Thursday, March 14, 2013

Goodbyes are always hard! Off to Antigua tomorrow!

Again, surprise! Today started with breakfast. After breakfast, our group went to the Maxi Bodega to buy food for the 20 families of the church in La Majada. We were able to purchase beans, rice, masa, oil, sugar, chicken soup mix, and incaharina (a protein/supplement drink mix). We put together bags for each family and then traveled to La Majada to deliver. It was very touching to be able to provide food for these families as they were very grateful for our gifts.

After the church, we traveled back to the Maxi Bodega to buy gifts for the orphanage. All of the children are sick with Rotovirus, so we purchased drink mix and saltine crackers, cookies, and juice. The representative of the orphanage was very appreciative of the gifts we were able to provide. We traveled to the train museum in Zacapa, and learned about the history of the railroads in Guatemala. They have not been in operation for many years, but the government is hoping to reopen as some point.

We traveled to the Lutheran School in Zacapa where Carla (one of our translators) teaches. We had a nice lunch and tour of the elementary and boarding school, and were also able to see where our cook for the week has been preparing our meals (he also cooks for all 72 of the boarding school children). We then went back to La Majada, toured some of the homes in the community, and saw where the houses will be built in April by our construction team. Kayci was able to make tortillas with one of the women, and we all really enjoyed learning the technique.

Most of the group then went to the market in Zacapa. We really enjoyed seeing the local market full of fruit, tortillas, clothes, bras, underwear, bras, bras, bras, jeans, food with flies, and more bras. Bev bought some saffron (which we later learned was laced with corn husk). The men and Kayci then enjoyed many rounds of UNO (Ernie won many times!!!) and a game of Spoons.

We are all hitting the hay early tonight, as we will be packing up to leave at 6am to head to Antigua for a busy day of acting like tourists. Goodnight! We miss you all!

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Adios Clinca

We woke up to cooler weather this morning (101 instead of 102...just kidding). Omelets were made for breakfast, and some people made a Subway sandwich with their meal. Kayci rode by motorcycle to the clinic with Alex (our interpreter), and we all arrived to many patients again this morning.

Our day was slow, but we saw some interesting clinical cases. We were able to switch up some of our roles today in the clinic, with Jeremy helping supervise some of the pharmacy students while completing his favorite crossword puzzle and Joy helping Ernie with seeing patients. We saw our favorite VP shunt boy, a few MRSA patients, Marfan's Sydrome, and many patients with uncontrolled or unmedicated diabetes. We also had a new interpreter, originally from Michigan, who is now a nursing student here in Guatemala. It was interesting to be able to talk to her about her schooling and her take on this culture (she is living with her grandparents). It was great to have an interpreter in the pharmacy (our first time for week two) as we were able to counsel much more about disease states. Phil had a great counseling session with a man diagnosed with Diabetes, and was able to help him figure out how to change his diet to help manage his disease. Please check Kayci's bag when she gets home--she might be storing a Guatemalan baby or two.

At the end of the day, we were able to donate many of our medications and supplies to the nursing students. Chris gave her stethoscope to a nursing student that did not have one, and all of the nursing students received vitamins from us. We split our extra medications between the nursing students, Dr. Elry, and the children's shelter. We were all very sad leaving the clinic, as we had met a lot of new people who had brought us many laughs (especially the sisters that had helped us run the clinic for the last three days).

After the clinic, we all ate ice cream and it was delicious (said is a speak-singing voice from Jeremy). Some even ended up with some of the chocolate on their shirts! It was a great way to end the last day of the clinic.

For dinner, we had fish (with the heads already taken off--thank goodness)! Tomorrow we will be visiting a local children's shelter. We were told many of the kids have Rotovirus, so we will be visiting the Guatemalan Wal-Mart to buy Pedialyte for the children (and we will not be playing with them--we are afraid of Guatemalan Rotovirus).


Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Survival of the Fittest

Today was another hot day in the lands of Guatemala. We had some pancakes for breakfast (it felt just like home) and then headed to "the clinic". There were many more people waiting for us this morning, but most of them were waiting to receive glasses from us! The glasses line was longer than the medical check-in line this morning, and the people that received glasses were very excited to be able to see.

This morning, Jeremy and Chris were helping with intake, Ernie and Joyce helping to see patients, Bev and the three pharmacy students (Kayci, John, and Phil) dispensing medications, and Joy entertaining all of the extra children. We started our morning with a prayer from the pastor of the church, and started seeing many patients (mostly children today).

The highlight of the morning (especially for Ernie) was listening to a generator and chainsaw. Ernie could barely hear the sounds of heartbeats and breathing, but he found a way to make it work. We saw quite a few pregnant women, and Ernie dropped some hints for the upcoming pediatric pharmacy exam to Kayci. We saw a woman that was in congestive heart failure, children with scabies and head lice, and many diabetic adults. Joy also really enjoyed a pigeon that dropped an egg right on top of her CD player. This put an end to the music, but we couldn't really hear it anyway over all of the noise.

Lunch was very welcomed, as a way to relax and join again as a group. We had some down time before our interpreters returned from their lunch (we learned our lesson yesterday of not starting before the interpreters were back). Joyce went back to the hotel before lunch, as she was not feeling well (don't worry, she's feeling better now). In the afternoon, Kayci joined Chris at intake, and Jeremy helped Ernie as a provider. The afternoon brought many headaches (both of the kids and all of us). Many of the kids complained of headaches at school, but most of us complained of our current headaches from the still-running chainsaw and the fireworks.

