Pastor Jason ended today’s morning devotional with a quote from Mother Theresa:
“We ourselves feel that what we are doing is just a drop in the ocean…But the ocean would be less because of that missing drop.”
The team bus pulled up to the Iglesia where the pop-up clinic was stationed. A line of patients wrapped around the front gates, each anticipating long-awaited visits with Faith in Practice providers.
As a team member with zero medical background, I was astonished by the variety of pathology that walked through our clinic today. Overall, cataracts and hernias seemed to be the leading diagnoses of the day, but patients came in with a range of ailments.
In Physical Therapy, Gayle’s first patient was Pedro, a 96 year old blind man who had suffered a stroke several years ago. Small movements required great energy, large movements were simply unachievable. Pedro could not stand without someone there to hoist him to his feet; even pivoting in his chair was an unavailing exercise. His son explained that the only way for him to move from one place to another, no matter the distance, was for someone to carry him in his chair!
With the referral Gayle made, Pedro could obtain a wheelchair. Though Pedro will not be able to operate the chair on his own, his whole family will certainly receive much relief from this offering.
Her next patient was a 50 year old man, Martín, who tottered into the room leaning on rickety wooden crutches. His legs were bowed, arms stretched beyond normal length. He told us he had never visited the doctor in his 5 decades of living (save for a cleft lip operation, which he received as a baby). He and his wife wore bright smiles during their visit, giggling as Gayle walked him through some exercises.
Gayle supplied Martín with new rubber-tipped crutches. She told him to throw away his wooden ones– that he wouldn’t be needing them anymore. These new ones would be more comfortable and durable, and their rubber tips would help restore his balance and mobility.
We’re lucky to have a decent supply of ambulation aids this year – in the past, they haven’t always been as accessible.
Small things, like a rubber tip, can impact a patient’s life in a big way.
Dr. Jeremy examined a boy who wore his curiosity on his sleeve. He was fearless, asking questions about everything the doctor was doing. Naturally, he was hesitant when approached with foreign objects like the otoscope or tongue depressor, but he placed his trust in Dr. Jeremy and braved his way through the examination with mom by his side.
During his exam, the boy caught me taking pictures and said “the doctor is doing all sorts of things while he’s taking pictures of me.” Lydia, one of the team’s translators, remarked “that’s because you’re just so handsome.”
He puffed out his chest and said, “Yes, I am.”
Our pediatrics team saw many children throughout the day, including a six year old boy who had 24 digits – six on each extremity. He and his mom resided in Guatemala City, but had decided to make the long journey (via four different buses) to reach our clinic in Retalhuleu today.
This was surprising, considering the existing medical infrastructure in Guatemala City, but the boy’s mother insisted on coming to our clinic. A few years ago, her husband had a hernia that was repaired by a Faith in Practice surgical team. They were happy with the results and have since trusted the organization. The boy left today with a surgical referral and will have his extra digits safely removed.
Dr. Joe met with a woman, Layla, who came in for back/shoulder pain. However, as her visit with him was wrapping up, Layla mentioned having difficulty with her vision as well. Dr. Joe held a paper about a foot from her face and asked if she could read it. Sadly, she was unable to discern anything.
So, Dr. Joe took his own glasses, handed them to her, and gestured for her to put them on. Immediately, Layla’s eyes widened, her face beamed, tears of joy welled. The difference was night and day.
Dr. Joe then referred her to Pamela, our eyeglass coordinator, who was able to find a perfect pair for Layla.
She walked out the clinic radiating joy.
Mardi, one of the team’s lab workers, met a gentleman who said, “Thank you for being here… For my people.”
I asked Mardi, “what did hearing that mean to you?”
“It means everything. That one sentence makes it all worth it.”
Drops in the ocean.
To support this team and their commitment to our patient’s visit: