Monday, March 31, 2008
We arrived about 0830 and there were quite a few people there. We were served some coffee and bread. I gave my camera to Juan so he could use it to get the photos he wanted. We sat for almost 2 hours and then were served a Coke and some more bread. We found out that there was not going to be a service for all of us. The families were in another part of the house and all of us were seated outside.
Then some people came out and placed a table in front of us. Within a few minutes the bride, Tomasa and the groom, Felipe came out and stood by the table.
The photo below is of Tomas and Pedro. About 6 months ago Tomas was very sick and people gathered in his house to say their final good-byes. He came to clinic last Saturday and told me that God wanted him to live longer and and that is why he is still here. To his left is Pedro from Mactzul VI. I have previously blogged about his son dying and that he and his wife are having a very hard time. A prayer is offered before the family receives gifts. The family of Tomasa gave numerous bundles of gifts to the family of Felipe. As the gifts were presented, Tomas counted them aloud and then they were rebundled. The couple will now live with the groom's family.
There were many, many gifts given. I am sure there were over 200 people there. As I have stated before, the culture is different and I do not understand many things. There was more crying today then at the funeral I attended and it did not seem to be tears of happiness. The bride and groom never smiled and very seldom stood close together.
We were served a traditional wedding lunch of rice, squash and beef with a special sauce and tamalitos. It is amazing the amount of food that these ladies can prepare for larger crowds. It was a very good day and I wish Tomasa and Felipe many years of happiness.
Sunday, March 30, 2008
We have another class on Tuesday for the guys I work with. This class will be on different antibiotics and how to give different medicines. I think they will like this class a lot. I like for them to have some understanding of the medicines that we use and I love their questions.
Worship was at 4pm this afternoon......well, it is suppose to begin at 4pm but many people arrive after 4:30. It is just one of those cultural things. A family sat next to me and I could tell the little girl wanted to look at my song book so I held it down to she could see it. I was so glad that I could understand the guy that called the numbers........I did not want her to think, "I am sitting next to a blonde gringa."
The message was a very good one. He talked about different illnesses of the body......cancer, HIV, heart attacks, arthritis........and that they only affect us physically. Then he asked the question, but what illness makes us spiritually sick? The answer he gave was sin. God can not have any relationship with darkness or sin. Sin totally separates us from God unless we are Christians and then we can have forgiveness. He then continued with many scriptures in Acts that tells how people were baptized when they asked what they needed to do to receive salvation. It is only through baptism that we receive the blood of Christ.
This lesson reminded me of a patient that Gaspar and I talked to this week. This patient was not a Christian but was practices costumbre......meaning that she follows the traditions of her family or culture, not the Bible. I also remembered us talking to her last month. She has arthritis in her knees and has a lot of pain. She has been to doctors in the City and has received many injections but they did not help. She is in her late 60's which is older than many of our patients. As we were talking, I told her it was important to remember that only in this life we have physical pain.....that it heaven there will be no pain. This opened the door for Gaspar to talk to this lady more in K'iche' because, I had said ALL I could say :) Gaspar talked to her about heaven and how to become a Christian. I hope that this lady will continue to think about what was said and that she will return to the clinic again.
It is time to study some more and then go to a wedding tomorrow. I was asked to bring my camera so I think that means I will be the photographer :)
Saturday, March 29, 2008
We had 15 patients in Mactzul today. When we first arrived I thought it would be a real slow day but things changed a little......ok, first, how many people can fit into a truck already loaded with medicine and dental equipment? I will let you know by the end of the blog:)
Our first patient had tonsils the size of apples. She told me that she has not been able to eat for a month. So, I gave her some medicine and asked her to follow-up with us in Lemoa.
We had a sick young man come to the clinic today. His name is Jeremias and his family practically carried him in. They said he had been having problems with his stomach for a month and for 2 days he has had a lot of pain. He was dehydrated and obviously very ill. I asked the family to think about going to the hospital when we were ready to leave.
