HEAL Haiti Dr. G's Third Post

April 2, 2015

Today went smoothly.  Everyone kept an experienced pace and we were all in good groove.  I work in the “General Medicine” department on the left side of the church.  Lots of headaches, joint pains, joint effusions, back pain, asthma.  Procedures that occurred where knee taps, wound debridement, cerumen irrigation.  We had some women follow up for blood pressure checks with good improvement.  They stated they felt well.  The students are giving good feedback regarding the gyn station, the women are feeling so grateful to have the attention and reassurance that things looks normal.  One woman had the cryo therapy today and was so thrilled to have had it. She announced that she planned to have it done every year. 

Jyoti Puuvala, 2 students, Joel and Douglas did some home visits today and attended to a man whom was bed bound for weeks.  The community thought he was distressed due to his wife’s recent death, but upon taking a detailed history and physical it was clear he had a stroke last week. 

Lisa and Aline, our 4th year student leaders design a “Needs based Study” that requires a door-to-door survey.  The questions are really designed to see what sort of access to health care the people have now and if they would be open to a trained health care worker in the community that can look after the people here.  Douglas and I went along and joined several of the other students and the translators.  We split up and each took a dirt path to people’s home.    Carlos the translator, Doug and I, stopped at one family’s house.   The house is cinderblock with dirt floor, the baby is running around with no diaper, covered in dirt, the front door was a sheet held up by nails.    I have never been in someone’s front porch that was this impoverished. The family was   sweet.  They were interested and answered honestly to all the questions.  Douglas had a list of questions from his classmates that he asked the older daughter.  She eats spaghetti for breakfast, wants to be a nurse when she grows up, thinks the US is a beautiful country and the one thing she would change about Haiti would be she would like to learn how to drive when she grew up.  They had no problem when I asked them to smile for a picture. We marched on to a second home that was more like a villa where 10 of them live.  One house is a grass hut with a tin roof, the next a colorful cinderblock home next to a grey larger and darker home.  The cooking occurs outside in an open fire pit (a source of chronic cough and dry eyes in many of the women we saw).    The husband was bringing in bricks that he carried on his head and over the back of his donkey.  Farms surround the huts.  The little boy there did not know what to say about his opinion of the United States but knew he wanted to be a doctor when he grew up.  Apparently spaghetti is a popular breakfast item.  They must not know how much we have, how much we waste, how much food we throw away, how we despair over kitchen renovations, how we spend time and energy deciding which car to buy next, how much we spend on knee replacements, plastic surgery, flat screen televisions, home video grams, nights out to dinner, dog grooming, hair styles, make-up, Disney cruises, gluten free bread, latte’s.    We showed the Haitians the pictures we took of them, they laughed and then hide their faces, and it occurred to me that may have never seen their own image before.  No bathroom, no mirror, no running water, no electricity.