I want to be honest with you all about my emotional state. I am crying a lot more than usual, I find myself getting irritated with others, and I have periods in which I'm unable to keep working with the injured, when I just have to remove myself from the situation and sit alone. I am trying to take care of my own needs -- I"m eating when I should and I'm getting enough sleep -- but still, being constantly in the midst of such destruction and such overwhelming need is taking its toll.
The interesting thing for me has been the bond that exists between me and anyone that has been living through this with me. People like Commander Strong (below on right) and my neighbors at St Joe's, who other than Bill, I never knew that well, make me incredibly happy. Every day, Walnes at St Joe's gives me a full minute long hug. It's the best part of my day. Lele, also from St Joe's, makes me smile. That's rare these days. And my assistant G...well, he would die for me and I would die without him. That's all I can say about that.
TiPatrick, one of the youngest St Joe's boys, was hurt badly when the fourth floor collapsed on him as he ran down the stairs. He went into shock that first night and though I did everything I could for him, I feared that he would die or at least suffer severe long term damage.
Three days ago, the boys came to see us on their way to Jacmel and TiPatrick looks great. Seeing him and hugging him did my heart a whole lot of good!
Fignole, one of the older St Joe's boys, is the one who rescued TiPatrick from the rubble. Another of my heroes!
Aliston was stuck on the fourth floor but the boys were able to rescue him with a ladder. He had head injuries, but nothing too serious. I had just finished treating him when they started screaming to me that they had found Bill's body. Thus started the longest night of my life.
Vanessa made it here on Tuesday night. The surgeon she brought with her did some work at St Damien's and then got sent back to the US (again, bureaucratic nonsense). For me, the best thing he did was filter water for 3 hours. I now have enough drinking water for a week.
Up at the refugee camp, there is an orphanage of 27 kids. They are consuming most of the baby formula I can find.
Haitians are helping Haitians. No other aid is getting to us yet. Someone bought a car full of water bottles and brought it to the camp 3 days ago.
G and I continue to buy food for everyone, cook and distribute it. Contrary to what you are seeing on the news, people in my camp are quiet, grateful, and in perfect harmony with each other. The men monitor the neighborhood at night to make sure it's safe and G checks on my house during the night. I am proud to be part of this community.
All that to say, my sanity is fragile but it's there. More time with the Haitians and less time with relief workers seems to be a better fit for me right now. I still cry very easily and at some point, I will need a very long debrief and a very long cry. But for now, today, I am OK. We are working our way along, one day at a time.