They talked about it and then decided to take him to the hospital in Chichi. We loaded the truck with all of our equipment and I knew that we did not have very much room for riders. Within a few minutes, many more people arrived and wanted to go. The father was distraught and asked us to pray for his son. We all bowed for a few minutes of prayer and the 18 year old man leaned on his wife for support.
As we started loading the truck I realized everyone was going. Every family member thought there was room for one more. We piled 15 people into that truck! We gave the family the phone number of the clinic so we hope that they will call us on Tuesday to let us know how he is doing.
When I got home, I wanted to go and check on the little lady that fell. I had taken her some ibuprofen and it helped her hand so I wanted to take her some more. When I got close to her house, I saw her outside sweeping! I had not seen her sweeping since December so I knew she was feeling better. I gave her the medicine and some small cakes I brought from the States. She asked me if I liked chocolate and then invited me inside her home!
Her terrace is beautiful! She has over 50 flowering plants and everything is so well manicured. She walked me though and told me the name of everyone and what colors they are when they have flowers on them. We went into her kitchen and she gave me some chocolate wafers to make hot chocolate with! She said that she had bought them special for Semana Santa, their Holy Week. She then reached under a table and uncovered huge loaves of bread. She packed one for me with my chocolate as she continued to thank me for the medicine. It was one of those special moments!
OK, home for the UNC ball game.........Go Heels!
Friday, March 28, 2008
Marcos and Aura picked me up near my house and we made our way to Paxot II without any problems. We began our clinic with prayer and then we started taking names of patients. The porch was full of patients and I could tell it was going to be a wonderful day.
The first patient came with a complaint about her eye. From her record, I could see that she had a consult in November 2007 with something in her eye then. They had given her antibiotic drops and suggested that she come to Clinica Carris if the eye drops did not help. I remember being told about this patient but never remembered seeing her. Well, I found the small black object hiding in the corner of her eye that had been there since November.
I tried very hard to get it out but it looks like there is growth over the top of it. I hope that she will follow-up with Josefina or go to the other clinic. I just did not feel comfortable doing any more. She asked us to pray for her because her husband drinks a lot, she does not work and does not have any money.
We ended up with 16 medical patients and 8 dental patients. We were served a very good lunch of soup and tamalitos.
The photo below is of when my mom and dad visited this clinic with me. This day was one of my dad's favorite days. He got a lot of attention since he was lacking something on top.........I do not think I have seen very many bald Guatemalan men.
Today, Juan and I took photos of a patient that is crippled. Juan is helping him get a wheelchair and they need photos for the process. A wheelchair would help this young man a lot.
Thanks to everyone who reads the blog and leaves comments. I enjoy doing the blog and giving a glimpse of the work being done.
Thursday, March 27, 2008
We had 14 dental patients and 15 medical patients. Tomasa, the lady that needs surgery in April, had brought her lab work to the clinic. The results are within range so the plan is for her to have surgery the week of April 13th. Her mother came to the clinic today with more numbers that we needed and she also needed to sign a paper. Out of habit, I started to hand her my pen and then remembered that many patients are not able to sign their name....so we got the black ink pad and she made a stamp with their thumb. We completed the papers so she is set!
I also received an email from Dr. Phillip that he can do surgery on the boy with the cleft lip in La Palma. I am so excited because I know this will really change this boys life.
Today Gaspar refilled the medicines that he keeps in his home and we prepared medicines for Juan. This is a very important aspect of the work being done. The goal is that all health care promoters will keep medicines in their home so they can help their community when there is a need and the patient can not wait until the next scheduled clinic. This shows the promoters have increased their knowledge and I feel that this also shows our confidence in their skills.
When I got home this afternoon, I grabbed my change and went out into the street to buy a few things. I always try to walk around town a little and not get into the habit of starting the computer right away. I saw several people in the street that I knew and we chatted a little. I also saw one of our regular patients that was with his family.
This is what I bought in the market: a bag of radishes, 2 avocados, a 100w light bulb and a pineapple. Can you guess how much I paid for everything??? I will let you know tomorrow because right now I have to check on the UNC ballgame. It is tournament and I need to be cheering the boys on to victory!!
