The Best Laid Plans…

We started at 6:30 am prepping for our first clinic day. Busload after busload of patients were expected from the surrounding region and by 8:00, we were ready – or so we thought. Despite our best efforts, we just couldn’t get all eight of our portable dental units running at the same time without blowing out the electrical panel!  We tried running extension cords from building to building, spreading out our hydro demands across several systems – but we still had problems. Our hosts then had a brilliant idea. Within 30 minutes a massive excavator slowly made its way up the road from a nearby construction site with a huge electrical generator suspended from it’s front bucket! The excavator proceeded right into our building’s driveway and dropped the generator. Needless to say we had all the power we needed! Extractions, fillings, root canals and, most importantly, education on how to brush and how to keep teeth healthy were the order of the day for the dental team – and it was a quite a productive day.

Mid morning, Windsor dentist Dr. Donna Brode met John, a 19 year old student with serious decay in his front four teeth. He’d been in pain for years as these cavities grew and grew to the point that there were gaping holes marring an otherwise amazing smile. Donna and her assistant, Tamar got to work. The before and after pics below illustrate what a lasting difference this team can make in the lives of people with no access to dental care. While Donna and Tamar worked away, Dental Team Lead, Jack Cottrell and assistant, Michelle Cottrell were engaged in a very similar case right next door. The result was the same for 46 year old Derival, a tremendous smile where before, there were multiple, massive cavities. This dental team was busy today.

Team Dermatologist, Dr. Channy Muhn was busy too with patient line-ups all day. Late in the afternoon, he met Bicinthe, a 6 year old boy with obvious skin issues on both legs. They’ve been incredibly painful and itchy for the past two years (one third of his short life to date). Channy diagnosed it as Chronic Eczema with accompanying chronic infection. The sad reality is that it’s quite treatable and could have been managed easily at the first sign of trouble. He prescribed a course of antibiotics and medicated topical cream – he’ll be pain and itch-free and a normal 6 year old again within a week.

It was a great first day despite our morning power issues. In all we saw 461 patients in Medical and 145 in Dental. Our crack Pharmacy team was hard at it all day as usual – for them, it just never stops. We’re back at it again in the morning with another series of busloads expected throughout the day. It’s great to set-up and stay in one place for three straight days. In this scenario, we can spend more time seeing patients and less time setting up and tearing down. Tomorrow, we’ll also have a tour of this impressive private educational centre. There’s an elementary school with over 1,000 students and a full fledged university with 800 students – all managed by a committed couple who have dedicated their lives to providing an education to the young people of Haiti. More on that tomorrow.

Let’s finish off with a few pics of just a few of our Speroway team members – all of them extraordinary volunteers.

Tim Fallis