Wednesday, March 9, 2016

Jose Daniel

Once again my time in Guatemala has proven to be both an excellent academic experience as well as an important spiritual education. My day, the 8th of March 2016, started off with a filling breakfast and a humorous discussion about the “Donald Trump” phenomena which was occurring back in our home country. It says a lot about the people you are with when you are able to talk about politics when your conversation doesn’t turn into a yelling match. From there we traveled to the clinic and began performing our duties. My job was to work in the triage section of the clinic during the morning and to then alternate during the afternoon to lea patients in prayer before they received their medication.

My duties in triage proved to be, at first, difficult and draining as we received a slow but demanding group of patients. Mistakes were many and efficiency was lacking but I persevered and found that triage proved to be the most bountiful academic experience so far. The interactions with the patients and the medical knowledge complimented each other both in their outcome as I was able to learn Spanish as well as learn what the proper way to obtain proper medical data is. Triage became hectic as time progressed but thanks to the help of Nurse Stephanie as well as my partner we were able to deal with all our patients efficiently. My only regret during this experience was that I wasn’t able to perform at the same level during the morning as I did during the afternoon.  This self-assessment would carry itself over to my next duty.

Being a part of a patient’s spirituality is a unique and surreal moment. Prayer takes place after patients are diagnosed and educated on what lifestyle choices they will have to make or stop after we leave. The prayer room is a small and quiet room which promotes the patients and me to converse (poorly on my part) and to pray together. It was during my time working with patients I met Jose Daniel, a unfortunate infant who suffered from complications from birth which resulted in a wide range of negative symptoms which had taken a toll on his growth. The whole clinic had to halt all operations to properly asses Jose’s situation and what steps we could take with consideration of our limited resources. That being said my limited involvement with this child was when I accompanied Jose and his mother to the prayer room. It was here I was forced to look at the grave reality of the situation. In that moment I felt useless. Jose was truly suffering and all I could do in that moment was pray and hope that things would get better, while the experienced members of the clinic went to work trying to actually fix the problem.  Jose and his mother were taken to a hospital which had more resources at their disposal and from there he will hopefully be transferred to a larger hospital where he can receive even better care for his symptoms. The feeling of utter uselessness lingered within me for the whole day until I had the chance to reveal these thought to the rest of my team. They were quick to show me that what I was feeling was normal but that at that moment it is easy to view what little help you did was significant but everything that was done that day led to Jose getting the proper care he needed. The most important lesson that I learned today was that if you truly wish to help people then you must never compartmentalize others actions based on what you assess to be impactful. You must understand the importance of all actions, both big and small, to truly appreciate the connection you foster during your time with you patients.

Shrinath Suresh

No comments: