Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Here's to Chaiti!

So, I realize that my apologizing probably gets pretty annoying, and excuses are dumb, but I gotta say it! I'm sorry I take so long to post on here! But, now I'm at it, and its probably gonna be long because its been so long, but oh well! Here we go:)

So in my last blog I kinda, sorta made a mistake that as a medical professional, I should not have made. I said something about having no action in the clinic and being bored...and that's what you're not supposed to do. I'm not superstitious or anything, but you just learn not to do these things...because the next night...it happened. There was an accident with a large tap-tap (the local Haitian version of a taxi/city bus). Its been so long now that I actually forget the actual numbers, but there were probably around 20-25 people involved, ranging from minor to more traumatic injuries. We ended up having to stabilize the patients we were concerned about and then ship them off to hospitals in Port-au-Prince. With our limited resources here we weren't able to properly diagnose everyone due to having no x-ray machine large enough to visualize pelvises and hips, but there ended up being 7 pelvic fractures, and some other broken bones. It wasn't too too bad looking though because only one guy needed stitches, and the rest were more closed injuries...nothing too bloody to look at. By the end of the day we had been working about 4 hours to get them all discharged or sent out to other hospitals, and I was exhausted. I just couldn't imagine doing that for 36 hours straight like they had to the night of the earthquake here. And we had lots of medical people on board to help out...I just can't wrap my head around what it must have been like here that night.

Well, after that one crazy night I figured we were good for a couple weeks of peace again...and I was wrong:) So the Sunday right after the wednesday accident we received a new team 3 strong (1 ER doc, 1 PA and 1 PT) and I did my little orientation thing with them on sunday afternoon and we were heading back up the hill, and that's when it happened. So, I forget who it was, but someone came running up to us saying there had been an accident in Titayen, and that there were 29 people coming to the clinic NOW, and we needed to get everyone there. So I sent the team down to the clinic with the keys to open it all up, and I ran around the guesthouse trying to gather the team since I had forgotten my radios and cell phone (oops!). So, by the time we got down to the clinic the tap-taps hadn't arrived yet, but we got stuff ready. When the tap-taps started coming I was shocked right away - they were blanc like me. The story is that there was a mission team from the states (I think Missouri) visiting and they had been in the mountains for the morning. On their way home in a rented canter truck (a big truck where you sit in the back on benches) the brakes didn't work while they were going downhill. The driver apparently did the right thing in running the truck into the side of the mountain rather than letting it go, but they were hurt! This accident was definitely more of a shock with more open wounds, younger kids covered with blood, staring blankly ahead, some freaking out asking where their friends were. It was bad. We had a lot of non-medical people there to help out, thank goodness. We unloaded them all into the breeze-way outside to triage them, and right away started working on getting them shipped into Port-au-Prince (PAP). It was actually amazing how this one worked because local missions and other teams in PAP heard about it and came to help us out, so we had teams of Haitian and North American docs, nurses, paramedics, trucks show up to help us out. It was amazing. We had a mission down the road ask what supplies we needed, and they ran back and brought more IV fluids and tubing back for us to use. It was amazing! In the end 4 people ended up being med-evacuated that night and the rest of the team left on their scheduled flight home the next morning, and one Haitian man lost a leg. Everyone survived, but it was pretty scary. I was so thankful to have such a great team there, and one that had been through this before and was ready for it. I definitely felt out of my element in the situation, but at the end of the day I knew we had done the best we could in that situation, and had literally saved lives. Oh ya, that's why I'm a nurse!!! So ya, that was one wild and crazy four days...but we made it through!

So that was story number 1. There's more! So, story number 2...I finally got to go to the Good Samaritan orphanage. I'll explain a little bit. This orphanage is pretty rough. I remember my aunt saying something about this place, and it was that if animals in Canada were kept in the condition the kids are at this place, she would have to report it. Its that bad. So, after the hurricanes hit in 2008 the orphanage moved from their home that was pretty much wiped out to a dance club in the local city, Cabaret. Now, after the earthquake, for some unknown reason, they've moved back to the old place, which still isn't fixed up, so most of the kids are sleeping out in tents.

