Sunday, January 4, 2015

Clinic Day 4: Selflessness

Hi everyone! Welcome to the Dominican Republic trip Day 8!

Wow I can't believe I'm ending day 8 already. It still feels unreal that I'm here and that I'm doing what I'm doing. It's surprising how I already feel completely comfterable with my living situation here, as if I've been living this way my whole life. It feels totally normal to be living with 12 other girls in one apartment and falling asleep with all the noise of the city. It's amazing how quickly someone can adjust to their situation.

Today we had another clinic day. I do not recall what city we were in today but it wasn't far at all. I worked in the vitals station again but his time I was measuring blood glucose levels. There was this one woman who was my favorite. She was in her mid-thirties and when I explained to her in my best broken Spanish what I was going to do she started laughing nervously and kept taking her hand and giving it back. She has never had her blood-glucose measured! At one point she, still laughing hysterically, took grab of my leg gently and said she was so scared. The translator and my other glucose partner were native speakers and they reassured her. She finally let herself be calm enough for me to prick her fingure with the little retractable machine we have, and she admited it wasn't bad at all. She really made me smile and laugh today. It was fun because of humorous people like her. 

There was also a very sweet middle aged man  who came in towards the end of the clinic. He didn't come in last. I took his blood glucose levels and directed him to the doctor. After there were no more people, my station closed and cleaned up after 20 minutes. We joined the doctors and the pharmacy in the next room. As I sat down next to the doctor I like to shadow for some more experience, I notice  him still siting waiting for his consultation.

When a doctor was free he walked up but was sent back because there were kids that had numbers before him that he didn't realize. So he went back and sat waiting in the little school room chair. He then gave up his spot next in line to a middle aged woman who had coughing fits. And he was the last one left waiting. I couldn't beleive it. This guy must have been there over an hour whereas most onl wait for at most a half hour.  When my doctor came back from checking something she took him to examine. Just as she was writing out the prescription, the the last of the medication that he needed was given to the woman he let go in front of him. He was clearly upset and I was too. 

Now some of you might think that this was his own fault. That he should have been more firm. 

These people are incredibly nice and selfless. This was just a greatly unfortunate situation. Again, I really wish I could have done more for him. It was just one bottle more I wish I would have magically had so I could give it to him. 

That's the worst part about clinic days. We only have a designated amount of medications per clinic day. Every single time we run out of the medications most of the patients need. We couldn't account for which medications those are each time. It changes. And it breaks my heart every time someone is sent home without the medication to help them be healthy. 

Tomorrow we have a free day. We are probobly going to plan our education day and hopefully horseback ride!!!!

I would love to know what you think about my trip and my opinions.

Till next time, 

Saturday, January 3, 2015

Clinic Day 3: Learning from the Selfless

Hi everyone! Welcome to the Dominican Republic trip day 7. If you wish to skip the stories, scroll down to the few bottom paragraphs.

Today we went to the little village of La Joya. We set up all the supplies and stations in a school. I worked at the shadowing station, so I sat next to a doctor all day and took notes on the patients, their symptoms, the doctors diagnosis and the prescribed drugs! So cool!

It's safe to say that the same greatfullness and respect was given to us as all the other people we helped in previous clinics gave us. We helped about 120 people in 4-5 hours. I couldn't tel you the exact time. It just went by way to fast and I just don't keep track. Like always there were a few elderly with high blood pressures who were given special medication by the doctors that we didn't provide.

There were many kids. More than usual. And 9 out of 10 kids were sick with the flu. It's a good thing I got my flu shot and hopefully it's the right strain.

There was a little girl that was in the clinic area for about 20 minutes, like most who were waiting their turn. She had a little pink top on with a white tie that around around the front. While she was waiting she watched us and was really cheery walking around the room. She saw me smiling at her, and just as any kid does, she smiled a huge smile back and ran to me for a hug. I hugged her tightly back. You never know the situation these kids are in. Especially in these areas. So after making sure she had no apparent skin diseases I gave her a loving hug every child deserves.

The doctor I was shadowing atracted all the kids to her so I ended up observing the doctor's questioning and diognosing of this 6 year old girl. She was in for the flu like most, but what we learned about her was out of our hands. When she was much younger, she had a fever which caused a seizure. Because of this, she has hyperactivity and speach impediment. She was also supposed to be taking medication and vitamins to help her with this but that was not affordable to her.

There was this other kid who ran and plopped down on the chair with his friend on the other chair right next to him. He started grabbing everything. Pens, papers, hand sanitizer. The doctor asked him where his mom is. He said with a smile that she's dead. The doctor gave me a weird look. She kept questioning him in Spanish. Apperently, he was telling the truth. When the aunt came over finally with 2 other kids on her arm, she verified that both the mother and father died 4 months ago. The kid's smile is so unnerving. I can still see it in my mind.

And the last story I will share for today was one I did not experience directly. At our post-clinic meetings, the site manager told us of a woman who brought in 5 children to be seen. 3 where her own but 2, a boy and a girl, where not. When analyzing past history the doctor found out that the parents of the boy and girl found out the children's health problems, took their things and abandoned the children in their house. The neighbor took the kids in as her own and that's who brought the kids in to be seen.

So as you read my stories I hope you can learn about people as much as I have. Yes there are horrible people out there, but there are also great people out there. Ones who are incredibly greatful and respectful. And especially those who have so little but still give so much. Like that woman who took in those poor abandoned kids. She wasn't looking for compensation or pity. She was a strong woman with a big heart.

I hope everyone finds kindness for others in their hearts. This kind of love for kindness should transcend money. How is it that I have had more people genuinely smile at me in this clinic than I have a whole month back at home in Chicago? Why is it that the people who have so little are actually happier than many who have descent bank accounts? Money can never make you this kind of happy. Material things will never make you feel loved in this way. These people feel happiness because they hope to be healthy soon. And they know it's because of us.

Most of the problems we think are problems arn't even problems. And many of the problems that are actually problems to us are so trivial.

These people could care less about snapchats or nice sofas. I'm not saying it's a sin to indulge in these things. The problem occurs when these things prevent us from respecting and loving each other as human beings with the basic rights to happiness. You, YES YOU, are the source of happiness to more people than you may think.

I really hope this has made you think a bit. These topics have weighed down my heart greatly since the first clinic.

Till next time,