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Day Four

Joanie gave out exquisitely decorated face masks as we boarded the bus this morning. There were various faces, animals, and cartoons and this definitely kicked everyone’s spirits up a notch. Not that anyone’s spirits were down! Next Twyla handed out the fashionista award(s) to Joanie and Marty. We made great time to El Durazno even though we encountered the same truck backing into the same cement factory while leaving Jalapa. This time, though, the road was blocked for about 30 seconds.
Arriving at the site, everyone went to their clinics and stations and started to get everything ready. Things were running like a well oiled machine. The laboratory needs hot water from the kitchen for ear lavages, so this was my first mission. Once the lab was set up, I assisted Dr. Kim with some skin tag removals. Using lidocaine and a razor, she made quick work of the tags, and I supported with any needed blotting. Mostly I was just there to make sure the area was well lit. Next I went with Dr. Johnson to meet Jorgé, a forty two year old man who had recently become diabetic. In the last couple of years Jorgé had lost sixty pounds. To add to the complications, he contracted Covid and was left weak, and under one hundred pounds. Jorgé needed a wheelchair to become mobile again. While visiting the wheelchair clinic with Dr. Johnson, I met another patient, Angelito. This little guy captured everyone’s hearts. Four and a half years old, he has cerebral palsy and no way of walking. When I met him, he was just being strapped into a custom built wheelchair. He was so comfortable in the wheelchair that he fell asleep, even when adjustments to the chair were being made!
Today was a record ear lavage day. Yesterday I assisted Twyla, and today, I was able to help out more. As things became busier, we ran out of hot water, and I asked Mario to run to the kitchen for more while I prepped the equipment. After their lavages, the patients were beyond happy to be able to hear again. Next I was able to get our hemoglobin tester working. It likes to have just the right environment to be cooperative. The patient needing the hemoglobin test was slightly low, and could almost be considered anemic, so this was a good win.
Many of the patients towards the end of the day were Dermatology patients, so Dr. Kim was a bit busy. We still finished on time and I was able to snap pictures of a bus heading to Monjas, about two hours away, with a bunch of wheelchairs on top. The kids in the back were excited to get wheelchairs and enthusiastically waved back. Lastly I snapped a picture of a husky for Dr. Gallacher who loved the dog’s dual-colored eyes.

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