We just finished our second to last day of clinic. As it’s gone on, we’ve seen more interesting cases. A 10 year old boy was in today for his second abscess drainage. It appeared to be an abscess, but was just as firm today and hardly draining. After attempting to drain the wound, it was clear it wasn’t necessarily infected, and we were able to palpate lymph nodes on the same side. We’ve also had a provider identify a node, likely to be breast cancer in a 6o year old woman, as well as palpable lymph nodes suggesting metastases. The provider’s told her about her options, but let her know that she may very well not survive. It was important that this single mother and head of household have time to prepare her family and affairs before she dies. On a lighter note, our pediatrician was able to find the testicles on a toddler, and send him to a free hospital in Mireblais for surgery to correct his genital deformities. So far, she’s the only provider to locate and descend testicles… I think she’s earned a trophy.
One of the most surprising things at clinic, is how patients deal with painful or uncomfortable procedures. There’s a stoicism that may make assessments difficult, but is pretty impressive. The 10 year old I mentioned above, quietly whimpered and teared up when he was poked with a needle, but he didn’t flinch and was able to keep himself controlled. A lot of people may think that it’s expected for a child to cry and scream, but it’s becoming clear that these are learned behaviors. I’m not about to go out and try to toughen up American children, but I do think we should be considering what truly healthy behaviors look like for our kids.
This is all part of shifting the paradigm. In both Haiti and America, we should be questioning the norms, to make room for newer, better ways. I think the best way to identify these things, is working towards the most important problems. Maybe we don’t always know who needs the most help, but there’s always something that can be done and we’ll benefit as much as those we help.
We finished clinic yesterday seeing over 2,600 patients in 9 days. I think we all enjoyed it as much as the Haitians who came to see us, and I can’t wait back for next year.
Thanks for reading, and I’ll be posting a recap after getting home.