Friday, July 15, 2011
Three Weeks Working at a Cholera Treatment Center
John returned home this past Tuesday after three weeks in Haiti working at the Cholera Treatment Center at Albert Schweitzer Hospital in Deschapelles. We exchanged many emails during the course of his stay. I reread his emails and constructed the passage below from them. Each sentence is from a separate email and they are in chronological order. It gives a compressed idea of what his stay was like.
For a more detailed account of John's work in Haiti, please check out the blog he wrote for the Peoria Journal Star.
The airport was disastrous: no luggage. . . I think cholera is very bad here, but will know more in a couple of hours. . . It is so weird sitting here hour after hour as people stuff themselves with the buffet while a large tent city looms just down the block from here and cholera is going crazy. . . There are five cholera tents and one building with walls that house cholera patients. . . I have never admitted and taken care of so many sick people in one day in my life. . . The chest compression man yesterday who is Fleurisma was sitting on his cot today talking and he was dying last night. . .Patient after patient in semi unconscious states are the bad ones, and others with mild cholera act good and just need oral rehydration solution and some observation, and if they look good in the afternoon, we send them packing back up the mountain. . .My hands cramp up each morning. . . About 280 patients on campus for cholera yesterday was the official estimate. . . I didn't lose any patients last night because God made them strong. . .The heavy afternoon rain caved in our tarp and many cholera patients on cots are drenched in cold rain and they are very sick, very pathetic, horrible scene. . . A little old man that came in late this afternoon just died. . . I put an IV in her ankle and her hand and we squeezed fluid into her for an hour and she woke up. . . Picture hundreds of people with their hundreds of relatives in hot sweltering tents in Haiti right now and the sick ones are vomiting and having diarrhea. . . A hellish morning here. . . Many saves today: old people, young people with no pulse and they come back. . . Worked on five people at once, and when one was strong enough after a liter of fluid I would ask him or her to stand and let another sit who could not stand anymore. . . I just don't know what to make of this experience. . .