This time I asked Breanna (one of our nurses down here) to write about her everyday life in the clinic and give us some perspective on what goes on between all those spectacular injuries and stitch jobs! For those of us that look at the blog from Stateside, it's easy to forget that for every unique and extreme situation we encounter down here there are, perhaps, 75-100 normal, everyday cases that come into the clinic- some colds, the flu, an ear ache, a pulled muscle, parasites, a few headaches... simple and routine things that bring an otherwise exciting job down life's lower echelons of monotony.
But isn't almost everything in life that way? People go around looking for their "dream" job, only to find that it, too, becomes commonplace and almost boring! Hence the reason we can't rely on earthly situations and circumstances for our joy in life- the only real source of joy can ONLY be found in our relationship with the Lord Jesus. Walking with Him throughout the day, talking with Him, reading and loving His Word and telling the great news of what He's done for us to others.
Well, enough of my little preface! Without further delay, here is Breanna's account of her daily life in the Aleg medical clinic...
When Nathan asked me to come up with a blog post – the subject being, “What Breanna does in the clinic” – I felt like, oh no, this is sort of a difficult task, because I don’t feel like what I do would make anything close to an intriguing blog post! Especially speaking of my job on a conventional level. However, I have to give it my best shot.
I believe I will just write about my day today…that’s about as average as I can get…
I arrived at 8:30am. As is typical, I began my morning by first of all greeting the Haitian workers one by one with a handshake and exchanging greetings. Then I collected all of my usual cleaning and bandaging supplies for my “leg man” before bringing him inside. You have probably seen pictures on this site of the man with the large leg infection. After assembling my supplies, I went outside and hailed him in. I went through my daily routine of cleaning and re-bandaging his leg.
It’s healing up great! It’s fun to see the progress its making. Something that is very obvious if I look at a picture first and then compare it to its current state! The day he first came in, I was shocked at the smell (!!!!), its decomposing and how utterly gross it was. But we are all so impressed now – it’s a miracle how the body can heal itself.
After completing that, I noticed that I have some time before clinic officially begins and regular patients enter the clinic. I decided to bring in my next project – a little boy that had come in last evening when I was on call – he had bent the toenail on his big toe completely backwards. OUCH!! Yesterday I had cleaned and bandaged it – it was obviously quite sensitive then.
Today, I trimmed the toenail back to as far as I could, and cleaned it again – as I was cleaning it, of course it hurt some – but he was so cute, he wouldn’t move his foot away from me at all, he would simply slowly bend his toe away from me if I pressed too hard, and he’d wrinkle up his nose a little. I’d smile at him every once in awhile and tell him “preske fini” (almost finished) and he’d grin right back with such trusting, adorable little eyes…I tried to go at it very gently. Soon we were done, I bandaged him again, and he gave me a big smile and hopped off his chair. I told him to come back again tomorrow.
Clinic officially was beginning. The nurses were ready to give consultations, so I then went to my main job – taking blood pressures, temperatures, and keeping general order in the waiting room. After I did that for a time, the “foot lady” arrived. Our names for people are sort of…”original”, ha! You can read about her on this blog as well.
Her calluses around the wound periodically need removed with a scalpel, and today it was getting to the place where it needed to get done. So I did that, which took awhile, it was sort of a fun little project. Shortly after finishing her foot, I stuffed an abscess on “the neck guy” – he had an infected lymph node that turned into an abscess that mainly Michael has been packing every day for awhile. Today I got the job though.
After that, I returned to taking vitals…popping in to see what interesting cases Michael and Anita have…being an extra set of hands here and there…Both of them have been wonderful teachers to me since my arrival here 4 months ago (to the day!). Medicine in Haiti is unique in and of itself. I have learned much and attribute that largely to their patience and willingness to explain things and answer questions.
At about 12:00pm, all the patients were seen, cared for, medications handed about by the pharmacy, and we were ready to close for the day!! Virginia was on call – which means that any after hour emergencies are for her to oversee. Everything went very smoothly and for that we are so thankful!