On Wednesday, I spent a good portion of my afternoon organizing the medical cabinets. This is no small task, being that I am a perfectionist freak at times. My disorder is actually called OCPD, according to my family, this is what I have:
So after better understanding my 'disorder', it's very easy to see how it probably took me longer organizing & putting away the supplies that Lori had so generously given me last week when I visited them and their amazing ministry in Cazale.
The point of this is just to thank God for his awesome timing! Wednesday was the first day that I was really organized and ready to put my newly learned skills to work. On Thursday, amidst all extra responsibilities with my parents being gone, my first official stitches patient showed up. Had they come any earlier, it might have put my OCPD self into melt-down mode since I wasn't ready and didn't have a specific shelf designated just for the supplies needed for suturing.
I had just put the boys down for nap so I didn't have anything else to do besides pray for my parents in PAP. She, my stitching recipient - came at a perfect time and really helped get my mind off of the situation at hand. I know that that might not make sense to some, but it really couldn't have been better timing.
This is the audience that gathered -mainly the cooks- most of them left after they saw the needle. Pike (pronounced 'picky' - meaning shot) is a very un-loved & feared word of the Creole language.
Me working on my patient, a 18yr old young lady - she guessed that I was 20 - and didn't really believe me when I told her otherwise. At least I tried to be honest. :)
The first chance I had to do this on my own was a very straight, clean cut. I was thankful for an opportunity to practice on an easy cut. I was glad it was not a little kid. For some, it might seem really odd that I am doing this without going to school for a bunch of years, but I want to assure you that I prayed first with the patient and that I would never even try to do something that scared me or that needed help I could not confidently offer. The sad reality here is that if someone wants stitches they have few choices. Me, or a lady about twenty minutes drive away that charges $60 U.S. That lady is more practiced and is GOOD at what she does ... BUT, $60 U.S. is about two or three months salary for most Haitans. Almost all of them would opt to skip the stitches all together if they had to pay that much. Lori at Cazale was so awesome to let me watch and to teach me ... THANK YOU LORI for all of the supplies and the lesson that allowed me to do this! More photos below.
Also, for the coolest medical blog in history, go to http://www.xanga.com/haitinurse4life