Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Update on Madame Meristel's Burns

Two weeks ago I wrote about how our housekeeper Madame Meristel showed up on campus with horrific burns. Here's what's new.

That day I took her to Miquette, my dear friend, next door neighbor, founder of TeacHaiti, and, in her spare time, school nurse at Quisqueya. Miquette put a bandage on the burns, instructed her to come back for bandage changing, and sent Madame Meristel with $20 to L'opital Espoir. That amount would cover the visit, but had been too high for her to afford. This is the same hospital down the road where I met the orphan twins and visited patients in tents with Buckner after the earthquake, and it's also where Ben and I met the LEAP pediatric team and observed surgeons last spring.

The hospital gave her four prescriptions. Madame Meristel's husband brought the prescriptions to Miquette, who already had three of them, and found the last, meaning that they didn't have to pay for them.

Miquette also got the full story on how the burns came to be. Madame Meristel has an electric iron in her home (which has a roof now, thanks to you guys). The iron had a frayed cord, and plus Haiti has notoriously unreliable and inconsistent current. With her hand on the iron, she received by a strong shock. The shock seized up her muscles, which simultaneously caused her hand to grip around the iron handle and her legs to buckle underneath her. She fell to the ground, and the hot iron landed on her chest.

I can see your face right now, cause it's the same one I'm making. I can't even imagine how painful that was.

Anyway. She hadn't come back for several days to get her bandage changed, and I got nervous. The wounds were big and totally exposed to bacteria. Plus, it's the dusty season here, and there is visible dust/dirt wafting around in the air. About a week later she did come back for a new bandage from Miquette, who said the burn had shrunk significantly as it healed from the outside in. The antibiotics had worked and there was no infection.

I saw her last Thursday. I told her not to come back to work until she could, and that I was concerned about the burn on her wrist "touching the cleaning water", which is the closest thing I could come up with to expressing concern that she'd get Fabuloso (floor cleaner) or bleach in her burn.

She said she'd come back to work Monday, yesterday, which she did. Yesterday she showed me the burns again, and they truly did look much better, smaller, less angry red. She said she did a lot of sleeping, and thank you for my patience.

When she says things like that, I want to say, "Are you kidding? Thanking me for giving you four days off work when you have a giant burns? That's the least I could do!". But her response tells me that it's perhaps unusual to get that kind of response, which makes me wonder how badly maids typically get treated. I don't know. I'm not tooting my own horn, I'm just wondering again at how different our lives are and how I'm supposed to feel about that.

Anyway, no infection so far and Madame Meristel's on the mend. It really touched my heart how many of you asked about her. She's a good woman.

Katie

1 comment:

  1. The simple things like sick days we take for granted.

    ReplyDelete

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