I’ve been back in the U.S. for almost 3 weeks now.
Haiti, and my time there, seems like a dream already.
Like a dream, the details are already starting to fade. The things I did and experienced, the places and people I encountered are already reduced to disjointed images. Like old movie reels sporadically flashing on a makeshift screen in the back of my mind.
I haven’t had the time or energy to properly process any of it, what I did, saw or felt there since I’ve been home. Since about five minutes after de-planeing back in the Middle States, I’ve been completely immersed in the rushing, raging river of Real Life. Clinicals, work, studying for Step 2, compensating for a month of pet neglect, bills, laundry, an Army of Dust Bunnies, applying for residency, and the unexpected, consuming Romantic Entanglement.
Too busy to process, too busy to blog, sometimes too busy to pee. Now, three weeks later, Step 2 CK studying is about to stop (Friday and I’m DONE with you d*mnable test!!!), and its time to take time.
Luckily for processing purposes, I did write regularly and took LOTS of pictures while I was in Haiti. I posted notes on Facebook as often as the work and spotty internet connection permitted. It was easier than blogging and using precious time and limited brain function to consider pesky anonimity issues.
I’m going back through my notes and photos now. Immersing myself in the memories. Processing. And, refining (lucky for blog readers, sorry readers of the sloppy FB version!) notes and sharing The Best of Nurse, MD in Haiti here.
Starting at the beginning…..
As soon as we got off the plane in PAP it was very apparent we had entered a different world. The airport is still in disrepair after the earthquake with most of the windows broken and large cracks running up the walls. We were herded through the terminal to immigration and then took a bus accross the tarmac to meet our driver. Outside immigration a crowd of potential porters waited to pounce on the luggage and carry it for a tip, heated debates and a little money for everyone who ended up touching the luggage at some point ensued.
We found the hospital driver, crammed into the back of a small SUV with the luggage, and took off into PAP. Before yesterday, the worst driving I had ever seen was in NYC. NYC’s got NOTHING on Haiti. There appears to be no rules for traffic. I didn’t see any signs or lights, it seems, essentially, to be survival of the fittest and fastest. If you notice most of the pictures I took yesterday are blurry, that’s because PAP is in motion. That’s the best way I can explain it, small streets with walled enclosures or shops lining both sides, with streams of people and vehicles constantly moving. Cars honking and charging at each other, motorcycles, scooters and pedestrians zipping through the cracks in traffic. I am SHOCKED that I did not see one accident or one injury (though the ortho group we are traveling with assures me that injuries related to traffic accidents, namely fractures, are very common) and not one scratch on the truck…..
Its warm and humid here but ceiling fans make it very pleasant. We have water to wash and use the toilets all day. Showers can be taken during the day in three, one hour periods. I fell asleep last night under mosquito netting, too tired to write, feeling like I’m in dream. This experience is completely surreal thus far. Like I’ve stepped out of my life into a movie ala the Constant Gardener or a live report from Anderson Cooper. Surreal, amazing, breathtaking.