Saturday, July 23, 2011

Following Inea

It's 2 am and there is both electricity and an internet signal. Unfortunately the battery on my computer died so if I am to take advantage of this unique occurance, I am obliged to sit in the dining room and give the marengwen (mosquitos) free reign. 

Wednesday I introduced you to Inea. We had sent her to Sacre-Coeur Hospital in Milot with senior students Edwina and Camiose. Student advocates are selected carefully, in this case Camiose plans  to study nursing and Edwina wants to be a doctor.

Thursday Edwina and Inea returned to the hospital. Camiose was unavailable, taking on tutoring duties to help Talien through his rewrites in August.

Camiose tutoring Talien -what does BIJECTIF mean?
They arrived back here with the gift of a  diagnosis. It has taken years of personal visits and sending request forms to clinics and hospitals to arrive at an understanding with each organization that we need accurate information  not only to serve our young people but to get a handle on the illnesses they suffer and the causes. Only then can we take appropriate action. This is how our potable water distribution program came into being. We tracked the number of water-born illnesses for a year. But I digress.

She has a battle ahead of her- - tuberculose ganglionnaire et kyste thyroglossal. (Lymph node tuberculosis and thyroglossal duct cyst) In addition to meds and monthly follow-up appointments at Milot, because active TB, she was also referred to l'hopital Fort Sen Michel for dressing changes on the open wound, more meds, and information re: the role of Sante Publik in tracking her disease. Tuberculosis should be a thing of the past.

Edwina explains regimen for TB patients

Edwina is turning into a fine advocate, asking the right questions, getting the answers and passing all information on to us. As Fort Sen Michel is in town, it only required half a day for a consultation.  The ultimatum that she move from her tikay immediately caught us off guard and completely unprepared. What a bombshell - Inea was told at the TB clinic that she had to move from the place she was staying as the kind woman who had taken in the 2 sisters has active TB and has not sought treatment. She is the reason Inea is ill. The ultimatum was laid down because someone who is infected and receiving treatment has no chance of recovery if the source of the infection is still present and untreated.   Sante Publik would not provide meds unless she moved. Meds must be taken at 6am with food and again at 5 pm.  In addition as she is underage, the person delivering the meds must sign a daily log and present it weekly at the hospital as medication is provided for 7 days. There are also mandatory monthly follow-ups at Milot.  This is a 6 month regimen at which time she will be re-assessed re: surgical intervention. What do we do now?

Boss Serafin at work with machete - clean up!!

Before the dilemma presented itself,  Boss Franck and Boss Serafin had arrived at 7 am Friday to cut down trees (with a single machete of course)  and help us clean up the compound.  In the midst of this chaos, there is  a now- homeless, sick teenage girl (with a younger sister probably in need of TB testing as well) sitting on our gallery looking like the proverbial deer caught in the headlights. Parents dead, and now told she has to move - immediately. There are no easy solutions in Haiti - no support for communicable diseases, no respite programs...

A quick conversation with Mme. Carmene cooking in the kitchen explained the situation. We ask - if we can find a clean room or 2 to rent in her neighborhood, would she consider cooking and delivering the food morning and afternoon. Her daughter Markdalina is one of our students and could help. It would increase Carmene's work load but also her paycheck. The bonus - she could work from home. Yes she knew of a place. We sent Inea and Edwina to her place to pack her meager possessions. As we needed temporary quarters,  our security apt, only occupied when I am in Canada, was torn apart, cleaned from top to bottom. Bringing the girls here is not my first choice but given the time constraint, it was the only option. It's a temporary measure but gives the girls a clean place with safe water, a toilet and shower as well as the support of our staff. Unfortuately I am the 6 am cook. 

We loaded the truck with wood cut from our trees and delivered a load to Boss Franck's brother, who will make cooking charcoal out ot it. Auguste took a quick look at the potential rental space at the same time, then returned for me.  Myriame and Jean-Ricot agreed to work late to accommodate.

The rental space was as expected - a single cement block construction room - new but unfinished. The tol roof has holes, which the owner says he will fill with mastik. He will let us finish the walls (krepisay) add a screen door and cover the windows with screening. Location is ideal - about 10 feet behind Carmene's house. Now we need furniture, bedding, etc.

After the look-see, we headed to pick up Inea and sister Dina, a precocious 16 yr old  terrified of our dogs.  We spoke at length with Mme who had taken in the girls and asked her to please get tested at the hospital, as Sante Publik would pay for her meds. She was obviously very ill and depressed, and explained that she just has bronchitis and it will go away. How many more  people will be infected by contact with her? We promised to keep in touch and returned to the house by 6pm, at which time everyone left me with 2 hungry teenage girls who were now, in their eyes, living in Paradise (except for the hounds from hell!)

Sisters Dina (16) and Inea (17) - first meal at Lakay.
I do not remember this being in the job description.

Pi ta (later)

PS It's now 7:40 am. Inea took her meds for Tuberculosis and ate at 6am. She is now covered with an itchy red rash, getting itchier by the second. She also said she feels as though her throat is closing.  I've given her Benadryl. Sante Publik is closed for the weekend so Monday early we'll head to the clinic and explain why she stopped taking the meds. It just keeps getting better. 

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