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Today was a leaning in day. Starting with Nicole’s devotional when Luis, her dad, leaned in and translated the two poems she read.

Ears That Hear

Ears that hear, eyes that see,
A heart that understands.
One who sees the broken pieces,
Gently holding them in your hands.

Eyes that tear up with emotion,
Ears that hear what you can’t say,
A heart that beats with feeling,
Helping pain to edge away.

Ears that hear the silent cries,
A heart that feels the breaking,
A soul who knows that kind of pain,
The anguish, depth of aching.

Ears that listen patiently,
Eyes that see through tears,
An empathetic, caring heart
That understands your fears.

I have no wealth of gold to give away,
But I can pledge to worthy causes these:
I’ll give my strength, my days and hours of ease,
My finest thought and courage when I may,
And take some deed accomplished for my pay.
I cannot offer much in silver fees,
But I can serve when richer persons play,
And with my presence fill some vacancies.
There are some things beyond the gift of gold,
A richer treasure’s needed now and then;
Some joys life needs which are not bought and sold-
The high occasion often calls for men.
Some for release from service give their pelf,
But he gives most who freely gives himself.
—Edgar Albert Guest

From the moment Team Wells arrived at the clinic greeting patients outside and the phenomenal local volunteers inside, we leaned in: from triage to the clinics to the lab to pharmacy to referrals for further care, providers and staff listened with heart, cared for their patients and patient families.

While everyone who comes for care touches our hearts, there are people with extraordinary challenges who tell their stories who are hopeful doctors can provide a cure or relief from their symptoms and problems.

Grecia, a 35-year-old woman, struggled to walk, barely lifting her right leg. You could see and feel her determination as she slowly walked with a cane—one she borrowed as she doesn’t have one of her own. Her 14-year-old son came with her, supporting her in her labored gait.

Dr. Jenny treated Grecia who told her she’d had a seizure delivering her son and was unconscious during and after delivery. She doesn’t know what happened. Postpartum she had some type of brain bleed and was sent to Guatemala City for a craniotomy, to drain fluid in her brain.

She went on to tell Dr. Jenny that she’d been unable to get out of bed for four years. She was told she’d never walk again, a fate she refused to accept. She relearned how to walk through grit and determination, through faith that she could and would walk.

Dr. Jenny said she likely had preeclampsia that turned to eclampsia after the seizure.

Preeclampsia and eclampsia are pregnancy-related high blood pressure disorders. Preeclampsia is a sudden spike in blood pressure. Eclampsia is more severe and can include seizures or a coma.

In the states, pregnant patients with high blood pressure, with preeclampsia, are closely monitored weekly, with practitioners checking symptoms and lab results. Many women with preeclampsia are hospitalized and monitored. If anything changes, the baby will be delivered early.

Lacking regular prenatal care that includes blood pressure checks, most Guatemalans are vulnerable to complications of pregnancy, including the enormous consequences of eclampsia.

Today Grecia received care and kindness from our team. She was given a knee brace since she has no muscle control in her right leg. And, most life-changing, she now has her own wheelchair.

Her son walked in with his mama on his arm. She leaned on him. He leaned on her. Grecia left in her new shiny chair, her son pushing it, giving her back a freedom she hasn’t had for 14 years.

-Annie Gudger


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