6 February 2016
Since we arrived in Guatemala, we have had some adventures but much of the time has been pretty relaxed. I wanted to share with you the three clinics that I have participated in so far:
Tuesday Chiminisiuan (I still don’t know how to spell this one.)
This is an area about an hour up the mountain by truck in the dry season. When I was here last time, in the rainy season, we drove part of the way and then walked about a half-an-hour on a muddy trail to get there. This clinic has very few chronic patients (diabetes, high blood pressure, etc.) but a LOT of pregnant women coming to get an ultrasound. The rest of the people are usually not that sick. There was an older man who had a serious left arm injury some time back and didn’t get much help at the local government hospital. Unfortunately, there was not much we could do for him other than refer him back to the government hospital to see if they could offer anything else. I also saw a 9-year-old boy with what appeared to be a shingles rash that had started a week before. It wasn’t hurting him or itching much. We didn’t have the antiviral medicine to give him and if we had, he was beyond the 72-hour window of treatment.
Although there a not a lot of medical needs in this village, there is a lot of spiritual need. It is difficult to assess the number of believers or even the number of people who heard the Gospel of Jesus Christ but many do not know Him.
Friday Canillá (at the missionary compound) OB/GYN Clinic
Every week there are about 50 pregnant women that come for a prenatal clinic. They get an ultrasound and prenatal vitamins to last them until their next visit. At this point, none of the missionaries do deliveries. They only provide basic prenatal care and the deliveries are done at the small health center in town or by women in the village who are not usually formally trained to do so.
However, this week was special because our former OB/GYN colleague was in town. She comes to Guatemala every 3 months with a team to operate at a hospital a couples of hour away by road. Then she swings by for the Friday clinic for GYN consults and to find other possible cases for the next visit. Read her report.
Also, one member of her team this time is a physical therapist. I spent time with him translating as he taught physical therapy those with pain. I learned a lot along the way. As you can see, there are no medical privacy laws in effect here.
Saturday Canillá (at the missionary compound) General and Chronic Clinic
At this clinic, there are very few pregnant ladies since they mostly come on Friday. However there are a lot of patients with chronic conditions: diabetes, high blood pressure, seizure disorders, and asthma. There are also a lot of general consults from minor aches and pains to more severe problems.
This four-month-old boy, Alexandro (why go with Alexander or Alejandro when you can combine them both into one), was brought in by his parents because all of them had an itchy rash—most likely scabies. However, he also had a left eye bigger than the right that didn’t look right and seemed to have little or no vision in it. His parents noticed this about a month ago but apparently were not too concerned about it. One of the missionary docs emailed a picture to his ophthalmology friend who suggested it may be congenital glaucoma. We recommended that they take him to the government hospital but there may be little that they can do him there. We prayed for him and his family.
As you can hear from some of these cases, there is a need for a well-supplied hospital with well-trained doctors and specialist teams to help some of these people. It is a work in progress and I will send more information about the hospital in a future post.
On a lighter note, today I was waiting for the bathroom at the clinic to open up to get a urine sample from my patient. It seemed like forever. It turns out that an elderly Mayan lady was never going to find her way out of that bathroom because she was not familiar with door knobs. After she was rescued, the clinic proceeded as usual.