Take 1-2 pills every 4-6 hours

I'm just getting around to writing this now because last week was crazy busy but one of my favorites thus far. I got to translate for my first medical clinic, which was a fascinating process to see in action. The group consisted of 4 people from St. Paul's-Des Peres (my home church) and 21 from St. Mark's in Kentwood, MI. St. Paul's was going to be here this week but since they couldn't find a doctor to run their own clinic, 4 of the seasoned veterans from St. Paul's volunteered to come help the MI group with theirs, seeing as though they'd never done one before. We started off at Anapra on Monday and Tuesday (in the dark...the electricians showed up to fix the electricity as we were getting ready to pull out on Tuesday afternoon...and it was cold too!) and then moved to Cristo Rey Wed-Fri. I'll try to explain how it all worked via the pictures below:

This was the scene in the conference room Sunday evening, getting all the supplies ready--I took one look at everything and had to bust out the camera.

Patients started by registering their names and medical histories. Some people did this on their own b/c the form was bilingual, and others required the help of an interpreter or at least someone who knew enough Spanish to read the questions and mark Y or N. At Cristo Rey we gained an additional translator who helped with this and freed me up to work entirely with the nurses so Annita (the Spanish speaker from the MI group) didn't have to handle all like 4 of them alone.

Kids get antsy if you make them wait with nothing to do so we came armed with balloons, jump ropes, and bubbles.

Monday and Tuesday I was supposedly working at the "Jesus table" (the last stop before people left), which was manned by the Pastor from MI and was where people received hygieine kits and Bible study materials if they wanted them, but I got called to the registration table and the pharmacy a lot, so once we had the extra translator, I worked exclusively with the nurses, particularly Karen. Basically it looked like this (here is Chris doing the same thing with Ellen). I would ask people what was wrong, tell Karen, and then interpret as they dialogued back and forth. A sampling of the medical vocabulary I learned along the way: pneumonia, kidney, liver, cramps, tonsils, mucous, constipation, chicken pox, and the list goes on. Most people just had minor ailments like colds and headaches, so I wound up saying the same things over and over, but there were a few more serious cases which got passed on to Fred, our nurse practicioner.

Dr. Ellen (she is a pediatrician--oh I learned how to say that too: pediatra) and Fred.

The pharmacy ladies: Leslie, Sharon, Yvonne, and Deb. Everyone who came through got vitamins, and then those who needed them would go to the pharmacy for other types of medications (Tylenol, Motrin, blood pressure/diabetes medication, stool softeners, cold meds, cough drops, different types of antibiotics, etc.). This was quite possibly the part of the process that amazed me the most. I guess it was just because I kept thinking about how detailed the planning had to be to inventory all that and have so many different remedies available. It blew my mind every time I thought about it.

So that's pretty much how it worked. I hope that made sense, I tried to put the pictures in order. We saw 611 people total, which is a new record, but it was more challenging than I had envisioned. First of all, I found it really hard knowing what to say to some people. Like I could physically say whatever in Spanish (I actually felt really confident in my skills as an interpreter and felt like I improved over the course of the week) but stuff like when we had to turn people away when we closed the doors, or when people asked for medicines for someone who was unable to come see the doctor, or when we had to tell kids they needed an adult in order to see the doctor just killed me. It was also hard b/c I have to learn to balance doing stuff like that and working in the office. I got a lot done today but it took me the entire day to catch up from essentially doing nothing over here for a week except the necessities, like write Rita a check request so she can go buy food.

I also just wanted to say that it was really nice to see people from my home church. Here is all of the St. Paul's people by the sign, the traditional picture that we take every year. I'm not homesick at all like I was pretty much the entire time I was in Spain, but it was nice to see familiar faces nonetheless. I didn't even know everyone beforehand, or maybe like I had heard the name but couldn't put a name to a face or something like that. I really enjoyed getting to know them all better though.

OK Chris is bugging me that it's time to shut down for today, but I still have more to write about from last week so watch for another post probably tomorrow!

Until next time, blessings!


Anonymous said…
Thank for making our first medical/repair mission so special