28 February 2010

Today it was the ER for the morning while we waited to get our ride to Petit Goave for the rural clinics. Tent #2 was so much more smooth today and definitely less hectic. I felt like I had a better handle on where things were and what was expected of me. The process was more efficient. Orders were written on the patient report sheets and RNs were able to understand what was needed to be done. A quick overview of some of the patients: a woman, postpartum day 1, respiratory rate 38, BP 134/110, pulse 136, confused, not doing well; a lot of complaints of nausea, vomiting and abdominal pain; a lot of dehydration. Normal saline is in short supply and hard to get from central supply. The morning went by really quickly. Waiting around for Ernst (our driver) was a different story.

The drive out to Petit Goave was interesting. We saw a lot more of the destruction. The roads, unpaved, were awful. Huge potholes filled with water after the rain storm last night. Muddy water. Ernst’s driving was crazy – zigzagging across the road to avoid holes, narrowly missing on-coming traffic and barely scraping by cars on either side. Perhaps a bit too ambitious going through a puddle, we got stuck and traffic continued on both sides of us. Cars/trucks were inches from our windows. A truck behind us was blaring its horn and all we did was spin our wheels into deeper holes. Finally the truck behind us attached a tow rope and directed traffic to back us up out of the holes we had made. After a quick maneuver around the huge pothole we were on our way again. We had no other major problems for the rest of our 2 hour trip. The roads along the main highway, when paved, could be seen with earthquake cracks throughout. The ocean was visible on the right not more than 200 feet away.

The hotel is very nice – again, not what I expected. The clinics sound great and are staffed with mostly Haitian MDs and RNs. Dan, who is managing IMC’s operation out here, gave us the rundown. I am not sure where the RNs are going to be useful – I guess we’ll find out tomorrow. I am a bit nervous about what I am to be doing. Dan said that some RNs have been consulting and diagnosing. I am not comfortable with this. My knowledge base is too thin and I don’t feel that I will be any help. Perhaps more community or public health ventures can be done instead…

Lord, continue to be with me every step. Guide me. Heal me. Continue to give me rest and direction. Thank you for what you are doing in me through this adventure. Thank you for this experience. Bless the people I am in contact with and the people I am yet to meet. Help me to not become desensitized. Amen.