Saturday, June 30, 2012

Guess who just became the first member of the triple rectal exam club amongst the Tufts in Haiti group?  Me.   Well sort of triple, did another exam and then an external exam where I saw an external hemorrhoid not to gross any of you out.  Maybe that puts me in the 2 ½ rectal exam club.  In other exciting news being in clinic, I had to give a patient an IM gluteal shot, the first shot I ever gave aside from practicing on each other.  I didn’t think the first shot I’d give would be in the butt but it happened.   The patient had hematuria (blood in the urine), and given his symptoms and urine test, he either has chlamydia or gonorrhea, so we had to give a shot of ceftriaxone.  I was terrified to give him the shot.  He complained afterwards that his whole leg hurt, so I was absolutely petrified I had accidentally injected into his sciatic nerve, but I was reassured if I had, he would’ve been screaming and writhing in pain.  In hindsight, I was nowhere near where the sciatic nerve even is (not all my anatomy has been forgotten).  Even during the interview he said he had all these symptoms during the interview, and on exam he never winced.  He seemed to be generally overreacting.  The thing I really hope is that he brings his partner because she may be asymptomatic but have the disease.  We tried to reinforce that if she doesn’t come in, he has the risk of being reinfected if she has the disease.  I also don’t think he was too happy about no sex for 7 days, or it might’ve just been him being angry with me for giving him the shot, maybe a combination of both.   The infectious disease residents who also live on the compound thought it was funny that I was so excited to give my first shot haha.  Such a newbie.

The group seems to be a little burned out now that we’ve almost reached July!!  (<12 HOURS!)  A group of electricians were here since the 2nd week of June with us, but they just left on Wednesday.  It was definitely difficult for the group.  They were here the longest, and every week we say goodbye to a new set of people.  Plus, they were so much fun to be around and all around great guys.  They were mostly retired electricians (except a couple of young guys) who were here to work on the generator system here that’s basically on its last legs.  We feel constantly abandoned when people leave.  We’ve been so lucky to have such a great rotation of physicians, including Dr. K and Dean Sackey, who have taught us so much about medicine.  This upcoming week is our last week with American physicians (one who is a gastroenterologist at Tufts), so we’re running out of mentors fast.  It’s beyond quiet right now on the porch, the quietest it’s ever been.  There is another group here, natural family planning.  I’ll keep my opinions to myself on that one.

While we were in Limonade on Thursday, I took a sample of the day care center which was right next to the dispensaire.  I should’ve taken a picture with the kids because they were adorable and clamoring at me, trying to hold my hand and shouting “blanc” haha.  I think they see me as a very strange looking white person.  Talking with the locals here about drinking water, I was so surprised that even in the villages, people knew a lot about how to treat drinking water, or just buying treated water.  My suspicion though is that the villages we go to, though they seem remote, are the 3 closest villages to Milot which probably means that a lot of NGOs are around.  I’m sure if we were in the absolute middle of nowhere, that would not be the case.

Yesterday I had to give a presentation to the community health agents about water sanitation and diarrheal illnesses.  Let’s just say, the group had a great day talking about poop.  But, I was really happy that they were very participatory in the presentation.  They asked a lot of great questions so it felt great that I was hopefully giving them information that would be useful in the community.

For the last day of June, the majority of the group went into Cap-Haitien, the second largest city in Haiti and where we originally flew into.  This is walking along the pier, so it's much less busier than the central part of the city (and less dirty).

First stop was Croissant Dor, a bakery in town.  Let me just say, it was absolute heaven to have a pastry again.  I did become a fatty again and ate a cheesecake (more like custard) and something like a croissant.  I died of heaven.  Skinny bitch diet just went down the drain.

Well, I thought I died of heaven until I went to the American shop next store, and then I really died of heaven because I found these gems: Cinnamon Toast Crunch and Coke Zero, the jackpot.  It cost $7, but I was surprised it wasn’t more like $10+ so I took that happily to indulge in myself.  Nothing hit the spot like the Coke Zero.  I’m saving the Cinnamon Toast Crunch for tomorrow when I hit July although it’s staring me in the face to be eaten.


Final stop was this posh hotel in Cap-Haitien.  It was just $4 to enter, so I lounged by the pool for hours on end, reading Water for Elephants.  In just an afternoon, I read more than a third of it.  Sometimes island life is pretty sweet.

Lisa used to be a synchronized swimmer, so then Alec tried to follow her.

Nadya and Alec apparently have the same sized arms, so they decided to compete in an arm-wrestling match.  Alec did win, although he was in some pain afterwards HAHA.

Beautiful flowers, reminds me of Hawaii!!  Who can complain about island life when I get to lounge by a beautiful hotel with beautiful hibiscus flowers?  There are some great hotels and resorts in Haiti that are so under-appreciated.

All in all, I’m definitely trying to take in everything for the last 2 full weeks, since I expect to do very little work during the half week in mid-July before I go home.   I still need to do some hikes I haven’t yet explored, get souvenirs for everyone, and just sit on the porch and absorb the last bit of island life.  But, now that July is in sight, the countdown begins!

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