Today was an emotional rollercoaster. No other way to put it. It was our first day in the clinic and to Ciudad de Esperanza and we seemed to have hit every emotional angle in each rotation. We woke up at 6 am and went to breakfast after taking some cute pictures in our pink scrubs. There has been an unmissable aire of bonding within the student team, even the medical team pointed it out multiple times! I feel very blessed to be on the trip with these incredible people and within one day of clinic I have learned life changing things; from how to tell the difference between popping and crackling in the lungs when trying to listen to a heart rate, and how to deal with hard- terminal illnesses, and the deep emotions it brings to the surface. I feel like I soaked up everything in clinic today like a sponge, listening and watching closely to everything I saw. When we arrived we were already running behind schedule due to a wrong turn and multiple turn-arounds, asking for directions and dirt roads later, we arrived. We had "ten" minutes to get settled into clinic, that meant unpacking all thirty-some bags into a crowded upstairs room, that was the pharmacy. It really took all morning to unpack and sort all of the drugs and equipment into the right places. Dr. Eric said that we brought a lot more stuff than normal and we filled the shelves until they were overflowing onto the floor. It was an amazing feeling to see what we would be leaving for them; until the next team comes in the spring.
We met many new people today, and all of the people I met in clinic will have a life changing impact on my life (especialmente para Tia Mary, ella da me cofidenzia y desafiado a usar espanol). Today, I was first assigned in Physical Therapy where our first case was one of my favorites that we had learned about in the Sunday meetings. These two young siblings had feet malformations that affected their ankles, legs, and hips. I took notes for the doctors as they watched the kids walk and massaged their little feet. The girl was lucky because she was so young, her feet hadn't developed as far so she needed more preventive measures, however, the year before they had made her prosthetics, but they were stolen in the night a few months ago! So Dr. Deb fitted her for new ones! The older brother wasn't as lucky because his feet had developed more so he needed more pain relieving applications. Right now, he was walking an hour to and from school each day, expending his energy and loosing unhealthy amounts of weight. Dr. Deb came up with the idea of "Mcgyvering" a walker for support. So they found pvc pipes and glue and will be working on them this week!
I spent the rest of the day running prescriptions and saying prayers with people as they left the clinic as Pharmacy and PT were the last stations. It was moving to see the smiles and meet all the people who passed through the clinic and I was lucky enough to get to meet many of all the patients that were seen today. The most memorable experiences were the two young kids from PT; at the end of my prayer with them, the mother asked our translator Tia Mary, if we could take the kids back to America with us, because they would have better opportunities... The fact that a mother would give up her child in hopes of bettering their future was heart wrenching. The children still left with smiles on their faces and toys in their hands. The second most memorable experience was getting to talk to the young girl who was going completely blind. She had slowly been losing her vision and it was almost completely gone, so they got books with brail so she could still learn how to read, when she introduced herself to me, she felt for my hand to shake it and smiled as I introduced myself. As she did, her mother told us that she had two names... which meant she was so special on this earth, that she just had to have two names instead of one. When they left, she remembered me by name, gave me a big hug and thanked me.
The last memorable experience I had was with five young children that were visiting the clinic. They were mainly waiting for their appointments and for their grandmother who was being seen by the doctors. We went up to them and slowly, they warmed up to us as they started blowing bubbles, "Burbujas" They loved them! We gave them all their own and soon we were all running around chasing bubbles around the campus. "Mas grande burbujas!" They would scream as they watched the bigger bubbles we blew, float away to the clouds. By the time they had left, we were all best friends, they gave everyone big hugs and waved happily goodbye. It was so magical to see that even the language barrier didn't effect the human connection and the natural love that is found all around this beautiful crazy world. All parties out of their comfort zones, us and them, we found peace in each others company, I found love.
- Adelaide Hoeschen