Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Talanga brigade

I was ready for another day helping in the pharmacy when one of the first patients of the day needed a male translator for a groin exam.  Kevin (a PA) went to give the exam in the bathroom, while I stood at the door and added any necessary translation. 
Very quickly though, I understood this was no ordinary exam.  I was being asked to take a picture for future reference/consultation.  I asked the patient permission, took a few pictures...very disturbing pictures.  We inquired more about treatment, which doctors had been consulted.  The situation had been worsening for 21 months, starting treatment for warts, and then when that did not help...seeing more doctors, and almost a year ago, a consult in Hospital Escuela in Tegucigalpa where the recommendation was for total amputation. 
We decided to call over Darwin for further consultation, as Kevin was describing the situation as a "once in a lifetime" scenario.
Darwin examined, talked, and agreed with the recommendation from the hospital, as cancer was the very likely cause.  I did not get all the story, but this started external, on the skin, Darwin was hopeful that surgery now would stop it from going internal and causing more problems.  He mentioned something about the patient having had the papilloma virus as well.
I did little translation from there...as Darwin was in full sympathetic doctor, and fellow male, mode...trying to encourage him in this very difficult decision, in his marriage, work life, etc.
Concerning was hearing the patient say that other doctors that he has gone to see recently have not even examined him, not "cared" at all, but just very crudely told him to chop it off and be done with it.  He was grateful for us taking the time to look, to talk, to question, and then to explain.  Where have I heard that previous? 
More concerning were the people that had visited the man in the last ten months to "declare" him healed in the name of Christ.  If he had faith, and was declared well, then why would he need surgery?  Not prayers for healing...but declared right then and there (on multiple occasions) as already healed.  The words we use in prayer have deep meaning for those receiving those prayers...we should be careful I think with what we say.  I was encouraged to hear that he came to the brigade though after talking to His Eyes' pastor José in Talanga...that maybe the "gringos" would have more information. 

We prayed for the patient (I am not going to include his name)...Darwin and Kevin with him in the bathroom, me standing outside the door.  I took this picture, deliberately omitting his face, during the prayer just struggling to process the whole thing. 

That was, and is, tough to process.

There were other powerful life stories today as well, many more than I will ever know most likely...I know I was asked to call José in specifically for one woman who was visibly shaken, and of course there were answers being given, new diagnoses shared...powerful stuff.

I had fun with kids, with adults, took time to
make some connections, and then got to see Oscar and Al help the nursing students once with their teaching time. 

Having a preacher instead of a translator do teaching on washing and brushing teeth turned a good lesson into a great short sermon and analogy filled prayer time. 

Glad I took the late lunch to be able to watch that go down.

I was busy enough that I did not get too many pictures, but this one just hit my creative side too much. 

My station was near the stage, and one of the "desks" we were using had some of the sound equipment...including this homemade percussion instrument.

I thought it made a good lens attachment.

So good, apparently, that after one picture...I had quite soon two subjects to capture rather than one.

I wish I had some clever way to tie all this together...we can  chalk this up to another example of life...sometimes it wraps up nice and neat, sometimes it just is...for good, for bad, for when you are happy and when it makes you mad. 

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