Thursday, February 16, 2012

Wednesday Wrap

So far this morning I am 0 for 2: no one from my little running group showed up, and the internet is not working. So I’m writing this as a Word document and hoping to be able to post it later (which, obviously, has now happened as you are reading it).

Yesterday (Wednesday), our clinic itself was way out from Danli, almost an hour, on the ranch of one of the Rotary club members. People came from miles around. We were set up in a school again, though this time all six providers were in a much tinier room—between that and the generator going outside, there was quite a din! I had another high schooler from the bilingual school translating for me, and he was fantastic—his English is excellent, and he didn’t flinch when asked to talk about various maladies from constipation to vaginal discharge to urinary tract infections. (He told me afterward that he had three sisters, so it was just like home.) By the middle of the day he had all of my regular patter down: “it’s a virus you don’t need antibiotics for that,” “don’t drink alcohol while taking Flagyl,” “coffee and soda and spicy food will make your heartburn worse,” “a spoonful of honey at bedtime is the best medicine for cough,” and he would launch immediately into all my questions for differentiating migraine from tension headache without me even having to ask. He’s planning to apply to medical school, and I think he’ll do great!

Aside from the fun of working with David, the clinic itself was so-so. This place actually gets a fair amount of medical attention since it’s on the land of this Danli Rotarian, and many of the people felt like professional patients—reciting a litany of complaints to get a certain set of medicines. This is a bit frustrating because each new thing that they say spools out a long differential diagnosis in my head (is that stomach pain reflux? Gastritis? Bad enough to be an ulcer? Viral? Constipation? Parasites? Diabetic gastroparesis? Lactose intolerance?) and then we do it all over again for headache and cough. I don’t think there’s much of a concept of well child care—the parents seem to think that they have to have some complaint about the kids (usually “gripe,” which is a cold), whereas I’d be happy to just hand over some vitamins and pronounce them healthy! This has happened to some extent at the other places we have gone, and is certainly a result of both sporadic access to medical care and our medical mission groups “training” them that there’s a pill for everything, but yesterday was the first day that EVERY patient seemed to have three, four, five, six issues they wanted to discuss and it was a bit draining. Some of the other providers (and the experienced interpreters) are better at cutting through those things.

I did take MANY animal pictures for Brynna. They are all from the ranch.

The real fun of yesterday was after the clinic. The ranch, as I wrote, belongs to one of the Rotary families, and the husband is retired from being very highly placed in the government (that’s why there will be soldiers in some of the photos: look Mom, a military escort!). His wife took a small group of us back to their ranch house afterward to look at their horses. They have some breeding stallions: a couple of Peruvians, who have a smooth “Cadillac” gait and thus make great all-day riding horses, a Peruvian-Spanish cross, a very hyper Quarter Horse who had recently been injured (yikes! The idea of barbed wire on a horse farm gives me chills) and a beautiful Spanish horse (by which I’m almost positive they meant Andalusian). The groom longed them each for us so we could see them in action. Beautiful!

After about an hour of oogling the gorgeous horses, and wishing that we’d had time to ride, we headed back to Danli. Cynthia and I rode with the ex-government minister, one of his friends, and this also meant that we were driven by one of the soldiers. After winding our way through a succession of dirt roads, we approached a lovely river. And then kept approaching. And then realized that the road continued on the other side, which probably meant that we were going to drive through it! My photos do not adequately capture how nerve wracking this was, especially after the guys in the front of the two pickup trucks got out and had a brief conversation, I think about which gear to use while driving across the river. The truck managed to swim across and then lurch up the opposite cliff onto the road without actually causing either of us to have a heart attack, but it was a close thing, and involved a lot of hysterical giggling. I was able to lean out and get a photo of the truck behind us coming up the bank.

The rest of the ride back was pretty uneventful, and then we went to a Honduran restaurant for dinner. It was quite late by the time we got back, and once I resuscitated my computer (which had somehow lost all its battery power despite sleeping all day), I was too tired to go back out to the lobby (where the wireless is) to send emails. I guess I should have, since now the network is not working this morning.

We have two more days of clinic—today and tomorrow—and I think we are going to tour the main hospital tomorrow too. Friday night one of the Rotarians is hosting a “do” and Saturday I think we’re going to someone else’s ranch to relax before heading back to Teguc on Sunday for our flight. So far, this is definitely something that I’d like to do again (though with better Spanish, I hope). 

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