One year ago, he underwent an Indiana pouch, which is an extremely complex operation in this environment. His postoperative course was rocky to say the least. He developed an ileus and needed an NG tube for decompression—try managing a nasogastric tube without any wall suction available! Despite his difficult recovery, he got better and charmed the entire surgical team while he was at it. At his discharge we were all wrapped around his little finger. When the word came that he had seen a local physician who told him his operation had failed and that he needed dialysis, hearts broke on all sides of the Caribbean. Arrangements were made to see him in Clinic as soon as possible. He and his mother made the long, long journey from the island of LaGonave to Pignon to generously share the news, in person, that he was thriving! He’s doing well in school, and his biggest complaint is that mom won’t let him play soccer. His workup indicates intact kidney function. Perhaps we can make a difference, one case at a time.
This brings me to considering the aspect beyond humans- the environment. We are spoiled by our hosts this year- 24 hour power, toilets that flush, bottled water. Bottled water, while an incredible convenience, creates an unimaginable amount of waste in greater than 90 degree heat. Haiti struggles to manage basic needs, recycling is not an option locally- plastic gets burned. Yep- burned. That’s it. Well, this year, I am personally carrying all the recyclables we consumed back to Atlanta with me- a small portion of the waste generated by humans in their day to day lives. A minuscule, perhaps insignificant, dent in the amount of waste we dump into our Mother Earth every day, but I refuse to add to the problem if it within my power to do otherwise. I come to be part of the solution, not the problem.