Roseau, Dominica —
One memorable story I will share was the patient Neville* who had visited Princess Margaret Hospital with his daughter for his symptoms. He was hunching over grasping himself and constantly telling any staff who would pass by his symptoms and that he would like to lay down. His daughter calm and quiet just absorbing the whole situation sitting beside her father. He had his symptoms improved and was sent home. Again, the next day he came complaining of the exact same symptoms and MD Tim Greene gave him the same treatment that MD Anna Yaffee had given yesterday. Today he was with his daughter again and laying on her lap to find rest. Our goal was symptom treatment. We relieved his symptoms again and he was so thankful for the kindness and medicine we have given him. He was so happy just to see us there at the hospital from a different country caring. He had even offered that we should go to his souvenir shop downtown and he had some parting gifts for us. We joked that we would visit and were not quite sure if he was serious.
Myself and Tim later the next day attempted to try to find Neville’s* souvenir shop with no luck. We figured it was a moot cause and we would be leaving without saying hi to him. As we made our way out of downtown a man see’s Tim and sure enough it is Neville*. So excited he leads us to his souvenir shop which we had totally missed. We meet his wife, son, and same daughter who was with him. He had a small 4×3 foot table with souvenir trinkets laid out consisting of bracelets, pins, flags, soaps, and other Dominica things. He came back out so excited with two small plastic bags and said “here are the gifts I’ve made for you. Please share this with your team”. We were shocked, excited, and just stoked. He kept throwing in little trinkets and overfilled our hands beyond what we had expected. He showed us his families living situation in which his shop a 10×10 space filled with items and two sleeping cushions were his family of 4 was staying due to his home being destroyed.
Here this man, giving what little he has and likely his only source of income after the hurricane. Granted there is likely no tourism for a while. With what little he had with his family he was so willing to give so much to make our day and show his thanks. He blew us away and made us question what we consider important in life. All we did was do our job as an MD and RN. We didn’t cure him but we attempted our best to relieve his suffering. And for this, it was all he needed to say that he had hope from our presence. And if anything, that was the greatest piece I got out of this trip. That there is hope for humanity and that people care.
This is one of so many stories that made this experience to Dominica awesome.
-NYCM RN Kevin So