No, that's not anything dirty--at least I hope not!
Even though there were a lot of sad stories, there were some funny and happy ones too!
We had an old dude in the ICU recovering from tetanus; he got better and went home. I knew he was better when he could open his big toothless mouth all the way to take the pills I was giving him. Did you know that metronidazole and not penicillin is the treatment of choice now for tetanus (in addition to the immunoglobulins and Valium, of course)? I didn't--I found out when I looked it up on my iPhone. Thanks, MedScape!!
We also had a young mother recover from heart failure secondary to postpartum cardiomyopathy who went home! (We saw three cases in two weeks; she was the only one who made it.) The doctor explained to her that God meant for her to have only one beautiful baby, and that to have another one might mean her death. We took her straight to the gyn clinic for an IUD. Here she is with her cutie patootie baby!
One young girl came in seizing, and when she wasn't seizing, she was unresponsive. We were sure this was another case for palliation, but we treated her for cerebral malaria, gave her fluids and meds, and three days later, she went home!
Another 19-year-old girl came in with horrible TB empyema. We gave her a chest tube and drained about 2 liters of pus and blood from her chest. Her 02 sat would not budge from 62% on room air for days, but after two weeks of antibiotics and TB meds, the chest tube came out and she actually went home to follow up with her local TB clinic! I don't have a picture of her, though. What I do have is a picture of me committing what would be a hideous crime in the US. We only had one suction cannister, and had two people (this girl and a young man who had been shot in the chest) with chest tubes. What to do with the cannister when it got full? Empty it out, of course--in the SEWER:
Yum! 1 liter pus and blood, coming up! (note my sexy outfit!
Glug glug, down the sewer in front of the ED. Mmmmmm. Good to the last drop!
And lastly, kids and babies! Haitian kids and babies are the cutest in the world. I became friends with three little siblings who lived in a tent near the lab; I think their mom works for the hospital and so they stay there. They would grab my hands anytime they saw me and escort me wherever I was going.
The refeeding tents were where we would go when we needed a little cheering up. To see all the little skinny babies getting nice and fat was great--and getting to hold the babies was even better!
We would vist the peds tents; I found some crayons and brought them over for the kids to draw with.