Friday, March 11, 2016

Small Miracles

Yesterday was absolutely amazing and full of small miracles. I started the day with Dr. Eric in pharmacy (also with Sean) and we killed it! We got the medications packed for the home visits that morning and the school visit we went on today all while filling prescriptions and counseling patients. I'm getting better at counting pills by 5's- my first grade teacher mom would be so proud! I can use that skill this summer when I hopefully work as a pharmacy technician.

One small miracle happened when I was in triage. This moment was just one of pure happiness. I made an adorable friend with strawberry socks on in triage while the pharmacy was slow. I played with her until she went to see Dr. Lauri and then I got to see and play with her again when we were explaining the baby care kit to her mom. She kept dropping the bubbles so that I would pick it up for her. And she wasn't the only one who loved the bubbles-kids came in packs after school just to get burbujas! It was always loud and chaotic after school in the clinic.

In the afternoon, I was with Dr. Richard on home visits. They were amazing and so eye opening. I loved being able to see more of the mountain we have called home this week and to see where the people live. We first saw an older couple with a large family. They were very sweet and insisted that we sit even though the space was fairly small. The man had a diastolic murmur, which Dr. Richard said he only had about 5 of them in his clinic. We were able to try to listen to the murmur. The "woosh" sound was really faint, but I think I was able to hear the "heart sound, woosh, heart sound," that is indicative of a diastolic heart murmur. The next patient we saw had a house with a GORGEOUS view of Panajachel, the riverbed, and the lake. The house had a coffee tree and we were able to see how they harvested the beans before they get toasted. The patient had pneumonia and we were able to hear the crackles in his lungs.

Our last stop was one of the small miracles of the day, if I can even call it small because it was really amazing! It was crazy, insane, and miraculous all wrapped up into one! First of all, we had to descend down a hill with a path of dirt, wood, and rock that was lined on either side with barbed wire. We weren't nearly as stable on our feet walking down the mountain as we probably assumed we were because there was a lot of slipping, sliding, and grabbing onto each other. It was a struggle, but another great instance of our teamwork. The miraculous part happened once we made it to our destination. We met another elderly couple, around 90 years old. Neither of them took any kind of medication and had perfect blood pressure and blood glucose levels. It was amazing to see, but the most amazing part was to learn that they walk up and down the barb wire-lined path each and every day. It made me step back and realize what I take for granted and look at how you can really do anything if you set your mind to it even if people doubt you could. We worked extra hard on the way back up the mountain to attempt to feel as capable as the couple.

Our cultural event at Mishel and Diana's father's restaurant was enlightening and delicious. The food was great and we learned how to make our own tortillas.

Today, we visited a school in San Andreas. I was able to play with the kids, learn how to take history from Dr. Richard, and watch Dr. Lauri do amazing things with her patients. The small miracle of the day was when I saw all the kids running around and happy. It just made me so happy and their demeanors and attitudes summed up how I feel about this medical mission trip- ecstatic, grateful, and moved beyond compare.

All of the many small miracles over the course of the week will always be with me and I will love them forever.

Brooke Chastain

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