I want you all to know that I am always open to suggestions. I never take a patient with a problem I am not familiar with. I know that what I am doing is kind of frowned upon by those who don't get it, or have never been to the developing world or seen some of the situations.
Saying that there is no better option is true and it isn't. Out by where we live, there really isn't a place that provides reliable quality care - concerning sutures especially. In the last week I've taken a patient who went to one of these 'local providers' and had sutures done that really were less than satisfactory (and that's putting it nicely). Pierre, the man whose finger we amputated, previously went to a 'clinic' and had it amputated but then came to us to fix that original work, in-order to make it so that the finger would heal. Please understand that I am not criticizing Haitian healthcare organizations, facilities or providers. All I am saying, is some of the things in this area are not performed/handled properly. A lot of people get NO help when going to the area clinics.
So if I seem to have a 'knack' for doing stitches and enjoy having the opportunity to offer this service, then it seems like a good, beneficial thing to me. I would never take a wound or any case that was too big of an undertaking for me. I know my limits. Weekly, I am sending stuff on that is too big for me - abscesses, fevers, infected bones, ect. Like, I willingly tell the Haitians who come daily with their babies who have fevers .... I am not a doctor. I am not a nurse. And I don't intend to act like I am one. . I don't have the skills or knowledge to diagnose why it is your baby has this fever or give out prescriptions or fever medications. The people I have helped have a choice to use my help or go elsewhere, I am not forcing myself upon them. I hope to one-day become a doctor and be able to do more of these things, but for now I will stick to what I know - suturing, wound care, and basic common-sense first aid.
I never want it to appear that I view myself as health 'expert' or that I am 'on a high horse' concerning the small contributions I get the privelege to make here. I am sixteen for pete's sake. I have learned a ton from nurse and doctor friends and through studying online/textbook resources, and experience. Learning to suture has been the coolest thing because not only is it helping me feel like I have a jump-start in the 'medical world' but it has been a very necessary skill. I just counted the other day and since learning how to suture from my friend Lori in June of '06, I have seen 20 suture patients. If a cut is too much for my current skill/knowledge level --- I have no problem trying to figure out the next place to send the person.
This is the first ever ear that I sutured; it is the job that Jamie was supervising while cooking pancakes. But I'd like to say that the grilled pancakes stayed clear of the suturing field. :)
Ears are interesting to stitch ... the cartilage is kind of weird and Jamie warned me that often the stitch will pull right through. But I must have had beginner's luck because this first ear job went very smoothly. I know that the before picture looks like the ear is dirty ... but that is just some betadine on the lobe. And we almost forgot to take a before picture, so those strings are the first stitch, just not knotted together yet.
This is the after photo. It took 3 stitches. This was another 'domestic.' It was sad; it was hard to get the story out of this lady because she was sad/embarrassed. I guess she got into a fight with her husband and he hit her, pulling her earring clear through the ear lobe. She is on Cipro, Jamie and Sharon taught me that Cipro is sometimes necessary because it kills the bugs that live/grow in cartilage that a different antibiotic would not. And they most definitely helped with the dosage. So now we just pray that the scarring is kind to her and that she doesn't develop keloids as many people of African heritage do.
My second ear was brought to me via Rusty & Cheryl, who come down here for a few weeks monthly to their orphanage in a village about 45 min away. This little boy was brought to them - supposedly his older brother cut him with a knife. They were planning to head out this way anyway, so it was like his very own ambulance service. :) I forgot to take an after photo ... but basically the same thing, three stitches closed it right up. He was only four years old so it was more difficult. Poor babe, he screamed the whole time. I think it was all the unfamiliar blan faces and having to be held down firmly for the short time. Cheryl will change his bandages and take the sutures out after a week to 10 days.
That is all for me. Lindsay and I got up early and hiked to Petit bwa. We took some photos, and had an awesome time, maybe we can share those with you later on. I have to run finish school work before the people with wounds start showing up at 3pm.
Keep praying for these patients, that God would heal them. He is the Healer.
Have a great Tuesday!