Monday, January 5, 2009

First Day of Clinicals

We left early this morning for the village of Franks Eddy. On the way we passed over rivers, dirt roads, and all kinds of sites. I listened to Paul Simon's Rhythm of the Saints, an album that was originally cut from natives in the rainforest playing the percussion. We got to the village an took over a small empty building next to a bar. The night before we had sorted through the enormous amount of medical donations that we were so generously given from our community back home. We separated equipment and prepared for today's clinic.

Once we opened the doors, our makeshift clinic welcomed folks from the community to come and be seen and treated. We were able to do some wound care, lots of diabetes testing and screening, hypertension screening and testing, as well as look at a number of other ailments. In all we saw about 3 dozen patients in the day.

A handful of us also went out to make some home visits. We would just go right up to a house, a store, or a passerby and make conversation seeing if we could serve any of their medical needs. We even stopped at the local grocery store and tested for blood sugars on the front counter with one hand while the woman conducted business with the other. It was amazing! We ended up at this one house where the man named Mr. Martinez had basically been quadriplegic for the last year after having fallen off a motorcycle. He had a pressure sore the size of a basketball on his sacrum and was in enormous pain.

We were able to bathe him, give him some proper wound care, educate his family on how to care for his wound, provide them with supplies, an offer support to a man who is in suffering. His room is right next to the pesticide storage and he lies in a bed of dirt and sweat. I had my own emotional moment as I washed his face and he began to cry. I cried with him felt suddenly overwhelmed by his grief, pain, and my inability to do much of anything about it except for what we had in a little bag of donated supplies and my own prayers that I could offer up. That's how it is down here though.

Some of our classmates went to do diabetes education in the schools, Steph O and I went and played with some kids in the school yard, who were amazed that they could see people in the LCD screen of my video camera. Later, we got to teach some other kids at the clnic about jumprope. That was fun.

Anyhow, I've got a ton more stories, but if I sit here and keep typing I won't have much more. We had ice cream today, took a ferry to cross the river, and had a long lesson on the history an geography of the area. There will be more to follow...


At January 5, 2009 at 6:37 PM , Blogger nemadji said...

I am so proud of what you do. What a blessing that you are able to do this and I know this will be a great lesson for you and the rest of your team. We can't save the world...but we can comfort those we meet.
Your Northern Mom

At January 6, 2009 at 12:05 PM , Blogger Marilyn said...

While you ALWAYS bring a smile to my face, you also brought tears today as I read your blog of washing our brother's feet...thanks, I needed that! Be safe, be well and be our Jitterbug!


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