Thursday, August 27, 2015

drink something

It is Thursday.

Hurricane-oppressive-humidity has arrived in the Caribbean.

I am sitting at my purple desk, watching the pee cups roll in. Most women seem to have taken a quick bath in the sink after peeing in their cup. Most everyone arrives to the purple desk with water dripping off their faces.

As happens every week, pregnant women are peeing in cups and the cups are being brought to the desk to be checked for leukocytes, nitrate, protein, blood, and ketones.




It is hot in Port au Prince right now. The kind of hot that forces behavior (read: Troy) like this around 4pm every.single.day.










Everything is chafing and our skin is slick with a layer of slimy sweat.



Clean water is not all that easy to come by in much of Haiti. In order to have it, most folks have to buy it.  It's not pouring freely from indoor plumbing for the vast majority.



If a budget is tight, drinking less is the typical answer.



Drinking less when pregnant - bad idea.



Drinking less when it is ├╝ber hot - very bad idea.



Most people will tell you they have a headache.  No mystery to solve there.



The most uttered words at the Heartline Maternity Center "bwe plis dlo" - drink more water.  There is nothing we force on women as much as this, there is nothing we have to work harder for in order to gain compliance.



Today Madame John will teach about all the things dehydration causes in pregnancy. She will show what dehydrated urine looks like, she will show what the urine of a well hydrated person looks like. She will sing, she will dance, she will beg and plead and demand that everyone drink 10-12 large glasses of water per day.  The women will nervously glance at each other and exchange "she crazy" looks.



As the urine shows up, I can see who got the sternest lectures last Thursday. They are producing some clear urine.  I can also tell who just started the program and hasn't yet heard that pee is not supposed to look like a Brown Ale or a Stout Beer.



"Pee-pee pa manti", Beth will tell them. (Pee doesn't lie.)