Well, I neglected to write anything last night because we were trying to set up a meeting for Friday with a local orphanage,
and I was just too tired to write anything. So here goes, a 2 day summary….
Yesterday we were at St. Vincent’s again, and had a chance to see some return patients which is always nice. Here is a picture of one who came with a raging fever and cough, and after 2 doses of Belladonna was totally fine, you can see his big grin in the picture. With this kind of work, it is hard to get any follow up information, but at St. Vincent’s there is that opportunity since we return there every month or so.
We saw a whole group of children who had actually come for a consultation with the pediatrician and orthopedist, but had to settle for the Homeopaths! The doctors never showed, which is not unusual for Haiti. So we helped those we could who had flu symptoms or digestive problems.
Today we returned to the nursing school, but not to teach, to see some of the nurses who had need of help. We treated about 40 of them in 1.5 hours.
Brief consultations where you are listening for the strange symptom to stand out and point to a remedy, such as headache over the right eye in one particular spot. Or joint pain that is better when moving and worst right when you get out of bed in the morning. A style of prescribing that is quite different from how I work at my clinic, but these people have so little suppression from medications that there are indeed very clear and concise symptoms. It is often quite easy to see the remedy.
After that, we went to lunch again at the Hotel Oluffson and had a delicious Haitian meal with a woman who is a friend of one of our volunteers.
Then she and her driver took us to the house of an old woman who worked for her family for years. She had an ulcer on her leg that had not healed.
So we gave her a remedy and some calendula lotion, and on the way out we treated 2 families who stopped us to say they were ill…It was the first time we were in anyone’s home and it is quite an eye opener.
Next stop, Petionville, which is in the mountains above PAP and used to be the nicest part of Haiti. There we could use an ATM, get more money on the cell phone, and do some shopping. You can’t imagine how many people are here, they are in the streets walking, in the shops, selling all manner of things from chewing gum to turtle shells!
We also had to buy minutes for our cell phone, and
you can stop at any number of red umbrellas set up on the roadside, where a man will recharge your phone and collect your money. It is unbelievable that it actually worked!
So now to the cholera question. Here is what I know: It was brought to Haiti by a group of UN Nepalese workers. There had been an outbreak in Nepal this summer and the workers were set up in a camp on the Artibonite River in the north of Haiti. The first cases were all just down from this camp. there is little doubt that is where it originated.
It has arrived in PAP from people who had come from that area. It is in a tent camp here, and the fear is that it could spread quite quickly from there, being that the conditions are perfect for an epidemic. So, we are being careful, and even at lunch today at the hotel we did not eat salad, as the woman who was with us, being Haitian, warned us to avoid it. But it is not yet rampant in PAP, and is yet to be seen whether it will be.
The sad thing is that it has not been in Haiti in 60 years, and is not endemic to this area. However, with the trauma of th earthquake, and the living conditions of thousands and thousands of Haitians, it could become quite a problem. One thing that is interesting about it, is that once again susceptibility plays a role. Not everyone drinking from the contaminated river water has gotten cholera.
Tomorrow we head off to treat we don’t know who in a place we have never been with a driver we just met yesterday. So hopefully it will all work out, and I will post the results of another great day in PAP tomorrow!