After serving more than 1,200 patients in Totonicapán the last two days, we headed to our next village, Pologua. As expected, a long line of patients stretching around the corner and up the hill were already waiting. After a few minutes to finish setting up the clinics (the supplies and materials for each clinic had been moved last night by the local volunteers), Triage was humming and soon patients were being directed to the appropriate clinic.
Today, it became very clear that if you work in mobility or audiology, you better have a box of Kleenex handy. There are awesome highs and tears of joy but there are also tears of despair when things don’t work or don’t make as much of a difference as we would like.
101-year-old Maria was carried into the mobility clinic by her grandson, Manuel. He tells us that with her new wheelchair, it will be much easier to move her around and especially to go to the bathroom, which is outside.
It was a similar story for Francisco, a 14-year- old boy with cerebral palsy. His arms and legs are spastic, so he depends entirely on his father, Marcos, to carry Francisco in his arms. Now, Francisco will be able to go outside in his new wheelchair and enjoy the sunshine and life will be easier for the entire family as he gets older.
It was heartbreaking to know that we couldn’t do more for another victim of cerebral palsy, 24-year-old, Francesca. She has seizures and cannot control her extremities. However, we were able to fit her into a specially designed wheelchair with pads and restraints to help her remain sitting.
In Audiology, the highs and lows came in less than an hour. Early this afternoon, 9-year-old Andres came into the Audiology clinic crying, kicking and screaming. Noe, Andres’ father told us that he was diagnosed with severe bilateral hearing loss at age four (he had probably been that way since birth). At that time, he was fitted with a hearing aid, but after a year it stopped working. So for the past four years, he has not been able to hear. As soon as the new hearing aids were put in his ears, his face lit up in a huge smile from ear to ear! Tears, then high fives, then more tears of joy filled the room. As Meagan Guidry said, “This is why we do what we do!”
However, a few minutes later, 6-year-old Yeimi was brought into the room by her mother, Francesca. Yeimi has had profound hearing loss since birth. After running several types of tests to determine hearing viability, it was determined that there was nothing we could do here in the village. Francesca’s eyes welled up with tears as she realized that her hopes for her child had been dashed. However, we have referred her for further evaluation in Antigua to see if there are any other options available.
As we reflect back over the day, Pastor Paul Nazarian’s prayer at our morning devotional quoting Romans 12:15 became a reality. “Rejoice with those who rejoice. Weep with those who weep.”