We were late to the first day of clinic. No matter how we tried, we couldn’t get away from the Totogalpa (municipal) clinic. In part in appreciation of our new medical team members, Dr. John Showalter and Dr. Francisco Uriarte Wallas, and in part to highlight the needs of the clinic, we received a briefing, a tour, and a brief catalog of material and technical needs. We were on schedule to arrive at the clinic at 8 am and didn’t arrive until 9. All of us worried, fussed, and urged, but none more than Molly Copeland (third year team member). Too many times I have wondered what we would do without her: organized (read OCD), deeply dedicated, determined, and frank. You need not wonder what Molly thinks: she will be clear. She keeps us on course and, when at all possible, on time.
His high school Spanish is a little rusty, so Dr. John depended on Ruby Langeslay (third year team member) to translate — and more. She caught on quickly to the patient interview/diagnostic process and kept our Knoxville flash on course. Ruby’s genial and relaxed manner helped to ease the stress and tension of too many patients, too many illnesses, too little time, and too little medicine. It appeared she was a little tired out from the experience, so I suspect that she’ll sleep well tonight.
It appears that the medical passports were well received. Patients listened patiently (ba dum dum) and seemed genuinely to appreciate the idea that these records will help us and other medical providers (both local and visiting) provide more continuous and integrated medical care. They handled the documents with a care and reverence that was touching.
Jess Yon (1st year team mate) made her first foray into the field. She learned the basics of global positioning system, taking points to record information that we suspect may vary geographically: house composition; roof composition; number and variety of livestock; and whether or not residents have found chinche bugs (the source of chagas), for example.
We’re edging closer to the community meeting and our newest team members are adding significantly to our efforts. Jackie Goldschmidt’s (1st year team member) research project focuses on cultural understandings of health, sickness, and the role of individuals in achieving and maintaining health. Her interviews today were surprisingly revealing, and while we understand that this is very preliminary and exploratory work, the insights may prove crucial in our efforts to partner with the community to improve health and health care.
Dinner tonight (again) at the hostel. No complaints. The food is good even if the menu is limited. For me, chicken (pollo), prepared basically in one of three ways (fried, chicken-fried chicken, or something that looks much like Kentucky fried), rice, beans, plantains. Good, filling, loaded with carbs, sustaining. More work tomorrow.