Haiti, Take 3

In a little over 48 hours, I'm leaving to go to Haiti for 10 days. I'm excited to play Santa for my godson and some of the children that some of my friends and family members sponsor. I'm excited to hug some of my favorite long-term orphanage residents with disabilities. I'm excited to bring a new load of toys to the abandoned babies in the hospital.  I'm excited to see volunteer friends, witness the amazing progress NPFS has made over the last year, and see past pediatric patients and students with disabilities I've worked with previously.  I'm excited to continue my personal healing and loving journey with Haiti.

But this time I have a specific role to play within the organization.  I'm thrilled to put some of my skills to use, but as usual, nervous and trying to suppress some feelings of self-doubt regarding my abilities.

Here's what I'm doing:
After the earthquake, our hospital expanded its pediatric services and opened many new facilities, including a diarrhea/cholera center and an adult field hospital. Originally fabricated from shipping containers, since my last visit, the St. Luc adult hospital has expanded to have more permanent buildings! Now that they're growing to serve adults, they decided to start an acute care physical therapy program.  This is super. The problem is, Haiti has no formal physical therapy education.  So in addition to receiving some on-site training from my friend Norma, the Argentinian PT who treats at the outpatient pediatric center, the Haitian "therapists" have been receiving intermittent trainings from visiting therapists from the Mayo Clinic.  The Haitian team has no previous physical therapy training and little medical training, so obviously this is a starting from square one situation.  I'm lucky enough to be traveling to Haiti between two Mayo Clinic teams, and I have to say it's been pretty awesome collaborating with the therapists from such a fancy-pants hospital on developing teaching curriculum and keeping each other informed on challenges and successes on the ground.  We're trying to maintain continuity and consistency with subsequent teams checking and building on the information the previous teams present.  Basically this is awesome.

With my godson, Kervenson

So I'll be arriving in Haiti soon, armed with a few medical supplies, a massive bag full of toys and goodies, an optimistic 35-page curriculum I drafted, 4 textbooks generously donated by some of my professors, and a bundle of nerves considering I've never actually treated patients in an inpatient environment.  Teaching skills that I've only ever practiced on my classmates or watched other therapists perform should be an adventure.  I'll try to blog as much as I can throughout my trip, so stay tuned, and see my previous post if you want to get some awesome greeting cards.  You can still contact me during the trip & I'll see if I can get you some.

I'll write from Haiti!