Tuesday, September 30, 2014
The Big "C" Word
I was looking forward to being on call at the clinic for the weekend. I assumed that with all the rain that we've been getting, it wouldn't be too busy and I could get some other little things done. I got started about 8:30 Saturday morning bandaging several return patients and seeing a couple others. Marcile came down to restock the pharmacy. "Maybe today I can actually help her!", I thought. She asked if I was having a busy morning. "Oh, no, not really! Just a few people, nothing serious." was my reply. Minutes later, Mali walked in to get some meds from the pharmacy, and informed me that a cot had just been carried in with a very sick-looking boy on it. I quickly stuffed my hands into some gloves and stepped outside to find just what she said; a very sick boy. The crowd that carried him told me that he had had watery diarrhea since the evening before, but that there was too much rain to bring him sooner. His altered level of consciousness and deeply sunken eyes showed how extremely dehydrated he already was! I'd never personally had a patient with cholera before, but I remembered hearing about the certain smell it has, and I was sure that what I was smelling had to be that certain smell! We usually send cholera patients to another small clinic about 10 minutes away that has a cholera center, but they've been closed recently, so we made a quick decision to put him on a cot in the shack in front of the clinic. I ran to get everything for an IV. Meanwhile Fre Daniel got on the ball spraying everything and everyone down with Clorox water. In the process of getting the boy carried up to the shack, Fre Noas came into the shack where I was setting up and grabbed my arm saying, "Mis Whitney, come quickly! I think maybe he died, I don't know!" I ran out where they'd set him down just outside, and heard his gurgling respirations. "He's still alive! Now carry him in fast!" I told them. As soon as we got him propped on the cot, Mali and I started the desperate search for a vein that looked good enough for an IV.
I asked, "What problem does it have?"
"I can't open it." was his reason. "Oh but look, you can open it to talk!" I pointed out, at which he shut his mouth tightly and started talking like that. Hiding my own smirking smile, I offered one more solution; "I'll help you open your mouth then!" That didn't sound like help to him. Finally I just laughed and told him if he's well enough to be that naughty, he's well enough to go home. :)
I waited to post this til this morning so I could get this photo of him...looking much better! :) We're in a bit of a difficult position with the Bases hospital being closed, cause we aren't really set up to open a cholera center here should there be a bunch more coming, so please pray that there won't be! Have a blessed day!