My body decides to give up on occasion. Sometimes at the worst times. After a mild illness this morning, I went on to see a full day of patients. I walked the 1/2 mile rocky road to Gabi's home and watched a soccer game in the street (Kettlie and Joy brought soccer balls for the kids). Afterwards, we ate dinner, and I started feeling a bit weak. Never one to let common sense ruin my day, I tried to walk back to our host Sahn-Sahn's home (instead of staying at Gabi's). I was slowly falling behind my group and my legs gave out. The other PA in my group tried to carry me up the rocky hill but I was no longer coherent. He left me with Brenda (his wife and nurse extraordinaire) and ran to get help. The next few minutes were a blur with people crowding around, speaking Kreyol, and I somehow found myself on a chair in the road. My son came running with cold water and potassium. A young stranger picked me up and put me on his back and ran up a rocky steep road to reach my host's home. I couldn't hold my head up but I could hear people breathing hard trying to keep up with him. Sahn-Sahn then carried me to my bed. When my cloudy brain cleared, Braden was holding my hand, there were four battery powered fans pointed at me and an ice pack on my neck. I was embarrassed but thankful to be feeling better.
I have a genetic kidney disease but I knew it may look differently to the local town's people (sickness, voodoo, whatever imaginations would dream up). Luckily, Kettlie told some of the little kids that I "ran out of something" and I would feel better soon. The children were pleased to have the inside scoop and she is confident they will spread the word that all is well.
I didn't see the faces of the people who helped me, but I know how they cared for me. I came to Haiti with medications, a little knowledge and a heart to serve. Tonight, I needed the people of Marigot and they gave everything they had: a chair in the street, a strong back to carry me and endless kindness.
I'm off to bed to get rest before tomorrow's clinic.