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Haiti Testimony - Sept 2011

A Mom, A Clinic and a Bread of Compassion Nurse

It was the afternoon of the last day of our week-long series of medical clinics.  I frequently walk the line of people waiting to be seen and triage those who are the sickest or most fragile, especially the elderly and the Mom’s with small children.  It often is not possible to see everyone. 

There was a Mom with three small children waiting in line in the heat of the sun.  She was taking care of the children but not complaining of the heat, as I was, or asking for anything.  She was just hoping to be seen and had a great smile on her face.  We could see that all the children had skin infections on their legs and heads.  The climate is hot and humid, and clean water and soap are scarce.  We pulled the Mom out of line and took her to wound care first, where Fabio and Carolyn bathed and shampooed the children. They applied antibiotic lotion to open sores and treated areas of yeast infections with a sulfur compound.

While we were caring for the family in wound care, a teenage girl about 16 years old with an infant came into the area and the Mom introduced her as her fifteen year old daughter. The Mom told us that the infant and the toddler who was being washed were the teenager’s babies.   After all the children had been washed and given new outfits, we filled up a bag with clothes for her to take home.  The teenage daughter also had some skin problems and we gave her soap and lotions to use at home in private to treat herself.

After wound care, the whole family was taken in and examined.  A couple of the kids needed antibiotics for their skin infections and everybody received vitamins.  Naomi, our pharmacy nurse, packed a bag for the family that included the needed antibiotics, toothbrushes, toothpaste, soap, Tylenol, Ibuprofen and goody bags for the kids.  With the help of our interpreter, we did medication and skin care teaching with the family and answered questions.

What we did was small, but I know that we helped this family in tangible and intangible ways.  They next day we saw the mom and she had a great big smile.  A smile means the same in every language.  JOY!

- Nancy Aguilar

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