Thursday, May 13, 2010

All walks of life

So it's official that I have truly lost track of time down here. The funny thing is I don't find that I need sleep while I am here. There is so much to do and see throughout the course of a day.

This morning began around 7am. We wake up to the subtle murmur of Haitian Creole and quiet footsteps whispering back and forth through the halls. I roll out of my cot which is situated upstairs in a covered veranda with an open air balcony with multiple cots covered with mosquito nets. I then crawl downstairs to get a snack, we'll call it breakfast. One meal a day is served to the volunteers at the hospital. The rest is whatever you decide to bring with you. If your Powerbar supply runs out, too bad.

The diet of Haitians coming through these doors is a key factor in wound recovery. If you do a skin graft, you must have an adequate source of protein to rebuild that skin during the recovery process. As most Haitians cannot afford to eat and food supply is so scarce, most wound recovery is either slow or cannot occur at all.

At 7:30 a meeting begins outside at the main entrance. Volunteers line up on the stairs to hear how the course of the day will unfold. The team this week is brand new and we decided to utilize our friend David from Atlanta to help with translation. Dr. Gabriel called him his bodyguard (he's about 6'5")! I look around the room to see the different people and compare ailments. Families look curiously at me while I follow the team around. I am unable to speak Haitian Creole so I smile to them. They smile back.

Shortly after the team rounds to dress wounds, I head into the OR to see Dr. Gabriel and the LEAP team perform a second surgery on a young burn victim. Kelly is doing anesthesia this time. I glance over to the wall to see two exposed wires and flickering overhead flourescent light. The doors are battered and missing paint, the floors have mismatched tile, the operating table made of wood. The medical teams do not let these obstacles get in the way and I admire them for that. Meanwhile, several Haitian residents watch with a careful eye to witness the surgery and pick up on their technique.

This afternoon, I made an appointment to record video of a Haitian translator named Bermann Alexis. He's a truly talented young man with a big heart. His dream is to come to the US to play and sing his music to patients. He is just 33 years old and he has no brothers or sisters. He lost his parents to illness nearly ten years ago and says he has nothing to lose by pursuing his dream of performing in the US.

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