband had positioned her in bed and provided padding. We were all surprised at how well her skin looked, and it was because of the tremendous care provided by her husband. We brought her some Tylenol and rehydration salts in the hopes that will give her enough relief from the pain and strength to start moving about, but that’s a long shot at best. If this was America, we’d have her in an ICU in no time, and she’d have a good chance of getting back to almost normal function with rehab. In Haiti, let’s just say that things are different.

There’s definitely some heavy stories here, but just as many things worth celebrating. We visited an orphanage today to provide check-ups, give vitamins, and prophylactic deworming medicine. The orphanage has the most beautiful kids I’ve ever met, and most of them are doing well (pic below). The orphanage is getting funding from multiple churches stateside, and has grown in the past year.

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Yesterday, I got the chance to deliver a walker to a girl with a physical handicap that makes it difficult to walk (pic below). It took her all of 10 seconds to become proficient with it, and even after a slight stumble, she was back at it. I don’t think it’s necessary to explain the value of mobility in a place like Ranquitte.

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As you can probably tell, we’re touching a lot of people here, and even though we might be limited in some ways, we can make huge strides in others.

Personally, one of the most exciting things is seeing the way girls and women are being empowered. The little girl with the walker is a perfect example, but it’s even seen in simpler things. We have a Haitian nurse named Dani, translating for us and suddenly we can provide care for women better than before. I met two little girls outside clinic yesterday as they were playing with some of the boys. Rather than let the boys run the show, they were taking a stand, and put their fists up, ready to fight (pic below).  Sometimes it takes a little Haitian girl ready to throw down to put reality in check for you.

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I’ll post more in a couple days. Thanks for reading and spread the word!

 

-Josh

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