Final thoughts & thanks

 
I really enjoyed helping take care of the children down here. I was surprised at the variety of cases that I saw. Of course, there were plenty of cases of asthma, viral URIs, tinea and newborn checks but there was some other real interesting stuff mixed in too. I didn’t see as much tropical diseases as I anticipated. Some days were very busy with numbers seen in the 20s. Other days were a little slower and my last day at Port Antonio only two children were brought to the Friday pediatric clinic but I did get a chance to meet and get to know several people while waiting (Jamaican networking).

I also witnessed a bizarre incident driving into Port Antonio to pick up some others at the health department (usually we aren’t the only ones being driven to and from work). As we were slowly driving toward the town square, an old lady crossing the road reached down, picked up a baseball sized rock, reared back, yelled at us and then threw it at our truck. We all saw what was coming and our driver ducked behind the steering wheel. With a loud thud, the rock bounced off the front windshield. Fortunately, nothing was damaged. The lady continued on but we stopped because there was a police officer on the side walk. I couldn’t understand the animated discussion but I think the officer was telling the driver “What am I going to do? Arrest that mad lady?” I believe she was mentally ill. It’s one of those things that I don’t think I’ll ever forget– a walk-by stoning from a Jamaican elderly lady. And I also don’t think I’ll soon forget talking to all these different drivers on these long drives around the beautiful country side.

Considering a case that was most memorable…I think maybe the 19 month old girl with Down’s syndrome that had some major cardiac defects seen on an ECHO about a year prior. Mom had gone to the Cardiologist appointment in Kingston like she was supposed to but she never got the follow up phone call with instructions that she was told she was going to get. Despite Mom giving the heart failure medications as prescribed, the child had worsening failure to thrive at this visit. The cardiologist was unable to be reached so we tried to refer her again. She may need cardiac surgery but another ECHO and specialist visit first before making that decision. I hope she’s able to be taken care of soon.

Before I leave tropical paradise to go back home to flooding and tornado damage, I just want to thank all who help make this possible and give to help this next generation of Jamaicans. Hopefully, more help to soon follow. Thanks to Diane who was always a phone call or a quick email away to help. Her passion for the children here is so evident. I’m thankful for the help and the teaching from the local doctors especially the two pediatricians, Dr. Ramos and Dr. Fisher. Finally, many thanks to the most hospitable and warm staff for the royal treatment I received here at the hotel the past month.

I wish that I could stay much longer. This has really been a great experience and I hope to return to Jamaica soon.

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