Tomorrow we go to Paxot II, Juan's community..........
Wednesday, March 26, 2008
It was a great clinic! Marcos had 18 dental patients and there were 11 medical patients. One of the men from the Church helped me with the K'iche' speaking patients. I really like to involve the people from the congregation so they help me with translation and then also pray with the patients.
I received a call today from Josefina and the boy with the cleft lip in La Palma returned to clinic today with his father to discuss surgery. I really hope we can help this child. He is 11 years old and I think that he gets teased a lot in school.
I also received an email about my friend Mary who has lymphoma. Her PET scan showed that the tumor has been reduced by 50%..........I am so thankful to God for this! Please remember her and her family in your prayers.
Tomorrow we have clinic in Lemoa.........another day, another adventure!
Tuesday, March 25, 2008
My flight to Houston was interesting. The flight attendant had been a nurse in her previous career. I am trying to encourage her to visiting Guatemala for a surgical clinic. The lady that sat across from me was in the process of moving after meeting her fiancee. She was very open about telling us how many times she had been engaged but never married.........can you count to eight???
Alex picked me up from the airport and the drive home was uneventful. The road construction continues outside of the City. I had forgot many things last week. I forgot how close road construction can take place to the lane that has the right-of-way.
This photo shows the depth of the interstate and that much of the labor is done by hand.
Now, this man has the right idea!!
Tomorrow we have a medical and dental clinic in Las Trampas. Gaspar called me tonight and we just chatted to make sure we are prepared for tomorrow. I hope that we have a huge crowd of patients!
Monday, March 24, 2008
Going into a 25 aisle grocery store can be overwhelming and I feel like they should give the customers a map when they go in. Restaurants with an 8 page menu can also be confusing. I am use to restaurants with no menus that offer spicy chicken, fried chicken, grilled chicken or soup for their meals.
Riding in my mom's car on the interstate felt like a rocket. I kept asking if we were going too fast!?!
I even saw a few flakes of snow today! brrrrr.......it was cold!
It was great to spend time with family and friends......but now it is time to get back to clinics. The fight is at 0600, so it will be a short night.
Saturday, March 15, 2008
Yesterday my American Online crashed so I took my laptop to a computer guy near where I live. It was a terrible feeling not being able to read mail or work on my two classes online. I thought, if he kills my laptop..............well, he just better not :) He punched around on it for about 30 minutes and charged me Q5, less than a dollar. I brought it home and it worked! whew........
I went to see my little lady friend today that had fallen. Her hand looked better and her finger was less swollen. She said that she hurt only a little. I took her more medicine and told her I would check on her again when I returned.
No exciting photos to post. Santa Cruz does not seem to have as many events as Antigua does prior to Semana Santa.
OK...packed and ready..........it will be a busy week at home but I will keep you posted..........
Thursday, March 13, 2008
These were some children playing near the clinic.
The patient that I was most excited about today lives in Mactzul VI. She first came to our clinic on March 5 with the complaint of being thirsty all of the time. She said she had eaten a small amount of breakfast 4 hours before. We checked her blood sugar anyway and it was "HI" on the meter. I asked her to come see us in Lemoa the next morning and not eat anything for breakfast. She agreed and her blood sugar was 451. Soooooooooo......we talked about medication, what foods were good to eat, what foods to avoid and what food combinations were good. Today her blood sugar was 96!! I was so pleased with her progress and her husband was also excited.
One lady brought her daughter in with a cough that she has had for about 3 months. She also brought in her baby that was very sick last week and she is thankful for the progress the baby has made.......she told me how strong the baby is now........gracias a Dios!
Between patients today I washed the dental towells and sheets. For some reason, I find doing laundry at the clinic relaxing. Maybe because the sheets smell clean and it is warm on the porch.
Before we left, one woman walked by with her little girl and she was concerned the girls face was so dry and scaly. I asked her what soap she used to bath her and she told me powder soap used for laundry. We talked about different soaps that were better for children's skin, lotion and where to buy these things. I hope that she is able to change soaps soon.
