Thursday, March 24, 2011

and then it was all cholera.......for days...........

After the day of children we entered the cholera zone. A bumpy ride brought us to the northwestern town of Saint Louis du Nord. 2 concrete buildings (no running water or electricity mind you) had been deemed the cholera wards- they were across the street from each other and just down the block from the mission that housed us, fed us, and gave us clean water to drink. I was told that the mission also feeds 16,000 people daily around that region...... and they have a tidy orphanage for disabled children...... and a women's health clinic that provided pre-and perinatal care.  The one cholera ward was for "less sick" patients that now where trying to stay hydrated with ORS, and the other side was for more acutely ill. The docs stayed on the "IV side" and came across the street once and awhile to check on the "ORS side".  At times there was staff, at times there was not. The stats were something like 546 patients seen the week we were there, with 28 deaths. Tricia used her "special energy" tending to those that passed-- doing death cares, singing and praying with their families.  I used my "speacial energy" trying to bridge the cultural gap with the Haitian nurses, even if only for a few steps.
By the end of our time there we had grown. We also found we were teetering on the edge of a cliff or maybe- a fault? I don't know, but we never fell.
Siblings all nestled in on a filthy plastic matt

Here we have the wheelbarrow transport area--
the old grandpa that ended up with an IO in his arm,  and the 
young woman that needed to nurse her 2 week old baby.
Get those fluids going! Let's GO!!!!

Everyone just tried as hard as they could, death is another part of living

This little girl passed out when we were starting her IV and her mom thought
she had died and RAN~ it took several hours to find her

This little boy was comatose when he arrived- and just 24 hours later-ta da!

The front deck of the IV area was good to hold another 20 patients or so

These mats were the only layer between the patients and the cold concrete.
They had been crocheted out of plastic grocery-type bags by some
super-smart thrifty Canadians! Or course, at this point they were soaked
with diarrhea, vomit, urine, and everything else

If we couldn't get any other access IV tubing became an NG tube and we could
pour fluids in that way until they were hydrated enough to have
 a "decent" vein

We ran out of mats. The "ORS side" had no cots, but when the "IV side" was
 full all we could do was keep trying

After a cold, nasty night on the concrete ta da! The IVs worked and
our eldery patient is up in a chair preparing to go. The Haitian nurses
loved the HAZMAT suits and we did use this to our advantage once and
awhile since we knew where the "secret stash" was

Yes we did get a line in this poor kid- after 2 days he left skipping down the
muddy street with his mom

Dusk falls on the ORS side...... better go get your headlamp!

This is the little girl that passed out- we let them stay an extra day because
they lived so far away...way up in the mountains, across the flooded
 river and the rain wouldn't stop. Plus her mom was an awesome singer and
would get everyone going in prayer and song pretty regularly

Here are our coworkers keeping the chairs warm and bogarting the meds

I love this shot of TMatt in action

This is the "bleach mat"- you are supposed to walk through
it everytime you leave the cholera area- mmmm, feels so good
when you got your cholera chacos on!

This boy in the blue lost his dad and 2 brothers to cholera, then nursed his
younger brother back to health with a little extra care from the dogooder. 
I smile every single time that I look at this photo!

Just 24 hours before this photo this little girl had no pulse- I made TMatt
drop everything and come over to pray for her........ and we pressure bagged
her IV and prayed while her mom sat quietly and watched....... no words were
necessary in the morning when we got there- her mom just patted us and
 beamed--- her precious little girl was sitting up eating crackers
 (I can't twirl this into the right direction)

This is Ann- one of the awesome MTI nurses that came in for disaster relief.
She inspired us with her quietly powerful spirit and her easy going humor.

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