Beating the morning Sun up is never my favorite way to get out of bed. UNLESS I’m in Haiti. Today we start our clinic and we are so excited, except you can’t see it. Like drones we all arise from the pit of our beds (it’s not as though we slept for long), brushed and washed, anxiously scarfed down breakfast, and marched to our van all scrubs, medical supplies and bug spray.
Ironically enough, something about the rocky roads that like a sugary bowl of ice cream (no pun intended) energizes a previously drained group of students (+ 2). Maybe it was the sun coming up but nevertheless we are now burning with anticipation to see how our urgent planning pans out. Preparing ahead of time only goes so far. Today we aim to see 150+ patients. That’s right, 150+. The most humbling part is that we all feel blessed to be able to do so; I know because of our lengthy meeting the night before. Three hours of sleep has nothing on the self gratification of helping others and the humility and thankfulness of the people we are doing it for.
We need to get used to this as we all will be doctors in the future (spoken into existence). Once again, no complaints but boasting (maybe excessively but whatevs ¯\_( ˘͡ ˘̯)_/¯ ).
We’ll let you know how it goes.
Till next time.
Signing off, 1 of 18 drones with a cause.
Don’t attach yourself to the method, attach yourself to goals.
The first day of the clinic was beyond hectic. We arrived at the school that hosted our excursion and a lengthy line greeted us warmly, some a bit impatiently (it happens). “Bonjour monsier et madame”, eloquently spoken by myself excited for the day at hand. Considering I awoke at 5:30 to ride 5 -10 minutes to our destination, it is disheartening to consider anyone else’s trek through muddy streets, rain and unforeseen peril for the possibility of being helped (I mean, 16 of us are students).
The first hour was messier than a baby’s high chair during lunch time. Planning for the unknown is only as beneficial as everyone is versatile; you can’t prepare for what you cannot see coming. People show up late, plans change and personnel sometimes don’t do what they were expected to do (or what they were hired to do, shade included). Within an hour of opening we were backed up with an overflow of 50+ patients outside of the front gates. At that moment we realized the rest of our thoroughly planned mission trip could leave us feeling one of two ways: underwhelmed or seemingly gratified: hopefully the latter. Still, we trudged forward.
Versatility is a necessity, especially when dealing with affairs like these.
It was in an instant that I was convinced that like minds truly attracted one another. Its wild how gears shift drastically and unexpectedly. Though many factors did not go as planned, perseverance and pure determination changed our plans to shape our goals.
Triage, which was allocated to be handled by a professional, was now being handled by a new team of students. A make shift team was made to oversee the floor (waiting room) and lead patients to their destinations as well as manage incoming patients. Physicals and medical histories moved quickly and more efficiently, even considering a language barrier and translation delays. The overflow of patients coming in translated to an excess of patients awaiting medication, which a pharmacy team of 2.5 handled flawlessly (Pharm Team stand up!). And for any contingencies, the management team handled a group of floaters that performed, when needed, like 6th man, Louis Williams (the other .5, hence the aforementioned 2.5).
It was truly a sight to see.
Of course, these thoughts only come clear in hindsight. Who really thinks about the whole of what is going on while it is going on? That’s like riding a bike thinking “Hey! I’m riding a bike!”… nah. While all of this was occurring everyone was wholly consumed in doing what was needed to reach our predetermined quota of 150. (which we met beyond measure).
It is important not to attach yourself to the methods but rather the goals you truly aim to accomplish as only through which can you reach fulfillment. By the time we reached closing time and handed patient number 158 their well deserved medication, I was convinced everyone of our Med Squad (#Squad!) had a heart full of service, “yon kè plen nan sèvis” (I don’t think it translates literally but we all get the gist).
Capping off our day, we hosted seminars that educated those very patients we had recently seen on topics such as Hypertension, diabetes, heart disease, cervical cancer, chikungunya, malaria, chicken pox among other selectively chosen ailments that plague the island of Hispanola. Although the turn out was not as we expected, we counted our blessings because the day was nothing short of miraculous.
I, myself, was in room three, singing lyrics like “boiled, not fried” (buwi, pa fri), with elderly hypertensive ladies: although it sounds a bit elementary it was actually fun! I can’t begin to describe how grateful they were. Seeing their enthusiasm for learning about their health was refreshing; reminiscent of the air un-appreciation presented often in the states (let’s be honest).
With day one counted for and notch one in the belt, we prepare for notch two. We’ve gone through the flames of the unexpected and our next stop is the skies, no layover. Rest will be the cherry on the icing on today’s cake
One exhausted medical preprofessional student