Wednesday, August 25, 2010

The Story from Haiti (Installations 1 & 2)


The team is safely back from Haiti and these blog installments will give a run down of what here orthotics team experienced during the week. Stay tuned for a few more updates:

Day 1. August 15th. The day has arrived. All the group get together in Miami except Julie. First person i see is Mike Oros and John Angelico and i cant help to hug them, im so happy to see them. Then i realize there is also a little woman right by them … Heather! so i say hello and i like her as soon as she asked the first question "Do you think its allright if i have shorts on?" Cause i knew later on she would get to realize how little i knew about fashion and how clueless i was about the situation in Haiti. I still said that it didn't matter to wear shorts but more to give her peace rather than for being sure about it. No one knew who Julie was. I picture her as a thin little asian woman... the group is jealous of me cause im going in first class. We get to Haiti, and we are surprised by the non chaotic situation of the airport. We find Julie, not at all what i imagined. Outside we find Gail, our host. Hop in the bus and start submerging into a totally different reality, a destroyed world. The energy of the group is good regardless of the first impressions of the city. But it is sad and i realize that it will take years in order to make this a better place. Garbage, poverty, disorder, dust, and tons of people selling stuff. The colorful buses give the city a brush of art and color. Life continues nevertheless and people find their way of surviving. It is amazing.

We get to the guest house. We are assigned a room for the girls, that room for me seemed taken out of an old fairy tale, maybe for the tones, and for the mosquito netting over the beds that looked like lace. Dinner was tasty. It frustrates me that Mike doesn't get a chocolate pudding. The group gets ready to hop in the pool. Its hot. I feel guilty about swimming when i know that 20 feet from there there are tents and poverty… but im too hot so i dive in anyways. After that we are told that our group will be leaving at 6 am. Before bed im introduced to a new card game Euchre. I think i never earned any respect from my group on that end. Time to go to bed and get ready for the adventure.

Day 2. We are supposed to wake up at 5h30 for Yoga. Heather will be the teacher. She wakes me up at 5h30 and tells me "DONI im actually going to sleep 15 min more" … so i guess there was no yoga that day. Breakfast, shower and got ready to leave. It would take us around 4 hours in order to get to Fond des Blancs , to the Spinal Cord Injury center. We traverse the messy capital again and we go past all sort of vendors. Mike needs to buy flip flops. So we stop in the market. A basket filled with tons of sandals, some were orphans , some had a mate.. finally found one pair that fit him; the girls also want something and they like my style ;) so they get a bandana, the group starts to gel and to look alike. Out of Port au Prince, we enter a green maze that mixes with the blue (bleu) sky.

Got to the Hospital and a beautiful french girl (Lauriane) received us. She is so small, that i feel like Hulk next to her. We start working right away. The PT in charge is not there. Lauriane guides us and introduces us to the patients. All injured during the earthquake. Beautiful people, all of them look like ebony sculptures. We all feel sorry for the situation and we try to make it as good as we can with the abilities we have learned. We all cast. Julie and Heather do too. They are great, real volunteers ready to do anything no matter what. We ended up seeing 6 pt's:

1. Dominique 26 y/o. Math Teacher. Spinal cord injury. Made 2 KAFOs (leg braces)

2. Mamette: 27 y/o. Beautiful woman. Mom of 2. Spinal Cord Injury, followed by some complications due to lack of compliance and care from her family. Got a TLSO (spinal brace) and 1 KAFO.

3. Gina: 26 y/o. Teacher. Spinal Cord Inijury complete. Very weak. Rx: B AFOs (foot braces) for transfer and positioning.

4. Monique: 26 y/o. Could not know much from her. She was deaf/mute. Spinal Cord Injury. Weakness. B AFOs for Transfer and positioning.

5. Nestly: Spinal Cord Injury and BE amputee. Mike starts to fabricate a prosthesis for him.

6. Maxo: 43 y/o. Carpenter. Spinal Cord Injury incomplete. HE had good strength on R leg. Rx: R AFO, L KAFO.

All patients injured after the earthquake. After hours of evals and castings Mike and I know that its going to be a hard butt kicking week. We go up to shower, to eat and to play some Euchre. Julie & I couple of smart ass girls choose the beds first, the ones againts the wall thinking that they were better... only to realize later what a bad choice we made cause the beds had tons of minuscule bugs walking all over. I sleep with socks, the socks on top of my pants, as if i was ready to ride a bike. Mike is not able to sleep that night due to the snoring of several guys in there.

Here are some pictures of the team and the action from these first two days. Another post to come 3 and 4!


1 comment:

  1. You, Dani, the "Hulk" next to Lauriene! She must have been small.

    So glad to hear about all of ROMP's patients in Hiati

    GO ROMP!