Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Maladi Chikungunya an Ayiti

Emma's interview with NPR

Dr. Jen interview with NPR

If I have said it once I have said it a thousand times.  There is no predicting tomorrow on this half of this island in this part of the Caribbean. 

One day you are stitching up wounds and placing IUDs and taking care of very sick babies and being interviewed by NPR while celebrating your birthday and the next day you are in pain, in bed, a victim to the newest mosquito borne illness.

Dokte Jen went from all of that activity to having a fever and pain in a matter of hours. Not a very nice post birthday hangover at all. 

Jen comes in an out of Haiti, as all long time readers know.  Some years we get her for five months, others for three. No matter what, we have learned that when she is here, she will deal with some big things that we are not necessarily totally equipped to deal with on our own. (Although, Jen will take issue with this and say that we are doing great and have come a long way in our skills and nursing care and that we don't need her. She lies like that.) 

The only emergency C-Section ever done at Heartline, Jen was here. When Phoebe decides to have asthmatic crashes, Jen is here (or Jen is on the phone with us all day). The only time my kid had bacterial meningitis, with a seizure, in a hospital without doctors, Jen was here. The only time Chikungunya was hitting our staff and clients like a storm, Jen was (is) here.  I could carry this list on ad infinitum; suffice it to say, when big #%*# goes down, she seems to be here. I am over the top about appreciating her because she is one of my very best friends and because she saved the life of my kid one day in 2008. If it seems like too much fanfare, let me say, it's not. 

In the next day or two you can watch the NPR feed for a story on Chikungunya in Haiti, you will likely hear Emma (first photo) speaking about her case and her baby, Fritzlene.  You will also very likely hear Jen's concerns about the virus that now has her lying in bed in  a lot of pain. 

Suturing Class
I want to share one other thing with you.  Emma is a rock star Momma.  Life has dealt her an insanely unfair hand. I so want her voice on NPR and I want people to know she is an incredibly smart woman with more moxie than most of us dream of having.  This 25 year old is tougher than tough.  Right now she is pulling herself up and out of her unfair circumstances. She knew Fritzlene was sick before a single symptom showed.  She is a Mom in every sense of the word. We sometimes hear that poor folks shouldn't have babies and people make comments that are disrespectful and hurtful.  I know for many that sounds absurd. I wish I was exaggerating. There are some that think forced sterilization of the poor makes perfect sense.  There are some that believe material poverty equals stupidity or no right to a free life. We watch materially poor women provide for and love their babies well every day. Like us, they are not perfect mothers, but they are doing the very best they can with what they have and that in and of itself earns my respect and props.
It is safe to say we are all nervous about this virus. Thankfully it is not fatal. Unfortunately it cannot be treated (Malaria can be treated) and only supportive care can be done to try and make patients more comfortable. We don't have time to be sick and we hate seeing the mommas and babies that already have so much on their plate forced to add yet another thing to overcome.

~               ~               ~

Yesterday a friend was in a moto accident and Dr. Jen taught the midwives of Heartline some advanced fancy suturing techniques while we fixed him up. I don't know if this was annoying or funny to him, but we compared this poor guy's knee and heel to female anatomy multiple times.

Today is a new day, who knows what it will bring?!? We always ask that when Haiti comes to mind, that you please toss up prayers for this wonderful little island nation.  Today, please add Chikungunya and Dr. Jen and the ladies we work with and serve to your prayer list.