A Blindfold, a Screwdriver, and Tylenol
While I am trying to sit down and write this blog, I think to myself, “there is just too much to say”. From being in the glasses room and seeing an immediate response, to shadowing Dr.Lauri and Dr.Richard who are thinking about how to help patients for the long term. You see so many things that are impactful and rare. I am not talking about the medical cases. I am talking about the 9 year olds taking theirs younger siblings to a doctors appointment and the 14 year old girl who is a grown woman and is completely responsible for herself. Things that would have CPS called back home but are the norm here.
To begin my week I was in the glasses room. A bright yellow and purple room. A young girl about 11 years old named Leslie walks in. Rabbi Abbie and I notice her eyes, one brown and one bright blue. I ask her about her past medical history and with an incredible maturity she tells me that she is blind in her right eye and explains that she has had multiple problems in the past. An 11 year old!! Coming to the clinic and explaining her medical history all by herself! She is one of the many for whom this is the norm. Children anywhere from 7 to 12 can be seen taking care of their siblings, taking on roles that are normally for adults. When running her eye test, she seemed to have little to no confidence of the figures she was trying to identify, but as soon as we found the correct pair of glasses for her, she lit up just like a Christmas tree. That is how Rabbi described it. Being able to witness someone having clear vision for the first time in their life is an incredible privilege and I thank god for using me in that moment. I want to give a message with each story I tell. With this one, I want to say that we must allow ourselves to see the miracles that god is making in front of us. If we don’t allow ourselves to see them then we will never see them. As rabbi said, we have to take off our blind folds to see these miracles. If you are reading this I encourage you to try and do the same.
As the next shift started, I made my way to Dr.Richard’s (or as everyone calls him, Olaf) room. I have shadowed multiple doctors in the past and was expecting a similar experience. I thought I would go in, stand there and just watch, but oh man I was wrong. Dr.Richard was incredible. He would take his time with each patient, sometimes up to an hour. Not only would he take his time, he would teach us every step of the way and would explain to us his thought process through the entire examination. I described it like a meme I had seen where you see a persons thoughts fill a room. Dr.Richard is an internal medicine physician and the majority of the patients we saw were fifty or older. I mention this because the entire day as I worked with Dr.Richard, I could not help but to think of my grandmother who had passed. My family comes from a place similar to Coban, only that it is in Mexico. My grandmother was living in Mexico during the time of her death. The town where she lived, Gomez Farías, did not have the medical care necessary to help her. She had a heart attack. I believe that if she was back home in the US, she would still be with us today. Although there is nothing to do for her, through his teachings I felt that I was able to save my grandmother. I will always be grateful for that experience.
Now, my message is not complete. It cannot be completed without mentioning Dr.Lauri. I was shadowing Dr.Lauri on Tuesday morning and two families truly stuck with me . A family of 6 kids ranging from 2 to 9 years old. The big brother, Sergio, who was 9, was translating for his family during the first part of their appointment before the family interpreter came. A 9 year old boy translating the native language of their family to Spanish in a split second. I couldn’t help but to think about the extraordinary things these children could do , given the same opportunities that we have back home. The level of maturity and responsibility that these children have is well beyond the level that many of us had at that age. Secondly, I will never forget Darwin. Darwin was a young boy who at the age of one had , what we believe, was described to us as a stroke. He still had some weakness in his right arm and in his right leg. Yet, above all of that, Darwin could not help but to smile constantly. When I was looking into Darwin’s eyes, I felt that I was looking at an angel. The warmth that he brought to me was unmatched. I did not only see this when he looked at me. When Dr.Lauri laid him down, he looked at her as if she was the only person in the world and he was extremely happy to be with her. The way Dr.Lauri treated all of her patients that day was unmatched. From using a stethoscope with a puppy cover, to making the most accurate bird sounds. The amount of time and dedication she has for her patients truly shows that God has given her a gift that she has used to change many lives. The message to take from this is to be and use your gifts how Dr.Richard and Dr.Lauri have. We are each given gifts from God that are meant to be used. I like to think of all of us as screwdrivers or instruments that need to be used in the world. We must all be of service to each other using which ever gifts God has given us. I am a strong believer that we are all put on this earth to be servers and we need to remind ourselves everyday that we are here to serve each other.
My last shift of the day was in pharmacy. Let me tell you, it is FUN. At first it starts off a bit slow as many of the patients are in triage and seeing the doctors. During that time in the beginning I got to know Dr.Eric a lot more. That day I met Eric, not Dr.Eric. A man who is compassionate, caring, a teacher, and leaks when he cares ja ja ja (inside joke). Later on the day started to pick up and we began to receive prescriptions that needed to be filled. My favorite one by far was preparing the Amoxicillin. A simple procedure, but very fun! We prepared dozens of medicines for patients the entire day. One of those being as simple as Tylenol. A small family walks into the door of our pharmacy room and we begin to explain that these pills need to be taken three times a day. After I hand the family their medicine, the biggest smiles come to light. Something as simple as Tylenol makes their entire year. Seeing that people care for them makes it all better. That’s exactly what I want my message to be. We need to treat our life moments as if they were those bottles of Tylenol. We get caught up in our daily life and forget that what truly matters is caring for one another. If we allow ourselves to let the little things, such as a bottle of Tylenol to make our day, we would realize what truly matters.
If you forget the majority of this blog, that’s fine. But please remember these three things:
- Take off your blindfold and see life
- Become an instrument of God
- Enjoy the little things that truly matter