Our clinic tomorrow was cancelled :( I like that area and really hope that clinic develops into a large clinic......but it will also be nice to have the day tomorrow to clean and prepare for my trip to the States.
Wednesday, March 12, 2008
Oh Lord, our Lord, how magestic is your name in all of the earth! Who has set Your glory above the heavens.
The photos do not capture the beauty but it gives you an idea. Have you ever wondered why God created the world in colors? He could have created it just as well in black and white. I think it was for us to enjoy it more :)
We had a good clinic in La Palma. We had 9 medical patients and 11 dental patients. One little boy was very sick and his mother said he had been having fevers for 20 days. We explained that it would be better for the child not to wear his winter hat and we gave him his first dose of medicine before he left the clinic.
This little boy was out playing between classes at the school and wanted his photo taken.
We found a boy with a cleft lip today. We talked to Agostin, one of the men that helps with the clinic there. We asked him to try to contact the family of the young boy and talk about returning to the clinic for a surgical consult. This is a perfect opportunity to help this child and his family.....and who knows what other doors may be opened.
I heard from Rosario at Clinic Ezell today. She said that all of the eye surgeries were going well!
Tuesday, March 11, 2008
Well, we had 20 patients and most of them were ABC children. If anyone reading has ABC children from this area, let me know and I will help you make contact with them. These two boys had been trying to climb into the truck so I gave them a lift up and they loved playing up there.
The children are fun to play with and tease. They laugh at my pronunciations and I find a way to tease back with them.
Gaspar's dad helped us with clinic today and his mother was there also. I really enjoyed spending time with her even though Gaspar and Juan needed to help us with translation. She is a mid-wife and I told her that I needed to learn a lot from her. She told me I was welcomed to spend time with her.....she has 3 ladies who should be giving birth in the next month. She is a very sweet lady and really enjoys talking and laughing.
Gaspar had lunch for us in his house today. We drove down to his house after we had seen all of the patients. His wife, Juana, is a very sweet person also. I just wish the language of K'iche' came in a pill form...............
Gaspar told me that two families in the area are wanting to become Christians and will be baptized on March 16th. He asked me to attend the baptisms but that is the day I am flying home. He knows I would love to be there!
Last night, I saw on of my little lady friends. She had fallen and her hand was real swollen. She lives by herself and seems very lonely. I had some medicine in my back pack so I gave it to her. I told her I would visit her again before I leave for NC on Sunday.
Monday, March 10, 2008
As the girls waited for their turn, they colored in books that we had and then took chairs out into the field to play duck-duck-goose. The boys played soccer until the ball was kicked down an incline and lost......then they took turns balancing on posts by the clinic. They enjoyed showing off for the camera!
It was a good day. The sky has been exceptionally beautiful the last few days. We did get a little rain tonight which is unusual for this time of year.
All is well........people are home and safe.......Lisa and Kemmel are doing well in the City........and tomorrow is another adventure in Xepocol.
Saturday, March 8, 2008
We drove to Chuchipaca and had clinic with 13 patients. The children below visited the clinic today. The boy on the right stayed through the day to help us. After we had seen all of the patients, we drank some coffee and ate some bread before leaving to be sure no more patients would come to visit.
I am not sure if I had mentioned it but I have completed my English as a Second Language Certificate! We will restart our English classes on the first Sunday in April. With that class behind me it is now time to concentrate on continuing education hours for my nursing license.
I do not miss many things being here....but one small thing is not having a TV to watch Carolina Basketball. Tonight is a hot game between UNC and Duke. I am surfing between 3 channels online to follow the game as close as I can.......it may be a sad ending........brb
ok, sorry, I was surfing....two channels gave me different time and scores.......something to make me bite my nails more.........
OK, I expect my Skype phone to sound at any moment with my dad calling to tell me Carolina won! He always sends the write-ups of the game the next day...........
Friday, March 7, 2008
Today we headed to Chocaman IV for our clinic. We had 12 medical patients. It was a variety of illness and some previous patients returned, feeling much better.
There were 2 diabetic patients there today and it was exciting to see their glucose more controlled. One patient's glucose was 85 today and another one was 120. Both of these men were over 300 when first diagnosed.
