Saturday, January 28, 2012

Clinic nurse, ravine nurse, orphanage nurse

Another medical project under my supervision here in Gonaives is an orphanage of 26 children run by missionary friends from the Philippines. The Genada's have lived in Gonaives for 18 years and have recently started their second orphanage. The first was washed out in the 2008 flood and those children were moved permanently to Sherrie's, in Port-au-Prince.

We got physicals on all the children, along with social histories, to create files on each one. Most of them are moderately underweight and we found a couple minor cases of pneumonia, a 10 year old with seizure disorder and developmental delay, and one child with asthma. One of the older boys has a perforated ear drum and chronic ear infections - we're treating him and looking for an ENT surgeon to come repair his ear. We have no ENTs in Haiti.

There was only one child whose nutritional status worried me: JohnLove. He's 6 years old and only weighs 29 pounds. For a little perspective, my friend's 3 1/2 year old son weighs 35 pounds. I've started him on peanut butter supplements and like all the other children, he has received deworming pills and daily vitamins. We aren't supposed to have favorites, but JohnLove and his little brother, Evensky, are mine.

Accepting responsability for a score of children means frequent visits. I've been walking or biking to the orphanage at least 2 or 3 times a week to deliver meds, bandage a dog bite, deal with some break-through seizures, and to just check on kids. I don't mind - it gives me more opportunities to get to know the children and for them to become at ease with me. Which is important because soon we will have to take them all out for HIV tests...

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