Saturday, March 25, 2017

Tears and Joy

Our final day at Choacorral yesterday was met with both tears and joy. It was sad to say goodbye to all the patients, children, and community members, but we were all excited to reach out and help the community of Chapernas the following day.

After an hour long ride to Chapernas, I step off the bus and experienced a huge amount of culture shock. There were no paved roads, very few buildings, and a thin layer of dust covered everything. The school building that we were calling the clinic had no air conditioning, few lights, and a barely functioning bathroom. When I first walked into the clinic I could not belief the number of people that had showed up. The entire room was lined with men women and children, all trying to see a doctor.

I spent the morning with Dr. Lauri in pediatrics. It is so inspiring to watch how Dr. Lauri works. She always has a tremendous amount patience with the kids and easily diagnose patient after patient with confidence. Near the middle of the day I was running a script to the pharmacy when Brad pulled me into his room. Brad was a trained nurse who volunteer at this school made clinic twice every weeks, and he just happened to be from Ohio. The reason he pulled me into his room was to show me a very interesting case. When I walked into the room I saw a frail old woman sitting in a chair. As I moved further into the room I immediately realized why she came to the clinic. The woman, who was an astounding eighty-nine years old, was completely missing half of her nose. The skin and cartilage that should have been covering her nasal cavity was gone. Brad explained to me that the woman had small spec of skin cancer on the tip of her nose that went untreated and eventually resulted in her losing half of her nose. Now she comes in twice a week to get the area cleaned and bandaged.

What was heart breaking to me was the fact that had this woman lived in a more developed country that cancer spot could have easily been removed. While this woman may have lost part of her nose, she never lost her pride and determination. She held her head up high and managed to live ten years with the open sore. This woman showed me that when life deals you bad cards you can either complain and give up, or you can accept it and face it with a smiling positive attitude which she did.

Joseph Kavanagh

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