After an uneventful flight I have arrived at L’Hopital Bernard Mevs- which is literally minutes from the airport in Port-au-Prince. It has aleady been such an amazing experience and I am most shocked by how much French I remember. I mean, I still probably sound like a preschooler with a serious head injury but a lot of it has come back and others sometimes ask me to translate.
I am working in the pediatric ward this weekend and I’ve aleady made about 7 new best friends ranging in age from a 1 year old with serious hydrocephalus to a 9 year old who loves to write the letter S. He was my favorite because he called me over “ey-lee!” and then when I asked him what he wanted he whispered something in my ear in French. After a couple of attempts I realized that he was tattling on his neighbor, an 8 year old who had removed the oxygen tubing from his nose. Adorbs.
It wasn’t all sunshine, though. We had a kid in status epilepticus (prolonged seizure state) who we couldn’t get to stop seizing after endless rounds of drugs. We had to carry her from the triage tent area to the ED and still, nothing was working. Finally we needed to put a breathing tube down her throat and I was the first one to attempt this (it’s called intubation). I failed after 3 attempts. So did the pediatrician. So did an experienced nurse paramedic until he switched his instrument and finally got the tube in her throat. The experience of failing when doing a procedure is a frequent and important one in medical school. Often you are ignored so when you get the chance to do something- you don’t want to mess up. But as a wise compatriot once taught me- this frustration with yourself is not just overly harsh and non-productive…it’s egotistical. Because it’s not about me and whether I feel good about my performance. It’s about the patient. So I had no shame stepping back and asking someone else to do it. It’s a hard lesson to learn though.
In other news, this computer doesn’t have spellcheck (who am I kidding, you likely noticed that within the first few words). So yah…that is unfortunate