The Shared Dreams in Coban

It’s the second to last day of clinic. I knew from the start that this group was going to have to work as a team, but what I didn’t realize was that each of us, and each shift that we have been partaking in was a missing piece of what will one day become a complete puzzle. A patient comes in with their child and the triage group paints their faces in their heads before they take their vitals. Next the patient awaits for her appointment with Dr. Lauri so her child can be examined but in the meantime we send her to get a vision test or a fluoride cleaning. Once we finish we give them bags of bath and mouth hygiene kits that are filled with toothpaste, toothbrushes, shampoo, and more for their household. Dr. Lauri then takes them in, and during her appointment she prescribes meds for the child as well as recommends a visit with our physical therapist. The mom then schedules an appointment with Dr. Deb the next day which is convenient because she has to come back for a general checkup anyways. The patient then leaves with her child, meds, and hygiene kits, and returns the next day. Many of our patients went through this cycle of seeing everyone by working on their muscles, their teeth, getting checked up, etc. We each contributed to their wellbeing and what one group witnessed was simply another story told to the rest of the group that witnessed other pieces. These pieces are completing the puzzle that will one day allow Cobán to reach a point where healthcare is a top priority. Our patients get to pass down their new education, new management methods, exercises, their experiences with getting help, and more to the rest of the community and one day it’ll be so stable that a new group of people in a new place will be ready for a team like ours, and for a change like the one in Cobán. 

This week has generally been amazing, but also emotional. It surprises me how patient the patients have been, and how grateful they are when they leave. These people genuinely care and want to improve their lives regardless of whether or not they’re afraid of being sick. Many people have traveled a few hours just to see us and It says a lot not only about the work we are doing but about their willingness to want to get better. This trip has solidified what it is I want to do with my life. I cannot wait to be there for others as a whole and improve their lives through innovative care the way we are doing so right now. 

Ximena González


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