Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Machetes & Medicine in the Developing World : PART TWO!

Written, once again, by Britt:

When was the last time I did this? Monday? Okay, well today is Wednesday. Deja vu? I think so.
I had just put the kids down for nap; I babysat today while my parents took Paige to the airport and ran some other errands in Port. Madam Rony, our Pastor's wife, came to the gate saying "san anpil" which means "bleeding a lot". Sure enough, her son, Wisleya (pronounced weeslaya) was sitting below with a trail of blood behind him. I'm still not sure why he walked up here, but they say hindsight is always 20-20, right?

I grabbed some gloves and some other supplies and headed down to check it out. Unfortunately I have NO photos since my parents took the camera to town today and Paige took the other one to the states. The cut was pretty bad, I could tell it needed stitches. After the last stitches incident, I looked at our medical book, Where There Is No Doctor: a village health care handbook; in it, to determine if stitches are needed it says to "see if the edges of the skin come together by themselves" ... well that definitely wasn't gonna happen.

As I'm trying to get the cut to stop bleeding, I asked how he got it. One word (that I am coming to despise): machete, which is 'manchet' in Creole (the 'n' is silent).

We are now seriously considering having a seminar for local parents on not allowing their children to be anywhere near these dangerous tools/weapons. Man! I can't believe how bad of cuts these machetes are producing! I really hope we can go a few weeks (or more!) before this happens again. Maybe after two boys needing stitches, the message will get out? You can't really ever be sure though.**

At the time, neither Lifeline vehicles were here, so I got the bleeding to stop for the most part and had him sit in a more comfortable place. Jason came soon afterwards and we decided to take him to the same lady who had stitched up Wellson on Monday. So, again, off we went (we, being Jason, Robenson, me, Mme. Rony,Wisleya, and Sonja, their cousin).

The good lady, who we presume has had some sort of schooling, stitched him up. She was saying & as I looked closer, I realized (duh) that you could see the bone! Wisleya as far as I can understand (even after asking Robenson, our translator, how exactly it happened) had just walked by and the machete was leaning against something and came down on his ankle. Or something like that. He has about a two inch cut right on the top of the ankle bone, on the outside of his leg.

The stitches went well, it was a little difficult since the skin on the ankle is so thin, but she managed to sew him up and did a good job (I thought). For it not being a clinic, and not knowing if she just learned this off the street, I was pleased/impressed. She gave him a tetanus shot and some medicine. The bill this time came to 500 Haitian dollars, which is about $63 US. Now, I'd like to ask Jamie & Sharon/Dr. Vik how much sutures cost in the states. We'd just like to know simply to compare. I asked why Wisleya's was more than Wellson's (only 7 US dollars more) and Robenson said because it was more serious/worse of a cut. It sure took a lot less time to stitch and caused less pain (or so it appeared) but I guess not by Haitian standards. The other cut was larger and more difficult to stitch but you couldn't see bone so maybe that's what upped the price? I don't think they have a reason for lots of things they do here. Like putting toothpaste on cuts & sores .... ahh that's another story as well.

Wisleya is currently at his house; later I plan to go re-dress the wound and give him ibuprofen. We tried to ask him not to walk on it, but at the clinic the 'nurse' said he could and so he went to go to the bathroom across the road and it instantly started bleeding again. Duh! After that, the good 'nurse' changed her mind and told him he shouldn't walk on it. (ya think?!)

We are taking Wellson and Wisleya (who is 15 & a 5th grader at the school here) back to the nurse, per her request, on Friday morning. Tomorrow is Haiti's Flag Day celebration so the kids won't have school, which is good since neither Wellson or Wisleya should come.

** A perfect example of what I'm talking about ... we'd arrived back in La Digue and Jason had just carried Wisleya inside his house ... right on the side of the road was a smaller size machete. I picked it up and handed it to Sonja, wishing I could say "aghhh! You see what I'm talking about?!" because I had told her that parents should try to be more careful about where they lie their niceties to rest inbetween uses. It was on the road!! Where lots of kids walk barefoot. Well, basically all of them are barefoot. Also, yesterday my mom and I saw a little boy (maybe 5) holding a big, rusty machete.