Kayci had a great time at intake, helping with getting vital signs and holding many of the babies! Many of the older women were very grateful for their care, and gave out many hugs and kisses (some of the kids did as well).

After we packed up at the clinic, we went to the Maxi Bodega (Wal-Mart) to buy some needed supplies and presents for all of the women who have helped us run the clinic. Then we came back to the hotel, relaxed, and played some UNO. To those wondering, Ernie has STILL not won a game!

Buenas noches everyone!

Oooh, It's Hot Down Here. . . . (Clinic numero 2)

Yesterday was our first day in La Majada to provide care for them.  We again, started our day with a wonderful breakfast provided by Carlos and his wife.  He is a chef for a local high school and college.  The hotel that we are staying at in Zacapa offers a laundry service for 20 Quetzals.  What a deal!  For us two weekers, it is a nice surprise to have this amenity. After breakfast, we were off to "the clinic" for our first day.

We arrived at "the clinic" and there were already people waiting to be seen despite having to wait another 30 minutes before we open.  We took that time to set up our workstations and released the pharmacy students to organize the pharmacy how they wanted and that it would be a user friendly system under the supervision of Bev.  Once we had everything in order, it was time to open for the day with Chris completing intake in the morning and Jeremy in the afternoon. Joyce, Ernie, and Jeremy being the providers for the morning and Ernie and Joyce in the afternoon.  Joy organizing the children's area as well as assisting throughout the clinic where needed and Kayci, John, and Phil heading up the pharmacy with Bev.  Thank you to the whole team for all that you did yesterday in order for us to provide the best care that we could.

Our clinic today, saw multiple complaints for aches and pains throughout the body especially two individuals with Sciatica.  They both had seen a physician for this but the recommendation was surgery.  When diving into the situation, they were never informed about steroid injections first and then potential surgery.  Not sure if those physicians were thinking about cost first and foremost because in the national hospital, the visits are free but medications are not.  It is interesting to me that this is the way the national healthcare system is and not potentially covering medications that have a high success rate in curing or at least prolonging the most invasive procedure. 

As a surprise, some nursing students from the area joined us in clinic most of the day. They were doing well-child checks and giving out immunizations. The nurses were very interested in what we were doing and what medications we had brought along. We wish that we could have shared some of our assessment skills with them. With the many glasses that were donated to us, we were able to meet the optical needs of many adults. The looks on their faces was a "sight to see" (pun intended per Phil).

Pharmacy had a fun day working without a translator. The pharmacy students picked up the spanish very quickly, writing labels and counseling in Spanish with minimal help from the translator that was helping the doctors. The words started to roll off the tongue without difficulty. We handed out many bottles and bags of children's multivitamins and acetaminophen, and helped to treat some diabetic and high blood pressure patients as well.

After "the clinic", we all went back to the hotel and rested for a while before dinner. We had a great dinner of baked chicken, mashed potatoes, and vegetables. After dinner, the group went to church in La Majada. It was interesting to listen to a church service in Spanish. The people of La Majada showed how grateful they are for our clinic services.

On our way home from church, we drove through many of the local markets. Many of them were unloading tobacco and fruit in the coolness of the night. The markets were very busy with all of the Guatemalan people working.

Sunday, March 10, 2013

On The Road Again!

Today it's 102 degrees, and we were told that tomorrow it will be hot...we aren't sure what defines hot.

This marks the last day of our work at Holy Cross Clinic with Dr. Elry and Liz.  Having to leave this inviting family is a difficult one to do no matter how many times we come to Guatemala.  In order for us to reach out to as many Guatemalan people as possible, this is something that we must do.  We climbed aboard the bus and off we went to pick up our additional teammates from the Crown Plaza.

We had a restful and yet interesting travel day today. The three amigos (Kayci, John, and Phil) arrived this morning and joined the two week crew. We drove from Guatemala City to Zacapa by air conditioned bus. We made a stop at Pollo Campero (Guatemala's KFC).  While we enroute to Zacapa, we had a slight delay, maybe of a whole 5 minutes, due to a semi trailer that had tipped over because of the grade of the terrain despite the sign notifying them to "proceed with caution".

While we were our way, we met up with a group of missionaries from Concordia University Nebraska while we were stopped at the "bodega" for some basic cleaning supplies. This group also included Grace Hughey, the wife of Steve (the director of CALMS). It was fun to see and chat with another group of missionaries from Concordia.

When we arrived at our hotel, a group of missionaries that were packing up donated many of their extra medications to our group. We were so excited and blessed to receive these extra medications, as we were going to make a trip to the Farmacia to stock up for this second week. Many of the medications were for pediatric patients (which will be our main focus this second week).

We ate really well today! John and many others are looking forward to the wonderful meals provided to us this week.

It has been decreed that the new official beer of this and future trips has changed from Gallo to Moza. Uno remains as the official game. Tonight's winners were: Kayci, Jeremy, and John. Ernie has still not won a game.

We are going to head to our rooms so that we can get a good nights rest in order for us to provide the best care to the people of La Majada.

Good Night and keep an eye out for our experiences from tomorrow!  God Bless!