Open for Business

Today started off with high hopes of our first full day at the clinic. The only catch was that our boxes of supplies were due to arrive this morning – so we awaited their arrival…hour by hour. Eventually we decided just to go with what we had, and rest in faith that we would still be able to make a difference while the supplies caught up to us. So we set off for Trinidad. The bus ride was full of anxiety: what would be waiting for us, and what would we be able to do about it? When we arrived, shortly after noon, we were met by a line of about 40 or so patients. None of the patients were angry because we were late, and none seemed disappointed by our lack of supplies. They stood there patiently as we did a few final adjustments to our set up. And then the supplies arrived. Five of the eight boxes came by van, so we promptly began setting up our pharmacy with drugs, supplies, and equipment. Finally, just after one, we opened up for business. We had three folks working triage, five practitioners diagnosing and treating, three or four in the pharmacy, and two translating and otherwise helping. Our doctors, PAs, and nurses did what they do best, and the rest of us were called upon to do things above what we typically do. 1285865-1634626-thumbnail.jpg
Christie hard at work
With the help of Doris and Kelli, Liz was able to triage patients. Under the guidance of Michelle, our practitioners – Matt, Amy, Mary Cate, and Christie – treated and diagnosed a vast array of ailments. Parasitic worm infections, scabies, urinary tract infections, cerebral palsy, chronic cancers…it was quite the mixed bag. With P.J. helping in the pharmacy, Nick, Aron, and Paul were able to sift through the bottles of medications we have and distribute them appropriately. Sara floated around and made sure everything was going smoothly, and, along with Aron, probably spoke more Spanish today than she has anytime recently. We were provided with three translators today, along with other local volunteers from Trinidad – they made the day possible. 1285865-1634682-thumbnail.jpg
Aron, Paul, and Nick running the pharmacy
We saw patients until shortly after 4, and that was about as long as we could have handled today. The total count was somewhere in the mid-50s: not bad for three hours work. I confess it felt like many more – it just goes to show how exhausting this work is. We made it back to San Pedro Sula in time for dinner, ready to do it all again tomorrow.

Posted on June 10, 2008 .