(Sorry for the delay - the internet was down due to storms!)
We awoke early and traveled the rough road to Concepcion del Norte. Upon our arrival, crowds of people were gathered outside the tiny Episcopal Church. Over 50% of the population of Honduras is under the age of fifteen, and the mass of patients reflected the youth of the country.
Our team came together quickly. Three of us manned the triage station; one served to direct traffic; four practitioners worked in stations; two served as translators in addition to the two translators provided by the diocese; four set to work in the pharmacy; and one floated, and helped where he could (guess who?). The amazing thing was that the team functioned beautifully – you’d have thought we’d been doing this for years.
And the patients came. They ranged from nine months to 100 years (literally). We treated loads of parasitic infections, gastritis, asthma, as well as the predictable aches and pains and rashes that come from an impoverished, ambulatory society. But we saw some other conditions as well…an old blind women who hadn’t had anything to eat or drink in 4 days – we gave her a couple liters of IV fluids and a lot of multivitamins. We encountered a young woman who was a victim of domestic violence – we offered some counseling and support. And there was an older gentleman with advanced Parkinson’s that we really couldn’t do anything for, except show him compassion and offer some comfort. Through it all we tried to show the grace that has guided us here, and the patients we saw showed extreme gratitude for our efforts. At the end of the day, after we had already cleaned up and were preparing to leave, a mother showed up with her 10 year old son whose hand had been injured some days ago and become badly infected. We decided that the best thing to do was open the wound to drain it and begin a course of antibiotics. So we quickly set up for the procedure. Our nurse anesthetist administered local anesthesia, our surgeon wielded his scalpel, our other docs and pharmacist organized the meds, and within minutes the boy’s wound was drained, his hand bandaged, and the danger that the infection posed was drastically curbed. We’ve asked him to return for follow-up tomorrow.
In all, we treated 193 patients – more than twice the typical daily load from our last trip here to Honduras. We are pretty tired, but we are energized by the need, and by each other’s gifts, and so inspired to do even more tomorrow.
The rain that typically falls in the evening has started beating on the roof. Now, off to bed!