I was teaching a community health class yesterday afternoon when a woman arrived. She was missing a chunk of her face! Apparently she and a business partner had gotten into a fight and the other lady had bit her, leaving her with a crevice the size of a quarter just below her mouth.
So I did the best I could to stitch her up, but it's hard to fix a wound when a piece of flesh is missing. I was almost done when I heard a ruckus outside the clinic door. Guess who it was?
What do you know? It was the business partner, the one who had chewed a nugget out of my current patient's face, and she was there because she needed stitches too! When Lady #2 bit Lady #1, Lady #1 reacted by biting back, so as soon as I finished my first case, I started on the second. Hers wasn't as serious because there wasn't any missing tissue, but her lip was really mashed up and it took me a long time to put it back together.
I joked with my friends that in more than 6 years of work in Haiti, I have never sewn up a bite wound before, never mind two bite wounds in one day, both on the mouth. So you can imagine how hard we all laughed when this guy appeared at my door this afternoon. Yes, he'd also been bit on the mouth and he was missing a wad of lip. I sewed him up at my kitchen table.
Life is weird. Three bite wounds on the lips in 24 hours? Maybe it's a new fad in Gonaives, but if people would listen to the advice of the nurse, I would tell them to bite some other body part. Mouths are hard to stitch and you'll look really funny wearing a bandage on your lips!