Last day of clinic in Machaquila

Posted on: 01/31/2019

Author: Susan Wegner

Ana teaching 45 women about female anatomy and related exams. Josh moving a box from the Free Wheelchair Mission. Byron doing his best to pump up a wheelchair tire. Handfuls of twins, both named "Julian!" Reassuring a young dental patient prior to her tooth extraction Holding the young patient down during her tooth extraction. Installing an IV in a makeshift "ambulance" using string to attach it to the ceiling handle Lori keeps urine tests organized. Red hats sterilizing dental instruments. Dr. Shelby and her patient with young Q'echi translator after gynecology exam Dr. Charlie and his appreciative gynecology patient Elderly women receive a way to get around without being carried!  Three-year old Hamilton is about to have a tooth removed from his nose.

Our devotion this morning focused shifting our mindset from “I have to do some task” to “I get to do another prostate exam, or pull another tooth or another……..  To close, we learned a song:  “Go now in peace, go now in peace.  Let the love of God surround you everywhere, everywhere you may go!”  Statistical reports from yesterday followed as well as the breakdown of the todays clinic – shooting for 3:00 p.m. - to enable the trucks to get started back to Antigua.  Then we broke for breakfast and another great day of encountering unexpected situations.

As usual, when we drove up there was an enormous, thick line of people stretching back from the gate, down the street, and around the corner.  By the end of the day, we will have served all these people!  What a privilege!

I saw today’s line of women walking behind Flory as she led them to the via cryo and gynecology area.  Soon, Ana stepped into her role as teacher and did a great job of educating the women about female anatomy, “mama cancer,” and how to do monthly breast exams as a means of prevention.  When she asked, “Do you have any questions?”, no one spoke up, but as she walked closer to the women, around the circle, several people stopped her and felt comfortable asking their questions in a more intimate setting.  While Ana was answering questions, Flory was adding to the presentation.

Next stop was the dental clinic where a young girl was being prepared for a tooth extraction.  She was struggling mightily and Gail pulled me over saying, “I need your hands!”  So I got to hold her hands while Gail administered anesthesia. 

During some blood testing and an exam at gynecology one woman was found to have an extremely low blood count, so an ambulance was sent for to take her to the hospital.  Almost at the same time, a man was examined and suspected to have an acute gall bladder infection, so he also needed to be transported.  While he waited, Joyce started an IV for him.  Apparently, there is no ambulance available in this village, so a taxi was called and turned into a makeshift ambulance.  Lori suspended the IV bag from the back seat ceiling handle using part of some string that had been used to hold chairs in the half-opened trunk. 

The breaking down of the clinic spaces began at 3:30 and was finished by 5:00 p.m.  We gathered for our team picture and then climbed into our buses to return to Poptun for a short time of relaxation before getting ready for our celebrative dinner in the party space the restaurant. 

So many lives are touched by these clinics!  Every test, every diagnosis, each piece of happy or sad news delivered is of fresh consequence for the person seen and for us as caregivers.  The love of God was truly everywhere as we and our patients interacted with each other today!