Lauren Aichele, RN, Helps Haiti Earthquake Victims
February 2, 2010 was the beginning of what would be the most exciting and rewarding experience that I have ever been involved in.
A little over 24 hours prior, I had learned of my deployment to Haiti. I felt so honored to be among the National Nurses United/RN Response Network nurses to be a part of Operation Unified Response onboard the USNS Comfort Navy Ship.
I quickly packed my bags, filled out paperwork, got the necessary injections, and left San Francisco at 6 a.m. that morning to head to Jacksonville, Fl. This is where I met the incredible people with whom I would share this experience. We were greeted by the United States Navy, and from day 1 until the end, they could not have been more gracious and grateful. They went above and beyond to make sure everything was perfect for us.
After a briefing from the Navy the next morning, we flew from the Naval Base in Jacksonville to Port au Prince, where we arrived at dark. The town looked horrifying with people living in the streets and in whatever shelter they could throw together with sheets, boxes, etc. Rubble littered the dark streets and there were small fires everywhere, which may have been used for cooking or just to have some light. The scene was surreal and quite unsettling, and I was happy our bus was guarded at the door with U.S. military staff with guns.
We arrived at the ship by small boats. We were then assigned a place to sleep, filled out paperwork, had a late dinner and got to bed in time for a few hours of sleep before getting up to start our first full day. After breakfast and an orientation we started working!