Haiti Day 12 - House Calls

This morning I started the day at one of Edelin's neighbors' home. It is more of a two room dwelling (approximately 6' x 12' ) with a curtain for a door. In the back was a teenage girl writhing in pain. She was burning with fever. She had been to a local hospital the day before and received antibiotics and Tylenol. I also found another set of pills with the other medications and discovered the likely source of her epigastric pain - uncoated aspirin. I gave her some Tums and asked her to take the other medications. She was advised to stop the aspirin. I would check on her later that day.

Once at the clinic, it was a drowsy day that allowed me to care for yet another burn victim, this one was a 4yo boy who backed into the cooking fire. He was a bit more "resistant" to treatment, but I managed to get it cleaned and bandaged. His mother decided to be seen since she was there. I'm glad she did. Her blood pressure was 204/130. She said she had usual aches and pains but otherwise felt fine. Carleen, the Haitian NP said she sees this fairly often. I started her on blood pressure medication and strict low salt diet. She will follow-up with the baby tomorrow. Oy!

After the patients were seen, we worked on organizing the pharmacy area. Donated or purchased medications were in suitcases ready to be placed on the shelves. It was like a treasure hunt finding some really great things we needed. The pharmacy is now in tip top shape and user friendly.

On the way home, we stopped at a home being built for a blind man. He was very excited although he couldn't see the structure. I had to capture his face on camera. He was so happy.

Once we got back, I went to check on the girl I had seen this morning. The (typical) teenager was feeling better and was not at home! Another neighbor saw me and asked me to see her relative. I went into a small home and in a back unlit area was a very thin frail old woman. The family was worried because she had vomited this morning and now refused to eat or drink. I touched her skin which was below normal temperature. Her blood pressure was 80/60 and heartbeat was somewhat irregular. Her stomach was nontender. Her legs had 2+ pitting edema. I informed the family that her heart wasn't well and I didn't have any medication other than Tylenol. They wanted to give her something, so I gave them a couple of tablets (more for them than her). They were advised to try and encourage her to get even small sips of fluids and try to eat if she could. I will check on her tomorrow, but am quite concerned about her.

I went back to my room in a somber mood but things improved rather quickly. There was a meeting of children learning to paint at Edelin's home. I met with them and they all stood to introduce themselves. The teacher and some of the children had artwork they wanted to sell so I bought some great creations by budding Picasso(s).

After getting back to base, Dawins, Ava and I had a dance contest which I inevitably lost. Dawins had some serious moves for a 5yo and apparently disco is no longer in style which went against my score.

Summing up Day 12: So many ups, downs, and in betweens today. I look forward to being home with my family in a few days but the realization that I won't be able to make house calls in a few days is hard. Being able to practice medicine without the politics and limitations has been truly liberating. I just wish I could use my license in the same way at home.