Our final clinic day was a little more relaxed. We had 74 patients, mostly from Bijague again. We worked with Dr. Cynthia and nurse Miriam.
One particularly fun patient was a man in his 80s who needed some reading glasses. Our friends from North Carolina’s mission team had left several pairs of glasses, but we didn’t have any official way of testing the eyes for the correct strength. Our testing literally consisted of trying on one pair after the other, and then asking if it was any better. After trying several pair on, he found some that enabled him to read again! I have noticed that the newspaper still seems to be the primary mode of communication here, probably because cell coverage is spotty and cellphones and computers are expensive. What seems like a small thing literally gave this man part of his life and independence back. Before leaving the clinic he went around to each of us, grinning from ear to ear, shook our hand and told us how happy he was that we had come.
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Our lady with the leg wound came by for the last time today, and we set her up with plenty of supplies and instructions to care for her leg. She also gave us each hugs and even kissed me on the cheek. What a sweet and beautiful woman!
Yesterday, we had stopped at a house on our way home where a lady was in need of some incision care after a bad car accident had left her with rods in her leg. She appeared to be largely bed-bound, unable to get around because any pressure on her foot caused severe pain. In the US, anyone with this type of surgery would be prescribed heavy-duty pain medicine, but this lady only had Tylenol and Ibuprofen available. We delivered a walker to her yesterday and Betsy had used her physical therapy expertise to develop a plan for the lady to begin to move around so she wouldn’t lose use of her leg permanently. She did not appear convinced about the walker, and we left yesterday with a bit of doubt in our minds that she would have the ability to push through the pain and start to move around.
We were pleasantly surprised today that she had indeed used her walker and was actually out of bed in a chair! Betsy was able to do some beginning range of motion with her and it went MUCH better than we expected. Betsy also spent some time instructing the lady with exercises to continue over the next few weeks to help increase the motion in her knee joint and start to regain strength in her leg. We left hopeful that she would be able to continue to improve. Also, her incision looked excellent and we left her supplies to care for the wound until it heals completely.
After we saw our last patient in the clinic, we counted and packed all the meds and boxed up many of the prescription medications for MINSA, the government health agency. While moving the boxes, I (Anne) had a close encounter with a scorpion on my hand, which I was fortunately able to thrust off before it could cause any damage. Yikes! That would not have been the way I wanted to spend my R&R day!
When we delivered the eight boxes of meds to MINSA, their reaction could only be described as ecstatic. They thanked us about 100 times and expressed their gratitude for being able to send some of their staff with our group to do special testing (i.e. the malaria tests). We were also very thankful for all their help in making our clinic effective as it was.
In the evening we went out for pizza, which was delicious. We then headed back to pack our piñata, and our bags for our journey back to Managua after the fiesta in the community tomorrow morning. We are tired but filled with a feeling of satisfaction as we look back on a successful and rewarding time here. Many hours of planning and preparation have made this possible and we thank everyone who has had some part to play! It had been a great time so far for everyone.
– Anne, on behalf of our Nicaragua Mission Team