Friday, February 13, 2009

Clinic Kaykapab




Today was my first day working in the Clinic. Clinic Kaykapab is actually the clinic run by Healing Hands for Haiti and it is on the same property as our guesthouse. We arrived shortly after 9am and there were already 30 children and their parent(s) in the waiting room. Down the hallway is the physical/occupational therapy gym and in the hallway were all the patients waiting to have their appointments for therapies.

Today's clinic was for children with hydrocephalus. All of the children were scheduled to get a CT scan on February 27 and then the surgeons come in April and will determine who is appropriate for surgery. I worked in the consultation room with one of the pediatricians, Anne. Her husband, Tim, also a pediatrician, worked next door to us with Chris-girl, an RN from my hospital who is on her 4th trip to Haiti.

I have to say that seeing the families and children that I saw today truly makes me realize that poverty is a relative concept. Even the poorest families that I see in Portland are, beyond measure, wealthier than the families I saw today. Children who would have no problem getting a CT scan and labs done same day are having to wait months for these procedures. We were able to give away children's multi-vitamins, acetaminophen, prenatal vitamins for those mothers still breastfeeding and diapers but this is just such a small thing when what these kids need is labs and surgery. Some of the kids are going to die, some of them will never be able to hold up their own heads and almost all of them will never develop typically or hit any of the milestones. Yet the mothers came and waited all day to see us and get instructions on how to use over the counter meds. The mothers and a few fathers asked their questions and were attentively listening to what Anne said to them through our amazing translator, Jide. All the mothers supported their children's heads very gently with blankets and towels. There are somethings that transcend cultures and that does make a big difference.

Our workday was short, we worked until 3pm and then jumped in the pool. I got to read a trashy magazine and we all talked about how devastating of an experience it was. Our therapist team came back from a day spent at Wings of Hope orphanage where they adjusted about 20 kids in their wheelchairs. The other third of our team came back from an outreach clinic set up in an abandoned building. They saw 150 patients of all ages and with different maladies. They de-wormed 20 children and passed out a lot of antibiotics.

I am still attempting to load photos. I cannot seem to resize them on my computer. Maybe I can get someone to help me figure it out. Au revoir until now! (I picked up a little Kreyol today, but mostly I keep trying to speak in Spanish. Except for quince it doesn't work out so well.)

Addendum:
Hooray! Anne showed me how to resize my photos so I could post some. The pictures are of a 6 day old baby with hydrocephalus and club feet. She was brought to the clinic by her grandmother who was trying to find someone to take her. We convinced her to take her home and return to the clinic on Monday so we could figure out a safe plan for her. A very difficult situation, especially when she could get the care she needed if she just came back to the States with us. Frustrating. I realized how unbelievably privileged this sounded while trying to fall asleep tonight. What I should have written was that the baby would be much better off if she could only get the care she needed here in her own country. Her grandmother would also be more inclined to keep her at home as well. Sorry folks, but I am still in the the stages of the learning process.

The other photo is of Tim, one of the pediatricians in our team. He is holding a little girl with hydrocephalus. Very typical looking child that we saw today.

1 comment:

Tracey said...

it is mind blowing