Monday, November 12, 2007

Monday, November 5th

Our last full day of clinic. I drained an abscess behind someone’s ear, then Santo explained to him how to use a band-aid. I had two pregnant women to end my day. One, 26 years old and seven months along with a breast lump the size of an orange, and hard. We gave her pain medicine and told her we’d talk to her more about her lump in January, after she delivered. We never mentioned the word cancer. The second, 20 years old, without parents, and also seven months pregnant, had risen early, walked three-quarters of an hour to get to the clinic, and sat in the sun all day with an empty belly. I gave her a handful of fig newtons and raisins, along with a birthing kit. As I was explaining the contents to her, and how to cut the cord, it occurred to me she might not know what would soon be happening to her. “Have you ever seen the birth of a baby?” I asked.

And so I told her, through the awkwardness of a translator, roughly what she could expect.

Yoella diagnosed a young woman with diabetes following a routine urine test. Tiffany gave her $60 to get herself seen at another hospital, knowing full well she will never get reliable access to insulin.

Leon won the pool – we saw 210 people.

We had roasted piglet and fried breadfruit (which has the same taste and consistency as French fries). Then Yoella and I (and eventually Steve) spent an hour on the roof feeling the wind, and watching the dark shapes of the clouds and the odd shooting star.

Tiffany checked her phone messages today, and there was one from the Canadian embassy, wondering if we’d survived the hurricane, which we now learned had killed at least one hundred people on the island of Hispaniola. Our families are likely freaking out. I called home and left a message.
~ Monica Kidd

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