Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Clinic day 2

I spent most of the day in gen consult with Carolle, one of the Haitian nurses. We cared for a 90 year old woman (!) with an inflammed leg and a 15 year old girl who supposedly gets confused and then passes out regularly. We saw a 30 year old man who has seizures and hurt his knee during one of the seizures. When the swelling didn't go down, his wife poured some healing salts and some sort of gas onto the area, so now he has open chemical burns on his skin as well as the internal injury. Many of the children we treated (and even some of the adults) were extremely shy and hardly spoke loudly enough to be heard. Every now and then, however, we would get a little kid like the 10 year old boy who walked in just before lunch. He listed off his symptoms like he was naming all the soccer championships he had won and while we gathered together his meds, he chatted with me about his family and his pets. We sent him home with a puzzle as well as his medications.

My emotions get all over the place when I'm in Haiti. This morning, we saw a little girl who had been burned on 50% of her body when she was two years old and needed skin grafts to survive. She was cared for at this clinic and now, she is a healthy and beautiful 5 year old. Just looking at her and thinking about the miracle of her survival was so uplifting. But the feeling can change very quickly. Later that morning, in walked another 5 year old. When he was little, his mother died, then his father died, and then he started to get sick himself. They ran a battery of tests and eventually discovered that the boy is HIV and tuberculosis positive. His aunt who takes care of him won't believe that he has HIV and so she won't allow him to be treated. It's just a matter of time before he dies. Heartbreaking.

There weren't many patients today, so the entire staff sat down and bagged pills until we closed the clinic at 4pm. I played with the Rescue Center kids: tag, blowing bubbles, dolls, tickling, dancing gayepay and limbo and waltz - I actually got 11 year old Carmelo who is way to cool for that sort of thing to waltz with me! I have little Amos on my lap now and I think he's got a dirty diaper. Eewww!!

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