Sunday, January 8, 2012

Dr. Lauri - Things half finished

We spent yesterday traveling across Lake Atitlan by boat to the village of San Pedro at the foot of glorious San Pedro volcano. Our purpose was to assess the status of the water filters that Heart to Heart International installed in homes in the villages a few years ago. But we also came to do brief medical assessments on anyone in the homes who needed help. Thankfully my internal medicine skills were only called upon once - by a 77- year-old woman with pneumonia and a large hernia. I couldn't do anything about the hernia, but started her on some antibiotics for her pneumonia. Thankfully she didn't have hypertension or diabetes, because honestly this week the Xavier students have spent with our Internet, Richard has left them in a better position to those kind of conditions than I could.These visits into people's homes are priceless. We see how they actually live, what they sleep on, cook with, what they use to occupy their time. In many places you see evidence of things half finished; a wall half built, piles of brick, rebar, hardened cement that did not get fully utilized for whatever reason - lack of money, coffee beans needing harvesting, so lack of time. Who knows exactly what stops these steps toward progress before they can be finished.One home we went to I was asked by the family to see their 8-year-old son who had a cleft lip repaired in infancy and a cleft lip partially repaired. We were able to treat him for a sinus infection. I asked mom when he was going to have his last surgery. She told me she was nervous for him to have another operation. She wasn't sure she was going to do it. After I finished his exam and gave her his medication, I noticed a big bin of all kinds of colorful threads. I asked her if she was a weaver. She lit up and asked if she could take us to the downstairs of her home to see her shop. As a seamstress myself, you can only imagine my own delight in seeing her beautiful, old sewing machine. She showed us some of her tapestries and let us photograph her. As we were leaving she asked through my interpreter if I thought the boy should have his last surgery. I said, "Yes, of course. No need to leave things half finished."

No comments: