Day three of our clinic began as the others have – an early breakfast at the hotel followed by the beautiful trek to Concepcion del Norte. It had rained heavily last night, but while the ground was muddy the clouds had cleared, and a strong sun promised a hot day. The power that supplied the church had been lost, and so the two fans – one in the clinic proper, and one in the pharmacy – which had helped keep the temperature somewhat under control, were non-operational. But no worries – we shrugged our shoulders and set to work.
And the crowd came. Over 110 of them came, mostly as families. Alberto returned this morning, proudly saying that his hand continued to feel better. The swelling had indeed improved – it looks like his hand will be OK. Stacie treated a man who complained of ear discomfort – when she took a closer look, she saw that an old, dead bug had apparently gotten lodged there in some wax! Throughout the day there were many of the kind of straightforward treatments for parasites, infections, headaches, and allergies that we have seen a lot of, since they are part and parcel of an impoverished lifestyle, but there were also more demanding cases too: a child with epilepsy who needed her medications adjusted, a boy whose sprained ankle needed wrapping, and a women to whom we gave a pregnancy test that proved positive.
Our team continues to excel, treating patients with efficiency but, most importantly, with compassion. As one member commented, because our treatments are limited, perhaps the most important gifts we can give them are time, attention, and compassion. We are so accustomed to striving for efficiency in our lives that we sometimes have to remind each other of the need to adjust our outlook and value these very gifts that we have in greatest supply.
And so we will continue on. Our clinic runs one more day…