Several children had fevers today. One child's temperature was 101 so Gaspar did not wait for the mother to give the medicine when she got home, he gave the first dose there. He and Juan were both excited later to see the temperature coming down.
The photo below is of two children with their bags of medicine waiting for the rest of the family. They were so excited, you would have thought they were birthday presents and not medicine
Below is another clip of Anja's Birthday! It was after the pinata broke open and everyone was on the ground looking for and grabbing the candy..........sometimes I think the adults have more fun than the children!
Thursday, March 6, 2008
Some of us went to our regular clinic in Lemoa. We had 17 medical patients and I did not hear a final number on the dental patients.
The patient with the nasal tumor returned and I was eagerly waiting to see what information he had for us. Unfortuantely, he had not gone for his consult at the hospital. Kemmel and I have both talked to him and his mother and have said that maybe we could help financially with his treatment but need to know more specifics of what the treatment might be. He said that he would return next week with more information.
We saw a lady yesterday in Mactzul VI who complained of being thirsty all of the time. When we tested her blood sugar, the glucometer read "HI", which means it is over 500. I asked her to visit us today in Lemoa and not eat any breakfast before she came to the clinic. Her glucose this morning was 463. We started her on some medicine and talked about how she should alter her diet. She said she will return to Lemoa again next week so we can see if some progress is being made.
Today many of us went back to Mi Taco Express for dinner. Some of the students still did not feel well so they passed. We then returned to the hotel to have a devotional. Then everyone took a few minutes to share with the group what they enjoyed most about the week or anything that really encouraged them. We ended the evening with prayer and asked God to grant safe travel tomorrow as they drive to Antigua and then as they fly home on Saturday.
I would like to thank the family and friends of the students who have been reading the blog and posting comments. I really appreciate it and hope you continue to read about the clinics.
Wednesday, March 5, 2008
It was nice to see Pedro again. He is the gentleman who's son died a couple of weeks ago. He seemed to be doing as well as can be expected but his wife is struggling. Please remember her in your prayers.
The group was given a chance to try their hands at making tortillas. It does not appear to be very hard to do but once you try..........your thoughts are different.
This little girl has no problems and enjoyed showing us how quickly she could make one!
This little boy won the hearts of the students! I had to check their suitcases to be sure they did not try to smuggle him back to Santa Cruz!
The students brought soccer balls and played with the children and they loved it!!
They left the balls with Pedro so they can continue to enjoy them.
We ordered pizza and had it delivered to the hotel tonight. It was very good! We ended the night with a devotional again led by Juan Diego. Juan Diego studied at a Bible college in Honduras and from time to time works with Health Talents helping translate for visiting teams.
Juan Diego talked tonight about how the Guatemalan culture is repressed by their own government. He gave many reasons for this, one being the language barrier caused by 23 different languages. Another one that he mentioned was the civil war that lasted 30 years.
All of this was leading to scriptures that talk about Jesus being compassionate and healing. He said that Guatemala needs a leader who has compassion for the people. Guatemala needs a leader who is strong and will heal the land. It was a very thought provoking discussion because there are so many areas of need here..........the two largest being health-care and education.
Well, all of that thinking made me want icecream........so we all headed out for some.......now it is home for a good night of sleep!
Tuesday, March 4, 2008
We loaded 4 vehicles this morning full of supplies and people and made our way to Pacaja Xesic. We had 23 medical patients and 22 dental patients. Brian and I saw one lady that has a small mass in her abdomen. She will have an ultrasound down and follow up at our clinic in Lemoa. Another lady brought her ultrasound back today that confirmed a mass so she will also be seen in Lemoa. Hopefully, we will get both these ladies scheduled for the surgical clinic in April at Clinica Ezell.
Below is Aaron playing around with one of the little boys that lives near the area we have clinic.
This little boy is always full of energy!
We were served a wonderful lunch today by the family that lives near the Church. We had fresh guaccamole and blackberry punch with steak, beans and tortillas. There are no words to describe how good it was! After lunch Anaj was presented her pinata. It was suspended in the field so she could really stretch and show us her swinging ability.
