A young woman came into the clinic today using a crutch. Her skirt, long enough to brush the floor, was hiding a filariasis infection. It is more commonly known as elephantiasis. I have seen less extreme versions of this disease in Haiti, but today was different. She had two children and had been living with the infection for years. She hadn't even come in to be evaluated for it. She had severe fatigue, chronic pain, and weight loss. I was desperate to help her but did not have the chemotherapeutic agent typically used in these cases. Thanks to modern technology, I was able to find a CDC reference to treatment with doxycycline. I couldn't believe it. We brought enough doxycycline to treat cholera cases. Thankfully we haven't seen much diarrheal illness, so we had plenty to treat her for the full four week course. I've attached a picture of this amazing woman. I can't express how it felt to be able to help her. Between antibiotics, multivitamins with iron, and Tylenol for pain she has a chance at a better future. Many of you made that possible.
I had several stories from today that I wanted to share, but the election is forefront in my mind. Regardless of who our country elects to be the next President, I am thankful for over 200 years of peaceful transitions of power. I am writing to you tonight from a country that has not had this gift. I also looked at the medications and supplies being handed to patients today and knew that our country is filled with generosity, love and compassion. I am thankful for all of you and I am proud to be an American. God bless the U.S.A.!
Goodnight from Marigot, Haiti.