Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Just another Monday

I do not work at the clinic every day. Sometimes I miss the camaraderie of being part of the day to day team, like seeing the party here in the pharmacy (not a real party mind you...just people working together that actually enjoy each others company...as Diocelina was not even working this day and yet was still there), and yet there are times where I struggle with the work in general....not that we should not be doing it, but with...well, it would be better to just show you just a few of those struggles from just one day this week...a normal Monday.
Valerie often tells me about her patients. She gives me a history, I ask follow up questions, then try to figure out what they had, or what prescription she gave them. It may sound weird to you...but that is fun for us.   She told me Monday of an 80 year old patient with a very high prescription (over –20.00) that suddenly in the last month can not see more than general hand motions. I asked question after question...she did not have the answers. Why not?   I want answers! This woman is now blind...and we do not know why. I know that we do not have all the answers in life, we never will...but I struggle especially in this area...trying to help someone physically, and in the end, all you have is bad news with no concrete reasons. I know, I know...we know God has a reason, there is a plan...I tell people that when I have to be the one to give the bad news...but I am still weak in that area, having too high of expectations for what should be possible.
Then she had another patient that had cataract surgery three years ago (not the patient seen here...that is another story for another time..not from Monday.) They told her to use drops, so she has....for the past three years. Antibiotic/steroid drops. Now she has glaucoma...among other things. The lack of good patient education, proper instruction, and follow up is also frustrating. I am not directing my frustration at the patient...just those situations. They happen elsewhere as well, it is not just here, but to think of the problems generated over three years that could easily have been corrected...it is hard. I see why Valerie goes early, stays late, and works even sometimes on the weekends. Finding a balance between wanting to help and doing what is best to protect yourself for the long haul is hard. I see that in general medicine as well....the decision is made that Dra. Reina can not possible see any more patients in a given day...and then in comes someone bloody or dying. That happened Monday as well while I was there.

Some of you have met and worked with Fernando. While Valerie and I were discussing other important matters (see below), his mother came in from the road with one of her older daughters carrying one of her younger daughters that is often sick. They came after having been in the emergency room since before dawn, and then sent to a local health center. All the nurses are on strike, and no one could give her daughter the shot she needed. The doctor in the hospital would not do it (that is a nurses’ job apparently) and of course no nurses were working in the health center either. If she had not been able to come to the clinic (albeit hours later), I do not know what they would have done.

And then I helped Valerie in some of our more prestigious work...helping her throw away the spider they had previously trapped in the clinic. She did not want to pick it up, or even discuss how interesting the hairy critter was, so she got the pleasure of finding a trash bag to untie instead while I had the honor of looking the very much still alive spider in the eyes. All the ants that had joined the spider were already dead. I believe she specifically told me not to take a picture of this....so let us just keep this between us, ok?

That was just part of Monday.

The struggle will go on...that is life here in this world. The reason I bring this all to this forum is in a plea for prayer....prayer for us and the clinic staff for endurance, for encouragement to do what can be done, and God’s peace and Word for when things come that we can not fix. And also prayer for Honduras...specifically in this case for the medical system in general. It was announced today that the national University is going to take over the administration of Hospital Escuela. It is hard to know what changes that will bring at this point, but we are not anticipating any huge positive changes...at least not yet.

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