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Observations of Haiti - "the Event" and "my Return"

Nurses Article   (3,512 Views | 6 Replies | 616 Words)
by kayakrn7 kayakrn7 (New) New

kayakrn7 has 10 years experience and specializes in Periop and Ortho.

6 Articles; 4,451 Profile Views; 8 Posts

My observations of Haiti during two deployments in the month following the January 12, 2010 earthquake.

Observations of Haiti - "the Event" and "my Return"

On January 12, 2010 at 4:53pm EST a 7.0 magnitude earthquake struck the nation of Haiti destroying over 300,000 homes and buildings and taking the lives of over 200,000 people. As a nurse who has responded to many disasters within the United States, my heart cried out to assist the survivors. 48 hours later my OH5 DMAT was placed on alert for deployment to Haiti. When our orders came, I was faced with the reality we were going to a country few of us knew anything about; I knew we were facing challenges way beyond the experiences of past deployments.

In the early morning hours before we were to board our flight, doubt and fear set in and I questioned my decision to go.

It was in those dark hours I received a message from a friend who shared with me these words: "Then I heard the voice of the Lord saying, "Whom shall I send? And who will go for us?" And I said, "Here am I. Send me!" Isaiah 6:8. My doubts and fears subsided. The daunting task ahead seemed lighter. Darkness and fear was replaced with calmness and serenity. I knew I was where I needed to be. I boarded the plane to Haiti where I spent two weeks caring for the people of Haiti.

And here are the things I remember...

Haiti- "the Event"

Shambles, noise, dust...

Despair...

Hope...

Haunting eyes of the children...

Tragedy...

Life and Death...

An International Coalition of Care pouring their hearts and efforts into a country many had never paid attention to until "the Event"...

Long hours with the greatest of friends old and new...

MRE's...

Tears...

Smiles...

Cultural differences...

Life and death choices...

Failure to thrive...

Wondering if your efforts really make a difference...

I returned home and four days later I was again called again to serve. This time I did not question my decision- remembering instead "Here I am. Send me!"

Haiti- "my Return"

Shambles, more noise, dust replaced by mud and sewage, little progress ...

Despair...

Hope...

Still the haunting eyes of the children...

A tent city on the other side of an iron fence and razor wire...

Tragedy as result of gunshot wounds, stabbings, rapes...

Again, Life and Death...

The generosity of a new portable x-ray machine donated by J/P HRO...

Longer hours with new friends...

MRE's now picked over; will I ever be able to eat meatloaf again...

More tears...

More smiles...

Awakened late at night by a tremor...

Then again by casualties at the gate...

And finally, a cold night sweat rapidly followed by nausea and then vomiting...

Unable to keep anything down...

Exhaustion, muscle ache, cramping, and of course diarrhea...

Zofran, an IV, 7 pound weight loss...

And an early ticket home...

And would I do it again? Not soon, but yes I would go back....and only because of the wonderful loving and generous support of my wife and family who believe in me, the most amazing friends and neighbors who cared for my family, home and of course dog, co-workers covering my absence, a most remarkable boss who supports me, and because it's the least we can do for the people of Haiti....

Mid-westerner, former retail exec turned RN, RN experience includes Pediatric ICU/ER, Perioperative RN, Periop Educator, Ortho Service line RN, Program Liaison Fracture Program, Program Liaison Joint and Spine, DMAT member, Red Cross RN

6 Articles; 4,451 Profile Views; 8 Posts

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cherryames1949 has 27 years experience and specializes in Oncology&Homecare.

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Thank you for your story and your service. You answered the call and then YOU WENT BACK!! My hat is off to you. :tku:

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3 Followers; 4,609 Posts; 35,978 Profile Views

Sorry you got sick.

Like lots of so-called 3rd world countries, though, Haiti has had plenty of aid. It just doesn't seem to get

to the people who need it. It is cursed, you might say, with a government that doesn't care about its

citizens. The Prez has a palace, the peasants are street people, living in shanty towns. I guess there's

a small wealthier, more comfortable upper class or middle class, but most Haitians are either living in the

countryside or in sort of shanty towns. That's what I saw when I was there many years ago. Also, a lot

of materiel that our group flew in was "lost" (pilfered by Customs, probably), only to turn up on the black

market. In order to have what to work with, we had to buy it back.

Still, we did what we could. You did, too. God bless.

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18 Posts; 1,379 Profile Views

It is people like you that get care to the people who need it. Wish everyone would work that way and maybe these people would have some of their suffering lifted. Kudos to you anf your family for their support of you.

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286 Posts; 7,140 Profile Views

i agree with kooky korky. i never could understand why anyone would donate to haiti when it was obvious that the crooked government of haiti would get the money and not the people. our country sent billions of dollars over there, yet the only progress has been by the sweat of people, and not by money.

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18 Posts; 1,379 Profile Views

Totally agree When it happened I said people are crazy to send $$ instead send Americans construction workers (those out of work) use the money to pay their salaries and then hire the Hatians (giving them work & income) and all money would be used for the salaries, equipment, etc no money to the government. We never learn we, have been sending Haiti aid for ever with no benefit to the Haitian people.

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21 Posts; 1,780 Profile Views

how did you get involved with disaster relief support ?is it a paid position ?

i would love to find out more ER, ICU nurse with 20 yrs experience

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