Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Under the Sea...

Check out this video a friend took when we went casually snorkeling just off the coast of Haiti... just another look at the hidden beauty of Haiti!


Friday, April 4, 2014

Clinical English

Welcome to my classroom for a day... with the help of the Bristol Family, who has been helping out at FSIL for the past 2.5 months, and their three friends visiting from Minnesota, we were able to put my 2nd year English students through their paces with a Clinical English Class. They had to assess and treat "patients" and then be grilled by a "physician," all in English. Costumes, fake injuries, and all, it was a lot of fun and the students did an awesome job! It was fantastic practice for them, as our students are often called upon by visiting medical groups to assist in their mobile clinics and are infinitely useful (and most helpful to patients!) if they can also act as translators.

One of our clinical instructors being our demonstration nurse

Willow, who had a rash and a fever

Hans had a burn from riding a motorcycle... his Dad told him not to...

They were putting Kristofer in all kinds of fun positions because of his breathing issues!

Christina described her fatigue, increased urination, constant hunger, and omnipresent thirst while chowing down on M&Ms and drinking a Coke.. who can guess her malady?

"Dr. Theresa" testing the student's clinical knowledge 

Monday, March 31, 2014

Vocation of the Healthcare Professional

Last week, I went over to the local orphanage with a group of nursing students to sing some songs and do some crafts. I was not expecting to be inspired… but sometimes that happens when you least expect it.

The baby-lover that I am, I found myself in the nursery. I am picking up all of these little nuggets, playing a little, having a great time. But here in this corner is one baby, Sonia. She has clubbed feet, crossed eyes, and is developmentally delayed: she probably wound up in the orphanage because her parents could not care for a disabled child. On top of all of this, she has a nasty rash coming down her face and neck and a lip covered in boogers. It was vile and infected. I see one of the nursing students go and get a first aid kit. She scoops up the baby and spends the next hour giving her a bath, talking to her, treating the infected rash, cleaning out her ears and nose, and reporting the situation to the orphanage staff so the baby can get antibiotics and further care.

In the past year as I have applied to medical school, I have written at least 20 essays on the kind of doctor that I want to be: skilled, knowledgeable, culturally sensitive, creative, innovative. I have written blog posts about love and service and care. But here it all was in one young nurse, taking the time to quietly and unassumingly care for a sick little baby. 

'Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.' Matthew 25:40 

Saturday, March 22, 2014

"It Always Seems Impossible Until it is [almost] Done."

Look at those stacks of boxes 

Can you stack boxes like that?

Catheters for dayssss 

Ok, it looks like nothing and I am quoting Nelson Mandela about apartheid. But these pictures represents hundreds of thousands of dollars of money saved by the hospital after three months of work on my part. St. Croix has received donations of medical supplies for a number of years and no one had really taken responsibility or been able to read the English that the boxes were labeled with to be able to get them in order. I spent 20ish hours a week for the last three months sorting through these boxes (where syringes and cast materials often laid side by side with ice packs and medications), getting them in order, and this week I created a bilingual inventory of the hospital. During my three months, I often felt like Santa Clause. I would appear with IV start kits or syringes or nebulizer masks and delight the nurses who were washing masks or using the wrong sized syringes. Still, the boxes kept coming and the work seemed never ending. Just in time for the humidity to ramp up again, I can see the light at the end of the tunnel. It really did seem impossible. But now it is (almost) done. 

There is still work that remains, including training the staff on how to use the new digitized system, getting my stock policies approved,  cleaning up a few more problem areas, and (once my fluorescent pink labels arrive from the USA) labeling each box in French. But for now, I am feeling pretty proud that the hospital now has access to all of these fantastic resources. 
A before shot of a stock room that flooded that I have now emptied! 

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Midnight Breakfast!!!

When Fordham's President Fr. Joseph McShane sat all of our parents down as they were dropping off their kids at this strange place in the Bronx, he wanted to assure them that we would be loved and formed by our next four years in a fantastic family. This was the first time I ever heard tell of one of my favorite Fordham traditions, Midnight Breakfast. One night during the finals exam period every semester, they throw open the doors to the cafeteria and everyone is invited in for a smorgasbord of bagels, waffles, eggs, juice, coffee, and soda served by the school's administration (Father McShane always gave you bacon and good luck). Students crawl out of the library, put down their notes, and catch up with friends, relax, and enjoy an hour of food and caffeine. It was always such a glorious break full of love and laughter.

Fast forward a year, we are worried about the students and their stress levels during finals here at FSIL. Putting heads together with the family living here for a couple of months, we hosted FSIL's first ever Midnight Breakfast. 310 eggs, 180 pancakes (and having bought out all of the pancake mix in Leogane), and 6 gallons of Tang later, we had some happy students. Humorously, we have about 9 bottles of leftover syrup. It was most of the students first time ever eating pancakes and they didn't know to use it!

Me and my favorite food. 

36 onions, 36 peppers, and 1 knife with a handle on it. 

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Lenten Reflections

I know I owe you all a pile of pictures from Carnival, but in the meantime, I wanted to make sure everyone knows that this years YASCers have all joined together to bring you daily Lenten Reflections. My friends around the world are great people with great perspectives, I hope that you will enjoy their reflections as much as I do! Look out for my posts later in the season!
Go here --->http://yasclenten.blogspot.com/

Thursday, February 27, 2014

A Thousand Little Tragedies

I was looking out over the gorgeous mountains on a pleasant day, surrounded by the singing of my coworkers and suddenly these words popped into my mind. A thousand little tragedies. Babies were dying because mom couldn’t make the eight hour trek to the nearest hospital. Women were being abused and had no recourse to do anything about it. Hundreds of thousands of children with no money for school would never know the joy of getting lost in a book or the satisfaction of putting pen to paper.

And yet, there is dancing and singing and laughing and praying. There is love and marriage and parents cooing over first steps. There are games of soccer, girls doing their hair to impress that boy they like, women who will cook for days to prepare for guests. There are mountains that approach the sea, sunsets that will take your breath away, and more stars than I have ever seen in my life.

Yes, there are a thousand little tragedies in Haiti and they are easy to identify and focus on. But there are people who endure them with joy and hope because there are also the thousand little miracles of life. Haitians certainly know how to celebrate life… stay tuned to hear about Carnival!

Sunrise on the beach during the nursing school staff retreat this weekend in Port Salut. Three days full of strategic planning, brainstorming, and great team building! It is truly a pleasure to work for FSIL because of the ownership that the staff and students feel for the school. All but a handful of the staff are FSIL graduates and they are willing to work very hard to make sure that the next generation succeeds.

We had dinner on the beach the last night and drank from coconuts to the music of a traditional band. The Dean made sure everyone was up and dancing by the end!