Tuesday, July 13, 2010

A while back (actually during Nurse's week) Heather Smith, our union president asked me to write about my experiences in Haiti. Part of my story was published in the union newsletter but not all of it. The story directs people to this blog so I am going to publish the story I wrote here so people can read it. It is a new blog post so..here goes.

I know that there is not enough space nor time to tell you of how I feel..I watch the word counter at the bottom of the screen and I fear I will run out of room even before I can scratch the surface of what my recent trip to Haiti meant to me, did to me, made me feel.. but I will try because I have to try and help you understand…

Gut wrenching; heart expanding; incapacitating ; hopeful

0130: I am holding an 18 month old child in my arms..he bolts awake every so often, turns his head and looks at me..reassured I have not let him go. I cannot begin to explain to you the look in his eyes, the weight of his 15 pounds in my arms, the sadness the emanates from him..the pain he must feel emotionally and physically..he has not eaten in 2 weeks..no explanation...

Childhood malnutrition is very prevalent in Haiti. It is a combination of many different factors. According to the WHO prior to the quake 46% of Haitians were malnourished and that was before the quake!

“you are loved little boy, may you always feel my arms around you sending you loving no matter where you are”

Two Days later: able to stand for the first time...as I leave to go home to sleep after the night shift I play "this little piggy" and I get the smallest smile...I am elated!!

10 hours later: returned to the clinic..cot empty..turn to my friend Brian..
"sorry Canada, she left with him, seems she felt we were not feeding her properly..."

..because it's about her...incapacitating...

1030: “Can you check out my granddaughter, she was accidentally stepped on. We live under a tarp, her mother died in the earthquake”

No flail chest, no apparent broken ribs..fine, except for that horrible productive cough, fever of 39C and the fact that she is 3 months old and weighs 6 pounds. She has pneumonia, we think..diagnosis of elimination, no blood work , no x-rays, no NICU consults… good old fashion basic skills and best guess.

Antibiotics and bring her back tomorrow for a check-up…no admission to the hospital, no see your pediatrician in the morning, there isn’t one..anywhere.

0900 next day: higher fever, more productive cough, more lethargic..lets admit her to our cots on the terrace. They are not for the view, they are for the really sick so we can keep a closer eye on them…

4 weeks later baby and grandma are enrolled in the parenting classes , getting formula each week and thriving..as much as one can thrive in Haiti, living under a tarp with 6 other people, no guarantees of food or water, no guarantees of a future but..


Please check out the following organizations and blogs.

I would like to take this opportunity to thank all the wonderful staff of the Cross Cancer Inpatient unit for their logistical/emotional and financial support! You are wonderful and I could not do half of what I do if it weren’t for you! I would also like to thanks the Wound Care Team at the Misericordia hospital for their crash course in wound care before I left! As well a special thank you to Debbie from CONVATEC for the donation of awesome wound care products (which were put to good use!!)

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