Friday, February 22, 2008

Third Clinic: Charete

Monday, February 18, 2008 - Charete

Dr. Don woke us up with “wind” hymns and songs. It rained again last night, but was over with by the time we were up. The rain leaves the morning feeling very refreshed and the days have been clear blue skies without any humidity. Our nights have been cool and comfortable; the days have been dry and very comfortable as well.

Right after breakfast Francois arrived in his truck and we went to see the woman with the bad leg. She had been moved from farther out in Okay to her son’s house close in. We arrived at a very small 2 room cramped space, crowded in among other small houses on an unpaved road. The woman’s right leg and foot were so badly infected and rotted away; the necrotic area was so deep that one tendon was exposed. Mark attempted to debride it, but it was so extensive and deep that he told the son she had to get to a hospital. He cleaned the areas with peroxide and sterile water, then silvadene and dressings. It smelled really awful and it was clearly painful for her. Mark also put a painkiller patch on her shoulder to help relieve the pain. Tomorrow morning we’ll return to re-dress the wound.

After that short detour we head out to San Louis, taking another detour to see two of Rivenson’s relatives to treat them. The ride was back toward the east along a beautiful stretch of highway with beach on one side and steep rounded mountains on the other. The south peninsula is so different than the north; it’s more lush and sandy. The beaches are shallow turquoise water with white sand; they are unspoiled and idyllic.

The trip to Charette (an area of San Louis) took about an hour; we turned north off the road and went along a stream through small level villages. The area was unremarkable except for the complete tree cover, both palm trees and other native trees. It’s unusual to drive beneath tree cover; it was like a shady glen.

While we were setting up, Marcia introduced the Mustard Seed Missions (i.e., Mustard Seed Haiti and us) and talked about how we work together. She always does this before each clinic then gives me a chance to talk; thanks to God (as Amoce always says), my kreyol is getting to the point where I feel like I can atleast express my appreciation to the people. Dr. Don typically plays “How Great Thou Art” which we all sing in kreyol or English, and then we pray together.

We set up the clinic in the pastor’s newly built three room house, with the intake on the front porch, Mark in the first room, and Don in the second room. It took about 20 minutes to get a good rhythm rolling but it worked out well. One of Mark’s first patients was a woman who was 7 months pregnant and in great pain. After many questions it was determined that her water had broken and that she was probably in labor. It was not her first child; it didn’t appear there was any problem. She left the clinic with her mother; we found out later, at about 2 p.m. that she had delivered a little girl.

We saw two neck tumors that we referred for surgery. One was in a little six year old boy who I’m sure is the butt of many jokes due to his condition. He had had the tumor since he was little, but it was growing with him; Mark felt it should be referred to surgeons. MSM will help pay for the surgery if it’s needed. The other tumor was in a 23 year old young woman. Her tumor appeared to be a Burkett’s lymphoma. It had gotten large in just over one month meaning it was quite aggressive and potentially deadly. We also referred her for surgical consult. We will also help pay for her surgery. Mustard Seed Haiti will take care of handling the referrals and making sure these individuals see the necessary doctors.

Other than that, today seemed to be the day for anemia and hypertension. We also saw more than a few children with grippe. We saw 132 patients.

Today’s travels were easier with the road being mostly paved highway and the rest just dirt and small stones. Rivenson drove the tap-tap that he now drives. His tap-tap had a little difficulty getting over some of the larger rocks, but Francois’s truck worked very well. Greyson is still nursing her back since her mishap on the hammock. We had her ride in the front seat which she said she thoroughly appreciated. None of us have sat in a cushioned chair since we left the airplane in PAP; she said it felt really good.

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