Time Flies When It's All a Blur
Port Au Prince Travel Blog› entry 8 of 8 › view all entries
It's the end of the week and end of my time here in Haiti. Friday was my last day at Miami and my last full day in Haiti. A bittersweet feeling.
When I arrived at Miami Friday, I found out I was the only nurse in the OR. The other 3 had either left to go home or taken the day off to explore the city. I had 7 anesthesia, 20 surgeons and 1 surgical tech. The surgeons actually behaved themselves when I told them i was the only one here and bare with me as I try to figure out what needed to be done. I sent for patients and helped the surgeons set up their rooms for their cases and basically told them they were on their own and holler if they needed something. I ended up circulating 3 rooms and was pretty impressed on how the morning went, the surgeons did quite well on their own and we knocked out a lot of cases before I left at 2pm.
I felt a little guilty leaving at 2, the day wasn't over and things needed to be done, but my time had come to an end. I said goodbye to our awesome transporters/translators- local guys who were an amazing help- Taylor, Talma and Roc. These guys did more than just get patients for us; they helped us talk to our patients and were a bridge in understanding the Haitian culture. After saying goodbye to all the wonderful doctors and nurses I worked with over the last 2 weeks, I left the Miami Field Hospital for the last time.
It was a short work day because we wanted to have a nice team evening out on the town. We took showers and put on clean clothes and climbed into the back of a pickup truck or piled into the van and drove out into the city.
We went to a nice restaurant called Epi D'or, a bakery/pizza/burger joint. A great evening of laughter, friendship and fellowship. THe food was good- who doesn't like pizza and fries?
Traffic was a little heavy on the way home, but we got to experience Port au Prince nightlife from the safety of the back of the pickup. It was a very nice way to end our time together here in Haiti.
It was unsure yesterday if we were going to be able to leave today. Up until Friday, the airport was under U.S. military control. Rumors were flying around the hospital saying that the Haitians weren't allowing people into the airport and all the flights were cancelled.
There was a large group of people outside the airport when we arrived, all trying to get in. The airport had a passenger list and your name had to be on the list to even get in. We went through a total of 3 security check points, one to get into the airport, one after we got our exit stamps and one to get to the gates. Each one was accompanied with a pat down too. The gate area was a large sterile looking room with lots of chairs. It was very crowded and warm. We spent the majority of 4 hours there. Our flight boarded on time and left on time, a miracle!
Two hours later, we were back on American soil and slowly said goodbye to our group as they went their separate ways.
So ends my Haitian journey. If felt different than other trips I've done. I can't say if I'm ready to be home or not. i felt like I didn't have any closure, no warm fuzzy feelings. I know I wouldn't and couldn't solve the world's problems, that it was going to take a very long time for Haiti to rebound from this experience, but still, I felt like I could have done more. I left behind good friends who are still in Haiti helping the people and the work there continues.
I'm home now and when people ask me how Haiti was, I have a hard time expressing what I've experienced. Most of the time they just want 1 or 2 word answers, but I can't answer with "fine" or "great" or "the best thing I've ever done", because those words don't describe the physical and emotional toll this trip had.