Thursday, March 31, 2011

Captopril Anyone? Maybe a little Metoprolol?

Today I went to one last outreach clinic. It went really well. We were set up in a little school house with three rooms. I triaged in room one, the two doctors saw patients in the second room and then they would proceed to the third room, the pharmacy, to pick up any medications the doctor had prescribed for them. It went really well, we saw over 70 patients, which was because we had to close up shop early, we could have seen many more. Here are a few things you see in Haiti.....
  • Arthritis
  • Heartburn and Indigestion
  • Colds
  • Urinary Tract Infections
  • Worms
Haitians have the highest blood pressures I've ever seen. Today the highest I saw was 202/116. These people are walking around ready to stroke out right before my eyes. Because of their high blood pressures we subsequently get a great deal of complaints of difficulty with seeing and headaches. This year we did not have a great deal of prescription meds, we had a few, but very little.

As we were packing up, we had a little jam session with our interpreters Matt and Stevvenson. Someone had a Justin Bieber notebook and Matt had "Baby" on his phone. We were all singing and dancing. It was a great stress release :D Justin can make anyone move those hips.

To top off the day, a nice relaxing late afternoon soaking up some wonderful sun by the pool. My tan is getting pretty bombin'!

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Just Keep Swimming....

So I missed yesterday, sorry. The power has been going on/off for the last couple of days. Hopefully it lasts long enough for me to get this up :D Things are going well. Today I spent the day at an orphanage teaching the nurses and caregivers some basic first aid skills, wound care, and care for burns. It was interesting to find out what types of things they'd been taught to do to stop bleeding or how to tell if a wound is infected. Most of them knew some of the basic principles. It was great to see how much they cared for the children and wanted to provide them with good care. This orphanage was amazing. It was beautiful. Most of the orphanages that we go to are run down, they're dirty, the children have wounds and sores, and their caregivers don't know how to care for them very well. This place was clean. They had wonderful staff who knew a great deal. The grounds were beautiful. They had good food and great buildings. It was so great to see an orphanage flourishing the way it was. I had a great time. Sometimes it's difficult for me because I am not able to see the fruits of my labors so to speak, I'm not able to see what kind of long term difference the things that I do make in these people's lives. But here it felt like we were teaching them things they would use and put into practice. It felt good.

Oh did I mention we didn't have water for 2 days? Not fun! And I finished my book and my nook doesn't work. I'm upset about that.

Tomorrow it's back to a community clinic for some very high blood pressures, indigestion, headaches and women who have been pregnant for 2 years. Will try to keep you updated!

Monday, March 28, 2011

And here we go...

So, I realize I'm not very detail oriented, so I'll try very hard to put more detail into these posts. However, you'll have to suffer through the ideas and contemplation that I also decide I must include :D

Yesterday (Sunday, March 27th) we went to church. It was a great experience just to relax and focus on the Savior and the gospel. Many wards meet in this particular building. There were three having meetings at the particular time we went. There is of course no air conditioning so it is quite warm. I realize all you lovely people in Utah/Wyoming are experiencing snow at this moment, haha sucks to be you! They also have no microphone or PA system, so it's very difficult to hear, and there are quite a lot of people. However, I was quite impressed at how quiet and reverent people were, focusing so much on hearing the speakers. After church we a couple of us relaxed by the pool, ah yes, the place we are staying does have a pool! Again, sorry all you people stuck with snow! Worked on my tan, got some reading done. Pretty fabulous. For dinner we went out to eat. We went to this restaurant called The View, quite fancy, quite pricey, not so much in American terms, but still on the higher side. Everything was in French/Creole, which of course I do not speak. Also, for those of you who know me, I have a tremendous amount of food allergies, of which can get me into serious problems. This kind of prevents me from trying new and exciting things. So I settled with pasta and a cheese sauce, it was good, but everyone else's looked much better. By now you're probably thinking, wait, I though she went there to do humanitarian work, sounds like she's playing! We're getting to that. This was sort of our "day off." It was very interesting though because this part of town that we went to was what you'd consider "upper scale." The streets were clear, people weren't living on the streets in tents, it didn't smell. Seeing such immense contrast is amazing. I suppose that you see this is the US too, but I suppose for me it was magnified.

Monday, March 28th

Getting down to business. Today I went with one of our groups to what we call an outreach clinic. This town that we went to was up in the mountains, about an hour from where our compound is. These people have limited access to any type of healthcare. We took two Haitian doctors with us, there were three nurses, a nutritionist, a social worker, and an aide, plus two wonderful interpreters. I had two primary jobs, the first was triaging, the second was reading the doctor's orders and "filling prescriptions". Basically a quick assessment of the patients chief complaint and associated symptoms and factors. It was difficult for me because I'm so used to being very thorough and being able to communicate with my patients. This is of course very difficult when you cannot speak the language, even with an interpreter. I wish very much that I could speak the language, that I could converse with these people much more. A majority of what we see is headaches, stomaches, generalized pain, sound familiar? We give out a great deal of OTC meds, tylenol, ibuprofen, antacids, vitamins. These people have outrageous blood pressures too. We were very limited this year with meds, especially prescription. There was one we were giving out that had been brought by a previous group, I don't even know what it was! I kind of feel like we're giving these people a temporary fix. A few days, maybe a couple of weeks worth of meds. Is it worth it? This is going to sound cheesy, but it gives much more meaning to Intermountain's "Healing For Life" mantra. Did I just use the word mantra Emily? Yikes. Anyhow, it was a long day filled with many emotions. I want to help these people. Sometimes it's difficult for me to see the good that it does. I hope that we helped them.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Haiti, Part Deux

After a very long day of traveling, here I sit, back in Port-Au-Prince Haiti. Quite surreal. It's amazing the difference that a year makes, but funny how it all feels familiar, as if I never left. The heat, the food, the people, the contrast. It's all so overwhelming. You look around and although you know that it's real, you don't want to believe it. You don't want to believe that this is the life millions of people lead. Living in tents, on the side of the "road." Poverty is a difficult concept to comprehend. I sit here with a great deal of anticipation and anxiety for the next 10 days. Excited to begin working on the several projects we've set for ourselves, but scared knowing that I have none of the familiarities of home. I have to rely on my own instincts, my knowledge, and my abilities, none of which have ever been my strong point. It's difficult for me not to internalize too much what I see and the many emotions I feel while I'm here. I know it will once again be an amazing experience.