Saturday, January 23, 2010

Saturday Night

Hello all, and greetings from the Hotel Plaza in Port au Prince. John and I have been busy, but at the end of every day we are exhilarated and glad to be here, of some use.

I have traded an unspecified amount of almonds to Dr. Jeff for a few minutes' use of his laptop; a good trade! It feels great to be able to communicate sort of directly with you.

With our work with the International Medical Corps, we have been based at the University Hospital. Every morning we take a 7AM shuttle to the office, have a debriefing, then go to our assignments. Generally we are on the bus back to the hotel by 5 or 5:30 PM; they prefer that we be safely en route by the time darkness falls. There are some generators at the hospital but those are for night-time surgery; the streets of the hospital compound are pitch black until dawn.

For the past few days John has been working in the Medical Unit at the hospital. Their patient type varies from chronic medical problems to acute problems such as severe dehydration, a gunshot wound to the head, and everything in between. One of the problems with this inpatient unit is that the Haitians have become terrified to stay in-doors, due to the initial earthquake and subsequent aftershocks. So many patients discharge themselves at night; sometimes they can be found in a wooded area across the street, sometimes they never return.

One word about aftershocks: the worst, a 6.0, occurred the day before we got here. All medical buildings were evacuated into the hot sun for most of the day. There have been 3 or 4 minor tremors since we've been here; two were very brief but one was enough to have people running for the doors. But by the time we got to the door, it was all over.

As for me, I have been part of a mobile medical clinic visiting Bolosse, which is a neighborhood a few blocks from here. Yesterday, Dr. Brian and I scouted the area with our translator, Shiloh. We met with Lylie, who has become the de facto leader of about 5000 people. I think she may have been skeptical about us at first, but we were able to set up a small area and see many children and adults yesterday. Some were with injuries from the earthquake who had not received medical attention yet; one was a soccer goalie (!) who'd twisted his ankle. Many febrile children, many with diarrhea, and a few we sent to the hospital for more advanced care. I went back Bolosse today with Dr. Brian and Dr. Dan, who is a pediatrician (YAY!) and we saw about 120 pts all together. The Drs. did the care, and I dispensed medication with several Haitian nurses. One of them, Marthe, is especially wonderful; she is teaching the less experienced nurses. We've also had a Haitian medical student join us; eventually, the medical care in these communities will be turned over to the Haitians, as it should be, and part of our job is making sure that they are prepared to take care of their clients.

Once our day's work is done and we return to the hotel, it's time to line up for a shower. (Boy, am I glad I cut my hair before I came! Though I do miss my mascara.) There is a debriefing every night with administrative personnel from IMC, and they try to provide us with the essentials we ask for: medications, extra personnel, whatever. At 8PM, dinner is served,buffet style, in a Tiki-bar type of bar/restaurant. Strange, huh? My translator Shiloh is sleeping on the street, literally, right now; and I'm sitting on the floor in a ballroom, blogging, with a full belly. And I had a cold beer with dinner, too! $7 for an El Presidente, which they tell me is highway robbery )

Enough for tonight. I have used up my almonds' worth of laptop time. I will try to write more in a few days. Meanwhile, pray not only for me and John, but for the many people who are here trying to help in any way.

And most of all, pray for Haiti.
Love you all,


PattyW said...

Cece- praying for you, your co-workers and the people of Haiti. Be safe.

MichelleP said...

Cece - praying for all take good care. Looking forward to your next entry.

john said...

john,i love you stephanie.please keep me updated.

john said...

to john from stephanie. I talked to cathy today jan.24 I miss you terribly.macy is depressed.She just doesnt get it! I wish that i could talk to you.Cathy was so nice and paitent helping me get into Cece's site.the way you told me did not work.I had no idea of how you were.I hope that you will be coming home in the 2 weeks but if not let me know . your family misses you too. love,stephanie.

BonnieBigSister said...

Good to hear your "voice" Cece! You deserve that beer! We are praying for all of you.

nedart said...

Great to hear all these details. Sending love and prayers to you and to everyone in Haiti. I have a good friend from my high school graduating class who is also now in Haiti as a pilot -- transporting MDs and supplies. I am so proud and grateful to you both, dear friends.

There have been wonderful accounts on CNN of people being pulled from the rubble after 5 or 6 days who have survived and are telling their stories of how prayer sustained them -- how they sang hymns and recited Psalms during their long hours of confinement. They are announcing to the world that PRAYER WORKS. This is wonderful. The whole world is being blessed by these testimonials.
Thank you, THANK YOU ALL for what you are doing there.
Much love,

Cathy said...

From Cathy Stoddart RN,
Every night at 6pm I and many, are praying for our nurses and for Haiti. When I am at AGH I will be in the chapel in the lobby at 6pm for 5-10 mins of prayer, reflection, and fellowship, join me,(mon. and thurs.this week) I am so proud to be associated with all of you!
Be safe!

tvheaven said...

aunt cece, so glad to hear that you are safe and doing good work. shoulda packed more beers w/ your luggage, though... love, michael

Anonymous said...

Is mail getting through? Can we send supplies directly to the hotel? What is your most non-medical need? If possible send an address that may be a pick up point for you.

Kathleen said...

Thank goodness for almonds!! :)

Good job Aunt Cece and keep up the wonderful work you are doing...immeasurable in many ways!! Stay safe!! Love-Kathy