Welcome to our journey. We're so glad to have you!
As we prepare for, and soon embark on our journey, this blog will not only be a window into our travels and experiences, but also a way for us to share with our supporters in the good works along the way. So many people have helped make this trip possible and for that we are grateful! We hope you'll stay tuned to see what and who your support impacts. We also ask that you will continue to pray for us and the people we will serve while we're in Nicaragua.
Tuesday, August 24, 2010
Awesome patient day!
Hello friends, family, relatives, and strangers.
Today was our second day of patient clinics in Leon with our Seacoast Team. The day began hot, but promising with all the smiling, excited faces walking into clinic. As soon as our morning prayer was over, we were assigned our respective positions and we dispersed to our stations. At this point, beaming with confidence, our team took on the morning patient load. This morning proved to be a particularly fun and interesting morning for everyone with many people in new positions. I was assigned to be in clinic (helping to see patients) with Caroline S. and Leah G. Early on, Caroline say the patients by herself to get us familiar with the interview and be ready to begin our own questioning. The patients were ALL very receptive and welcoming to us (students) as well as the rest of our team. They were even willing when we wanted to take an extra listen to a heart or crackling lung sound. It all proved very inspiring that these people trust us, traveling from so far and having no information about us, and that they could put their faith with us in this way. Truly it is a gift to be able to see these people, learn from their conditions, and reflect on their situations.
There were two very intricate patients that stuck out in my mind today. The first was a middle-aged woman, who was severely concerned that she had diabetes. Our triage team provided us with some historical information that was pointing, almost definitely, to a diagnosis of diabetes. Her signs and symptoms created this notion in us, as well as the patient. We decided to do a diagnostic urine lab, and once the results came back we were all relieved. Instead of having diabetes, this woman had a minor infection which created symptoms that mimicked some of the signs of diabetes. We discussed the results with the patient and she almost instantly broke down crying. The tears were not because she was sad, but because she was so incredibly relieved that she did not have diabetes. Her concern was that she could not pay for the treatment of diabetes and we gave her the blessing of relieving that burden. She even was able to obtain the treatment for her infection free of charge. This was a great blessing for all of us who experienced it.
The next, and most moving experience, was with an elderly male patient in the afternoon clinic. This man came into our consultation room with the assistance of his daughter. He was very hard of hearing and also had very poor vision. During the interview with the patient, we discussed many issues he was experiencing and tried to prioritize these. I took the initiative to ask just how bad our patient’s hearing was – as his vision was rapidly declining and likely could not be changed with our intervention. The daughter explained that it was very poor (as the patient sat quietly, in apparent silence, only partially being able to hear our discussion) and that he wished it was better. In the back of my mind, I remembered coming across a hearing aid kit the day before in the glasses kit during my shift assisting patients with new glasses. I quickly pardoned myself and dug through the suitcase which held the glasses, finding the aforementioned kid containing several hearing aids. I tried to put a few together and was quickly discouraged, as they were very old and some even had rusted battery compartments and could not work. I then found an individual hearing aid kit, in a small pouch with replacement batteries inside. The only problem was it was the kind which you place inside your ear, i.e. it must fit perfect or else it will not work. Well, I quickly returned to the consultation room, praying that this would work! With high hopes, I opened the case, placed a new battery in, cranked the volume all the way up and began to put the aid in the patient’s ear. Immediately I realized this was an absolutely perfect fit for the patient, and that it fit into his ear snugly like a puzzle piece. It was as if the hearing aid were specifically designed for him. Within a minute or two, with the volume adjusted, the patient began hearing significantly better and you could see his face light up. He began talking more because he could hear that we were talking about him, and he wanted his input! What a miracle…
I will never forget this patient and hope that in sharing my story, my team members will be inspired to reach deeply into their hearts to help every patient as much as possible. I truly believe it was meant to be that I discovered those hearing aids by accident the day before and that there happened to be one that PERFECTLY fit the patient. Thank God for all of these things, it truly has been a great day.