Anyway, the whole 4 months that I've been here I have been waiting, trying, hoping to get to this place. Me and Diana (one of my friends here, from Wainfleet...you might know her!!!), have been talking about going for a while, but it just never worked out...until a couple of weeks ago! So, one team went for a river walk and I got to tag along. On the walk we happened to stop by the orphanage, and it was rough. Me and Diana kind of scoped out the situation, looked for kids that were sick, malnourished, not doing so good. Then, we set our minds to it, and made a plan to go on Wednesday that week. We booked a driver, took a doctor that was here visiting, picked up our friends Wicky and Sadrac, took 3 loaves of bread and a big tub of peanut butter, stopped in Cabaret to buy 6 watermelons, made a ton of pb sandwiches and went to the Good Samaritan orphanage. It was so good! We fed them all sandwiches and huge chunks of watermelon - and they loved it! The doctor found a bunch of kids that were pretty sick, we washed some open wounds and covered them, and decided we had to come back the next day to treat people properly. So we did, I went back AGAIN! This time the kids went nuts when we came! I LOVED IT! This time it was me, the doctor (Jana) and the PA (Isaac) that went. We took a walker for an older lady that had told us she couldn't walk because she fell over all the time - her response was PRICELESS!!! We got kisses all over and I have never seen an old lady so excited in my life! It was great! I think Isaac got pictures! So there was that, and that made the kids go more hysterical. I loved that day! Then we went to the tents and found the girls that were not so well. We also found a little girl with a broken toe, so we had her come to the clinic to get a splint put on. We did so much that day...and I loved being in my element and remembering why I do what I do, why I am where I am, and what makes my heart beat. It is so good to feel alive! And that was one of those times. So, not only did I get to go 3 times that week, I went again on the Saturday to check up on the wound care that we did, and its so cool how the kids respond. This is another story...new paragraph.

So, there's some kids that I have to torture once in a while. There's a couple kids at the Good Samaritan that I had to squeeze some pus out of wounds, and scrub with peroxide, but they loved me and hugged me after it was done. Weird right? Then at the Hope House there are two kids that I have been taking care of for just a week now. The first one, Widler, is a 6 year old boy with sores all over his feet that had gotten too far, so now I have to scrub them and peel the dead skin off of them (lovely, I know). The first time I did it in the clinic I couldn't touch his feet without him moving my hands away and he was crying so hard! I thought for sure that the next time he saw me in the orphanage that he was going to tell all the kids how mean I was and be all snotty with me. Then there's Klara. Klara already has attitude enough for 3 Haitian girls. Well, she burnt her arm on a pot of something off the stove. So, now I get to scrub her wound as well, which is super painful even after lidocaine jelly and morphine. So, here I had two kids that I thought were going to hate me forever and I was going to have to somehow deal with it and explain to the other kids why I had to be mean. So...I reluctantly went to movie night last week...but I was shocked! The first kids to come up to me were none other than Widler and Klara! They hugged me, and asked me to pick them up...it was so weird! It kind of hit me though how much they just love being cared for...even when it hurts. They know that I love them and am trying to help them. I was so relieved that they reacted to me that way. So, today in the clinic we've managed to turn it into a game...Klara takes her morphine and starts to get silly, then we wash Widler's feet, then it's Klara's turn. Today she even scrubbed her own wound. I think we're seeing improvement!

So I think that's it...at least for now. I'm interested to find out how many words this one was! Oh, and one more thing! I have new friends, and its been a wonderful month! The summer has started and we now have interns starting to come in. Its so much fun! Me and Leeann have a new roommate, Brianna. She's a neat freak, or is just clean and organized, where me and Leeann are not so much. I love her though! She's been in Asia for a bit so she brings the Asian Invasion peace sign out a lot! Then there's Ashley. She's great. She has a split personality, or should I say characters? So far we've had many adventures together, including pretend skateboarding, pretend BMXing, ice-capades (I have no idea how to spell that one!), chatting on roof tops...its been great! So ya, that's my update for now! Talk at y'all later!!!! Thanks for reading it all if you've made it this far!


  1. Hey Lindsay! Talk about MCI's!!! I'm glad the Mission of Hope clinic is set up (& blessed with new teams) to handle all the tap taps that come your way.

    Thanks for sharing your blog with us. You remind me of the whys for my goals...and honestly, I am stirred again. God bless you, protect you and continue to enable you as you serve, my friend. Praying, Kat

  2. Hey found out today I'm headed back your way and can't wait for my daughter to meet you. I know she will find you inspiring!

  3. oh Lindsay My Joy, you are an absolutely beautiful and amazing young woman of God! I'm so glad you and Brianna found each other!! God is good!! You are doing a wonderful job there!! Thanks for taking care of my Baby!! It makes being on the other side of the world a whole lot easier!!! xoxoxo