Below is is the Pepperdine group before Anja takes her first swings.
This evening we had dinner with a lady that grills steaks in front of her house.....another delicious meal. We followed dinner with a short devotional and people having the opportunity to share their thoughts on what they have experienced so far. People have enjoyed the hospitality of the Guatemalans and their willingness to open their homes to us.
Monday, March 3, 2008
These were the Pepperdine students and Julie that were with us today. The other students were with Josefina in Clinica Carris in Lemoa.
I worked with Brian, who is a pediatrician from Minnesota. We had a good day talking with the patients and examining them. He is very kind with his patients and through. When we had a few minutes between patients, people went to check out, Jose, the dentist. Jose lives in The City and studied with Marcos. He is here to help us this week.
After clinic we ate dinner at a small restaurant here in Santa Cruz. I am going to snatch that hat before the end of the week! :)
I never can forget our guys! They keep us going on a daily basis and are very helpful!
Tomorrow......another day.....another challenge!
Sunday, March 2, 2008
We found a van that did not have any passengers to we jumped in that one. When we arrived in Chichi there was a traffic jam so we unloaded early and walked to the corner. As soon as we got there, a tuk-tuk lost it's front wheel. The guys, wanting to be helpful, just picked the tuk-tuk up, turned it around and pushed it up an incline to remove it from the congested area. Then the owner was able to totally replace his wheel!
Max wanted to buy some blankets with money that was donated for his trip. He was able to find a good price and with doing so, marked himself as an easy buyer :) The ladies below followed and followed him hoping he would leave Chichi with their goods also in his bag.
We enjoyed lunch at one of the favorite restaurants, Casa Juan. They have a good buffet on Sundays and it is in a central location.
I had a real good group photo this morning but had camera problems so I lost it. :( I will have to work on another one. This photo was taken in the Santo Tomas Hotel while we waited for everyone to return.
We safely made it back to Santa Cruz in time for worship. Josefina's dad preached the sermon and Juan Diego translated for him. They have never translated the message into English before so I thought this was very kind of them.
The message was on evangelism and what really evangelism it. He talked about the death and resurrection of Christ and how Christians are to continue to share this story. Without the resurrection, there is no Christianity. When we are baptized, we are baptized into Christ. He shared scripture from Romans 6 as he spoke. It was a very good message.
We then went for icecream and some went to get more substantial food as chicken and pizzas. I headed home to make last minute plans for tomorrow.
We are going to a new community tomorrow, Xeabaj. I am really looking forward to it and pray that they people will be receptive and we will have several patients.
Saturday, March 1, 2008
Gaspar told me today that me wants me to clean his teeth. I told him I did not know how but I would be glad to watch, learn and to clean his teeth.......I will keep you posted on that :)
One husband told me that his wife had not been feeling well for about a month and was not eating very good. So after talking to them for awhile, I tell her that I now will examine her. Then her husband tells me a few other things that makes me think she might be pregnant.......he proclaims, "No, she is not....these problems are because she is sick." Well, she is pregnant.......they have have 4 other children, the youngest being 9 years old. I do not think she was very happy about the situation.
After clinic we went Lemoa to reorganize the truck and prepare for next week. I drove Gaspar back to Chichi and wanted to wash the truck. All of the car washes were packed so it will have to wait for another day.....what harm is a few more inches of dust on the dash???
The Pepperdine group arrived safely from The City. Marcos, Manuel, Maury and Aura went to get them. I met them at the hotel when they arrived and we walked to dinner at Mi Taco Express.
When we arrived at the restaurant, our friend was happy to see us. He seemed not sure about taking our orders and seemed to hide behind the stove. I asked him if he wanted me to do it.....he said yes, please! So all of the orders were taken and then we promptly emptied out his fridge of drinks. Everyone had a plate, some had two and again, we were all happy campers.
The group walked back to the hotel and probably crashed for the night.....they were tired from the early departure this morning, the flight and then the drive to Quiche. Tomorrow morning we will head to the market.