A view from a roof in Port au Prince


Only Time

 It always amazes me when I start out to write a new bog post and realize it has been over a month since my last one. "A month has passed already?" I think to myself. I mean, I'm here for 12 months, and just like that I lived out nearly 10% of it? Wow.

I've been back in Haiti for about a month. I visited home and did a small side job in North Carolina. I came back to Haiti absolutely refreshed. It was like coming here for the first time to move in again. One month later, I am happy to say that I'm still riding on that Haiti high.

The biggest event since I've been back was definitely Hurricane Isaac, which caused quite the commotion in trying to prepare for a natural disaster. We were hit with heavy rains, but spared the torrential winds and downpour that hit Port au Prince and the south of Haiti. My friends in Port au Prince experienced some scary nights while the hurricane passed them, but I'm happy to report that everyone I know was kept safe. I know not all of Port au Prince was so lucky.. many tent cities were destroyed by the winds and rain.

On a lighter note, I've started back into running. There have been a couple of avid runners volunteering here so my mornings now start with a 6am run through the countryside or mountains. I really enjoy it, especially my chocolate banana protein shake I treat myself to after every run! The trails that used to kill me, I now find myself adding extra loops onto for a longer run. I feel stronger and healthier and I sneak peaks at my biceps to check if they're any bigger from my pushups ;) Not quite yet...

I'm still spending the majority of my nursing time in the Emergency Room, but these past couple weeks there have been some interesting opportunities for me to get involved with. Last week we had a laproscopic surgery team here and I watched several surgeries. I learned about intubation and watched closely as the anesthesiologist performed it. I hope to try it myself on a patient the next time we have a surgical team here. I also had hands-on experience with sutures. I feel much more comfortable with this skill now and I have a lot of fun doing it. I love the transformation of a dirty, messy wound into something clean and neat. It looks so much better after a little cleaning and stitching.

Last week we had a professional journalist and photographer here. He is working on some pieces for the hospital's website and magazine. One of his projects was to follow me to Michelet's home to get some footage to go along with the article I wrote on him (the magazine will be published later this month). It was so much fun to bring the photographer along on my adventure and an honor that he could capture some of these moments for me! I will post the link to the article and videos when they are finished.

 This week we have a respiratory therapist team here and I've been sitting in on lectures. Yesterday I learned more about using ventilators. The once frightening and complex machine is starting to feel less intimidating to me. Now I just have to learn how to turn the obnoxious alarms off! Today I'm learning about respiratory infections, specifically RSV and bronchiolitis and how to care for a patient fighting this sickness.

My Kreyol is coming along and I can easily carry on conversation. I've gotten to the point that I can understand all or most of what the patients tell me about their medical conditions and sometimes I help translate for the other American volunteers. I'm still practicing understanding when people speak quickly or when the eldery speak- those are the two most difficult situations for me.

I don't think I've mentioned it yet... it is HOT here. This past month has definitely been the hottest of my time here. I find myself napping at lunch time and am thoroughly exhausted at the end of the day, all of which I attribute to the this hot, muggy weather. The good thing is that it still cools of pretty nicely at night so it's comfortable to sleep. I think the temperature drops a little in October or November. Honestly though, I had heard so many complaints about the summers here and I'm happy to see that I made it through it and it's really not all that bad! I'll take a hot summer like this over a wintry Minnesota day easily :)

I'm starting to consider my next steps after this year. I've been presented with some really great opportunities in various hospitals around the US. This year has really opened a lot of doors for me. It's interesting though, because as exciting as new opportunity sounds to me,  I'm not sure I'm ready to leave Haiti. It has taken me SO long to get to where I am. So many sacrifices, embarassing moments, hard and lonely moments, confusing or stressful moments... and here I am and it's finally all coming together and I'm getting this whole life-in-Haiti thing down. Can I really pack up now?  That's the question on my mind. I still have time to think about it. I'm not stressed about it, I'm just curious about what it would look like to stay longer.. so I'll end my blog post with  that unanswered question. I'll just let it hang there in suspense and maybe next time I come around to blogging I'll have some more thoughts or answers. For now, I'm content with knowing where I'll be today, tomorrow, next week and next month, and I'm happy to know that place is Milot, Haiti.

A photo taken while I was visiting Michelet's family. His mom and dad are front center.
A view from the top of the mountain. Haiti is so beautiful.