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Day Two in Honduras

June 7, 2010

Today we split up into two medical teams; the primary dental team remains at one place in Danli having set up their clinic, it is far easier to bus patients to them than for them to move. Their work requires light, electricity and the capability to sterilize instruments. Some teeth are too bad to save; others can be repaired. A dentist goes with each medical team to provide basic dental care—and I can fully admit, I know very little about teeth. They also have suturing materials and can repair lacerations as needed.

I am assigned to El Paraiso. Our work area is in the church, the front part of a very large Quonset Hut; classrooms are behind the church and then there are three smaller rooms that have not finished out into any thing recognizable. The classrooms come equipped with very large chalkboards and one of them has treadle sewing machines covered neatly with fitted tablecloths. Sewing lessons require thread and fabric–and I suspect a teacher.

We all set up our work areas and begin to work. I see the usual assortment of headaches, parasites, skin rashes, fungal infections, colds, and the occasional hypertensive. One dear lady had a nearly empty card of a medication clearly given to her by the last medical team passing through the area. We did not have that medication but the pharmacist and I figured out something that would be nearly equivalent for her. All of these people thank us so fervently, they are so grateful. After I see them, they must wait in line for the pharmacy to fill the prescriptions. And then they must walk home, carrying bags of medications and a little one or two.

About mid day, a runner from the other clinic requests assistance as they are inundated with patients. The other ER doctor goes to assist them, leaving just two of us. We continue to see patients at a steady pace. somehow we did not have any Motrin or liquid Tylenol and I dosed adult Tylenol for the children telling the mothers that the medicine would taste bad.

In mid afternoon, a runner from the other clinic requested yet another physician. Our patients had slowed to a trickle and so I went to the other clinic. The other clinic was in a school. It is hard to walk about in those classrooms and see what little those teachers have to work with. the furniture is well-used. The roof has a large hole in it and some sort of wasps buzzed about their nest. One of them landed on my pen; a little girl pointed it out to me; I flipped it off onto the floor and squashed it with my shoe much to the little girl’s amusement.

At the end of every clinic, pharmacy must pack up their medications, and reload them into the bus. I felt terrible guilty about leaving Dr. Compton by himself but it was a decision–good or bad that I made. When we returned to pick up that team, Mass was underway–and we joined in. A hired band provided some very lively music and the congregation was enthusiastic. The sermon was in Spanish; I was able to catch just a few words. Had I been less tired I would have tried harder but my brain was tired after a day of trying to understand Spanish.

Supper was well-cooked Spaghetti.

I had the luxury of hot water for a shower. Tomorrow will be an even earlier day.

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