I feel like I’m in a scene from Beauty and the Beast walking into the hospital every morning…Bonjour, Bonjour, Bonjour, Bonjour, Bonjour, Bonjour! It is raining Bonjours~ I really like it. Everyone is so friendly and nice and as you walk by each staff member, patient, or office, you hear a cheerful, “Bonjour!” or “Ou te byen domi?” (did you sleep well). People in Haiti are very much interested in your sleep patterns. I do not think they would approve of the sleep schedule of a resident physician in the US (or the majority of our population for that matter). The Haitian people are very simplistic, for the most part, it is easy living here. The stresses and tribulations we perseverate on the US are irrelevant here.
Today, I went to rounds with the team, or as they call it in creole, tournee. There was a patient who came in overnight in labor and ended up with a cesarean hysterectomy and an infant mortality (she had a uterine rupture- RARE!!). That was the hot topic this morning during rounds. It was like a mini, M & M, however I think some reflection after such a morbid event is warranted. The mother was stoic, not a single tear or word. There are huge cultural differences here when it comes to obstetrics and infant morbidity and mortality.
Today during rounds, I again tried to keep up and follow best I could, when the Doctor presenting turned and asked me, “What do you do when you have a 28 weeker with abnormal dopplers?” I perked up, and mustered all the words I could in creole to explain our management of premature infants with abnormal fetal dopplers. Everyone nodded and it sparked a discussion on the contrast between Haiti and us. This is what it is all about, a mutual learning and respect for each other and our different practices. I find that everyone here is very open to hearing and learning about my western ways and I am more than intrigued to learn and see how they manage patients.
I got an update on my GYN consult on the ER from last week. Looks like she has a brain mass and that is what is causing her right sided paralysis. She needs a CT scan prior to seeing neurosurgery but they cannot afford it. Ugh, so frustrating. In our ER everyone gets panscanned for no reason at all! I hope it works out.
After rounds I went back to my Dungeon down in the archives. So archives is down on the first floor near the pediatric ER. The walk to archives every morning is brutal. Seeing the dozens of children lined up in the scorching sun, crying, screaming in pain, malnourished, and some without even pants or diapers completely breaks my heart. I smile and say Bonjour to each of them every day as I walk by.
“Today, give a stranger one of your smiles. It may be the only sunshine he sees all day.”