Nov 29, 2010

little lion man

Kari, Myself, and Pierre

Our little man Pierre, just a few weeks ago. He is stronger and has beaten every odd and obstacle put in front of him. He is a mighty little man. But he's sick, and without any definite diagnosis, we are not sure when he can be released from the hospital. We rushed him there Saturday and have not gotten many answers since.

Pray for Pierre that we may best care for him in this time.

Nov 20, 2010

a lot of pain and a little joy

Sometimes I spend my nights reading about Haiti. I read news articles and blogs from people on the ground. Sometimes I see such a small picture - I don't know what all is happening. And I need the reminders that other people see and agonize over the same things and in the same way as we do here. One of the blogs I read is written by another nurse working for a different hospital. Jessica wrote a few weeks ago about a conversation with a Haitian doctor who put the way of life here for the majority of Haitians into words so well:

"For them everything is a fight. It's a fight for food, a fight to get on the tap-tap going in the right direction. A fight to sell every piece of fruit and every soda. It's a fight to survive . . . She said they get so used to fighting everyday that their entire life a
nd attitude becomes just like that, a battle."

Put yourself in that place for a moment. You have a broken cooler full of pop bottles in a market packed with people selling the same things, but all united under the same idea - I must sell all of this so my family can eat tonight. Or maybe so I can take my child who has had a fever for 8 days to the doctor. Or maybe so I can buy purified water to drink so my family isn't forced to drink from the canals of water filled with trash and waste.

This is the way of life here. This is the way of life in the majority of the world.

Add onto that tent cities, flooding, cholera, political unrest and riots, cholera, skyrocketing food prices, cholera, lack of education, cholera.

Of course it is survival mode here. People are too busy trying to keep their heads above water to try and plan for rebuilding or moving forward.

I spent Thursday of this last week in a cholera treatment center a few minutes north of Mission of Hope. I took our medical team as it was a Haitian holiday and our clinic was closed. We pulled up to tents and the smell of bleach and human waste. The center was so well run but overrun. The staff there thanked me over and over for bringing the few people I could to help, saying for the first time in 10 days they have felt like they had almost enough people to treat all 180-200 patients they see a day.

I had eight patients I oversaw with the off and on help of a Haitian nurse. It's a delicate guessing game of "How much fluid does this person need?" How sunken are their eyes? How many times in the last hour have they sat up and vomited or had diarrhea? One little girl had an IO and an NG to try and replace fluid. I was put in that tent so I would ensure that every 10 minutes I put 20 mL of ORS into her NG. Between those ten minutes it was replacing IV bags, encouraging every patient to drink ORS every ten minutes, washing hands, documenting, and then it was time to repeat.

My small victory of the day was seeing the girl sit up. We pulled her IO and her NG, put in an IV, and got her taking ORS orally. But she was still vomiting and having diarrhea - she was not in the clear yet.

Each person in that camp was fighting. The patients were fighting to physically survive. The workers were fighting to get through another day, to keep everyone alive. The news articles that cover the story cannot accurately put that into words. You cannot understand cholera until you see its victims.

And in the midst of this, the everyday still occurs. Babies are still being born. People are still diagnosed with TB. People are still malnourished. Accidents happen. Health care is now being stretched thinner and thinner throughout Haiti. And this week I have seen it, and I can see the storm clouds growing darker and darker. With more cholera means less hospital care. With more Port-au-Prince cases comes less room for the everyday cases to go.

But beauty has not perished here. Wounds are still healing, or at least improving. A 30 minute session with a mom and newborn baby teaching breastfeeding has seen the cessation of the baby's seizures and the growth of his little belly. And perhaps the most encouraging thing of all:


What joy that sight brings. I only wish that joy could be infectious too.