November 8, 2011

Medical Dominoes

I am home now...and looking at posts I never finished typing or didn't get around to posting, so I apologize for being slack, but wanted to continue to share with you all what my time in Haiti to this point has been.  I will be in the States for a few weeks and then plan to return in January.  I hope to speak to many of you while home, email me or call....
This has been a difficult week...exhausting really.  I haven't had much time to email, facebook or think much less sit down to blog.  My week began with a frustrating Sunday (I think it was Sunday, my days run together right now) night trip to two hospitals.  The twins had developed high fevers and diarrhea.  We went to the Cuban hospital, where they diagnosed pneumonia (Wendi) and a lung infection (Wendia), but had no beds available so the sent us to another hospital. At the Cuban hospital the staff speaks Spanish and Kreyol and a piti, piti (little) bit of English...since we were driving past our compound anyway, we dropped Wendia off with Kyle and asked her to start the meds prescribed for her infection, and picked up Stacie to translate for us at St. Michel.  We went, but honestly I was hoping, should have been praying, they wouldn't admit Wendi as it isn't the cleanest and the staff there... well lets just say the nurse who finally started our paperwork wasn't really sure how to work the scale to weigh Crystella and Wendi.  For obvious reasons, it isn't a place I would choose to go. After three hours of wandering around trying to figure out where we needed to be, they finally checked Wendi over said he didn't have a fever (because we gave him Tylenol, which we told them) and sent us home...even with a referral from the Cuban hospital and his chest x-ray which they sort of looked at.  

Monday began with a phone call at 3 am from the baby house - Woodley was having a seizure. I got up and found the thermometer - the last (and only other I know of) Grand Mal seizure he had was fever related and met both Camerons in the Baby House.  Sure enough he had a temp of 102.  The seizure lasted almost 20 minutes. Poor little guy was exhausted when it finally ended.  We gave him Tylenol and wiped him down in an attempt to get his fever down.  It took two hours to get him below 100. He's just under a year old. By 5, I headed back to bed only to be greeted with a baby from the other baby house: fever and vomiting.  Stacie, my roommate and fellow missionary has been violently ill for a few days now (High fever, vomitting, severe pains...we are fairly certain she has Dengue Fever, but it could be a variety of things with similar symptoms. She leaves this morning for the states to have a full work up done, to rest and recover) called at 6am.  "Can you come up here, I have an emergency."  I walked into our dark room and found Stacie sitting in bed with Saintana in her lap.  From where I stood (and in the darkness) it looked like she had boils all over her turned out to be dried blood.  She had fallen off the bed in the night and split her lip open pretty badly.  I carried her downstairs to clean her up...and she was fine - though we moved her to a bottom bunk and added a higher railing (thank you Cameron) to the top bunk. By 9 am we had three fevers with vomitting, an ear infection, one severe asthma attack, one child who vomitted though it appears it was self induced to prevent having to take an exam at school, and I lost count on the diarrhea. 

Tuesday began with Nurse (we have a nurse who works nights in one of the baby houses) waking me up at 5am to show me a diaper full of blood - though upon further inspection it was difficult to tell whether the red was truly blood or just dyed from the off brand pedialyte Darbens had been on.  I told her to save me his next diaper. The orange tint to the next one pushed me to the side of pedialyte but still a lot of concern - the consensus after calling some medical professionals was to wait and take him off the pedialyte and see what happened (he didn't act in pain or sick at all) he'd been on antibiotics for the ear infection for 24 hours. Tuesday evening was followed up with a bad fall by Adne - worried about a fracture in his shin bone. Nurse, I really do call her Nurse only in Kreyol it's Mis, said she didn't think it was broken, but he was in a lot of pain. We decided to take him to the hospital in the morning if his pain hadn't lessened, as he left the main house Renaldo came in with a strange rash and low grade fever.  I gave him Tylenol and sent him to bed.  The twins fevers broke around 3am!

Wednesday came and I found Renaldo, a normally active kid, laying half asleep on the galri (porch) of the main house.  His rash had spread. I sat down and held him for a bit and Nurse walked by to leave - she looked at his rash and said "Oh.  Take him to a Doctor."  Another trip to the hospital - we took Darbins too, just to make me feel better, Carrie and I couldn't shake the feeling we were missing something and that there really was blood in his diapers. The Cuban hospital is free and since they were going anyway, I'm glad I did. Stacie and Cameron and Carrie took this trip. Darbins had a bowel infection as well as his ear infection - it was some blood in his diaper - now I feel horrible for not taking him immediately - though the doctor said there was some dye from the pedialyte too which made it harder to tell. Spent a good portion of the day running around trying to get blood work done at a variety of labs for Renaldo. 
Thursday morning the twins had real poop in the diapers for the first time in almost a week!  I've rarely been that excited to see poop (with the possible exception of Naithen Spaulding). From there the week got easier - just medicating everyone who was now on prescriptions and treating fevers if they got too high.  I'm thinking of applying as a nurse :-)  I'm also convinced a lot of this is spiritual.  November kicked off Tuesday and Wednesday with "High Holy Holidays" in the voodoo community and I'm told all month there will be increased voodoo activity.  You can feel a difference in the spiritual climate here.  Yesterday, Crystella came to me in tears.  She'd had a bad dream about the twins - that they had died. A friend called her and told her she had had a similar dream.  She wanted to take them to mass.  I explained that she was free to take them with her, but I was concerned for their health since the last time they left the compound they came down with pneumonia, and they were still fragile from that. Stephen, our new site director came in and asked if we could call Pastor Maxey from the church next door to come over instead.  She said yes.  So Saturday morning he arrived to pray over the twins and with their mother to comfort her.  She seemed to appreciate it.

Each day felt like three of four and it's hard to believe I return to the states in under two weeks.

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