We've had an eventful week. If the kids could talk they'd probably tell me to back off on eventful weeks. They've been pricked and poked, de-scabied and de-wormed, all while suffering through post-immunization sore arms and fevers. I'm sure they've had enough of this already!
Saturday was de-worming day. All rollers, crawlers, and walkers had to drink a dose of Mebendazole a thick, white liquid medication that treats a variety of worm infections.
Sunday we celebrated Thanksgiving with a huge feast!
On Monday almost all the kids received an injection or two, or three. When I took over as COTP's nurse I was well warned that the "vaccination people" tend to be infrequent and unreliable. I've been quite fortunate to see them on four different occasions in the past 8 months. That's a new record! Ideally, the children would have an opportunity to receive their scheduled vaccines once a month, at the same time each month. But...TIH (this is Haiti). It's an exciting day when they show up with their coolers and cardboard sharps container.
Tuesday we had a volunteer pediatrician visit COTP. She is an American doctor that is spending two weeks at the local hospital (http://www.crudem.org/). This was a huge blessing. During the riots in Cap Haitien and Milot our nearest hospital was not open for consultation. Since the roads in Cap were completely blocked by baracades and bottle throwers our Haitian doctor wasn't able to pay us a visit either. It was nice to finally be able to talk to a physician about some of our more complicated cases.
This particular doctor currently lives in Northern California so we had that in common. She's also spent a few years in and out of Haiti and served as a peace corps volunteer in Botswana. Basically, she understands what it is like to work with limited resources and without all the modern medical conveniences. It's nice to work with a doctor that understands our setting and makes treatment recommendations based on context. And check out this cool fact: She used to be Paul Farmer's research assistant and was working with him in Haiti when Tracy Kidder was writing the book Mountains Beyond Mountains! I'm sure only a few people will have any idea what I'm talking about but, isn't that cool!?!?
Tuesday was also an ear cleaning day. Thanks to the help of our two volunteers we now have 84 sparkling clean ears.
Wednesday, our "lab guy" came. Praise the Lord for Axiom labs. It's such a beautiful set up. By giving our business to a laboratory in Cap Haitien and paying a small fee for the technician to come out to our site, I am able to order just about any blood test without having to bother with a hospital trip and a doctor consult. The lab technician's name is Hughes. We ask him to come out to COTP every time we have a handful of new babies as we test all new admissions for syphilis, HIV, and sickle cell anemia. We look at other blood levels as well so we can treat for infections, parasites, and anemias as they arise. Sometimes when we're really trying to get to the bottom of health issues we look at calcium, thyroid function, growth hormone, hepatitis antigens, etc. 12 babies had to give blood this week.
Wednesday night the children were treated for scabies. When one kid in a room has scabies they all need to be treated. Since at least one kid in each room was seen with signs of scabies the whole baby house required treatment! Bring out the premethrin lotion!
You can catch up with Thursday in the next post.