Friday, January 6, 2012

Mary Erwin – The answer is faith.

Mary is a junior Nursing major from Westerville, Ohio.

This whole trip so far has been amazing. I have seen God in every patient I have encountered in Panajachel, Guatemala. Each patient and family greets our medical team with a smile and is so grateful for the care we provide. We have a special room for patients and families to give them an opportunity to offer prayers up to God if they choose. Almost 100% of the patients have chosen to pray after their visits with the doctor. Today, I took a mother and child into the prayer room and must have sat with them for at least five minutes while the mother said prayer after prayer. Although my Spanish is very poor, I could somewhat figure out what she was saying. I picked up the words "Ave Maria" and "Madre de Dio" which indicated she was praying The Hail Mary. She also said many prayers of thanks for blessings in her life including thanking the doctors, nurses, and students of medicine here at the Heart to Heart clinic. I was in awe of how reverent and gracious she was. Even her son stood with his hands together in a prayerful gesture and remained quiet and obedient. Another patient I want to mention was a male in his 20s on a tight schedule. When I took him into the prayer room, he said he was late and had to get going - instead of staying to pray, he apologized and asked if I would please, please pray for him. Of course I said I would and he was very grateful. Overall, working the prayer room was a moving experience for me. It was neat to watch these people pray aloud and to see how important their faith is for them. How could people in such a poor community who have so little be so incredibly content? The answer is Faith.

Another neat experience I had today was shadowing Dr. Richard. It was amazing to see how much he can multi-task. Somehow he managed to examine patient after patient, fill out paperwork, decide prescriptions, and teach me all at the same time while never taking a break even just to sit down. If I had questions at any time he would answer them. He engaged us in the examining process by allowing us to listen to heart sounds, lung sounds, bowel sounds, etc. He also explained risk factors of several medical conditions and how to prevent them. He also showed me the importance of taking a medical history because this can be the best way to discover the root of a problem. I really enjoyed listening to his past medical stories --many were interesting or funny, but some were really eye-opening and helped me learn important advice that I will take with me to utilize in the future.

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