The first day of clinic always spells chaos. But we set up our make-shift pharmacy in record time and began seeing patients by mid-morning. Velma sits on the front porch and kindly and patiently greets every client. After taking their vitals and recording their chief complaint, she places them in the red chair on the other side of the front porch. Josh and Sue together work in a 10′ by 10′ room. We have our portable dental chair with us so if a patient needs to recline we have an exam table. The pharmacy resides in a 20′ by 10′ room. Some gracious member of the community has donated their home to be used for the clinic all week. They moved all their belongings into the remaining room. But when we peeked in that room we saw only a bed and a few feed sacks. The work of labeling all the medicines with directions in Spanish keeps us occupied. And this afternoon we taught our first health education class to an attentive crowd of 50. Each family received a bag with Band-aids, vitamins, pain relievers, toothbrush, toothpaste, antacids, cough drops, soap, antibiotic ointment. The donations of the members at Country Club Christian Church make this possible. I wish you could hear the “Gracias, gracias” from the people here who ache and will find relief through your generosity.
A moment ago we saw a baby who was born 2 ½ months premature. Had he been born in a hospital we would have been sent to the neonatal unit. But he was born at home with his grandmother serving as midwife. Mom says he was too weak to eat. He looks like a little bird. Or a cadaver. He’s lethargic. He is now 2 months old and weighs 6 ½ pounds. We pause from our work to utter our silent prayers for his health. Josh says the baby must go to the hospital now. So Clayton will escort mother and baby to the emergency room. It will be a 1 ½ hour ride in the truck on an unpaved road full of rocks and ruts… Clayton just returned. The ER doc at the hospital took one glance at the baby and rushed it past all the other patients in the waiting room. The baby will remain in the hospital for at least 5 days for tests and observations. We are thrilled that he is getting the care he needs