Today started as our previous mornings--sitting in a circle, coffees in hand, visiting about our upcoming day, devotion, and prayer. Today we were encouraged by the sighting of the sun and blue skies. We caught sight of one of the 3 volcanoes around Lake Atitlan. It has been quite hazy (from smoke) and overcast skies. The weather has been lovely, as we are staying in the land of "eternal spring".
After breakfast at the mission, sandwiches made for lunch, we jumped into the back of the pick up truck for a quick ride to the hospital to pick up our "supplies" for clinic. This consists of 4 heavy suitcases (one has been named the Green Monster), stools, and tables--as well as 3 interpreters and 3 local community health promoters. So, yes, a total of 18 of us plus supplies are squeezed in to ride in the small pickup truck to our clinic site for the day. Our trustworthy leaders assure us it is all quite safe..... Each day we are curious and excited to experience the trip to the new town and clinic. Our drives are generally a fun adventure, full of laughter, stories,and always waves and smiles. Today we travelled a short distance to Totolya. This town was part of a community of 4 towns. As mentioned, we are now a well oiled machine. We are quickly able to assess the building, assign exam areas/rooms, check in, nursing station, and pharmacy.
Today we were able to serve about 40 patients of all ages. Dr Cathy Davis was able to make a home visit to follow up on a patient that she had seen earlier in the day. She was doing much better. Susan Peller, NP, was also able to make a home visit. A community health promoter told us about an 85 year old woman who had fallen a few days back and was in too much pain to walk down the dirt road to our clinic. She spoke Kaqchikel (pronounced catcheecal), so communication was slow and required 2 interpreters. She was extremely grateful for the medical care and free medication provided by our team.
Apparently along the way to the home visit, Cindy Olson, Really Nice LPN, was attacked by a turkey with all of his feathers displayed. As if that was not bad enough, she and Susan were given the evil eye by a stray dog. None of us would have believed this crazy story, but Cindy had pictures to prove the story and Susan backed it up.
Again at the end of our clinic day, the well oiled machine very quickly packed up and back to San Lucas we went.
It was explained to us (our interpreters are a wealth of knowledge for us) that every Friday during lent, a processional from the church begins at 5:00 Guatemalan time. They very slowly travel through the streets, past the central square, and back to the church--finishing between 9-10:00. It was beautiful to observe and a delight to be present for this celebration of faith. A pathway of flowers and plants were created in front of the church, incense preceded the procession, and a generator pushed in an old wheelbarrow followed behind. Two very old men were playing drums while music was played on a radio.
Our team was treated to dinner at a local restaurant, where again we shared stories and laughter. All extremely tired and over fed, we headed to bed with a plan for the next day.
"What I do you cannot do:but what you do, I cannot do. The needs are great, and none of us, including me ever do great things. But we can all do small things, with great love, and together we can do something wonderful."----Mother Teresa
A few thoughts from a provider that has not been on this trip with MDP.
I was unbelievably relieved when I finally realized that I could use my epocrates app on my phone--as I frequently refer to it as my brain. I really had no idea, even though our leaders tell us, what I would be seeing in our clinics. I have found that there are some unique visits, due to the region we are working in. However, I am finding many similarities as well. Gathering an accurate history is extremely difficult. Trying to decide what their real concern or current health problem may be, also difficult. They almost always have an additional concern or two, after we think the visit is completed They are needing education on diet, pregnancy, muscle tightness....it's all just a bit slower because I need an interpreter. They are now able to purchase antibiotics from the farmacia without a prescription, and they are not using them the way we would recommend. Charting/documentation has some redundancy, like at home---however, there is no dictation or signing charts, no EMR, no computers/internet. I have thoroughly enjoyed the teamwork of our providers. We are all sitting close to each other and will interrupt a visit with a question or consult. The patients and families are extremely patient as they wait for our consults and their visits in general. Our pharmacy is simple--no prescriptions written, we walk up and ask for the medication---or just take what we need from the table display. A sticker with basic instructions written in spanish is placed on the medication. It is not uncommon that we give a one time dose while the patient is with us. They are all extremely gracious and patient with us. I find that they are as curious of us as we are of them. Our interpreters are a wealth of information for us on the local community, their beliefs and customs, the typical illnesses or skin conditions.
I appreciate the above quote from Mother Teresa. There is so much work to do here in Guatemala. Our team, each of us, cannot fix it all. We cannot care for everyone. But, we each can do something, a small thing to us may be a much bigger something to someone we come across--a smile, a wave, a gesture, a home visit, a reassurance, some ibuprofen, a song and game, taking the time to visit.
shared by Slava
"There is no foot too
small that it cannot have an impact on the world"