NICA2012, Day 9: Mourn, Rejoice, Pray, and LAUGH!

Day 9 (Clinic) – We headed back to La Hoyada to hold clinic today.  At this point, there was another health group in our hotel, a group of MPH students from UConn, most of whom were middle-age ladies.  Day 9 was a Sunday, and at breakfast they asked us if people would come to our clinic on a Sunday. Our immediate answer was YES. At that point, I didn’t understand fully why they came, but we knew they would come.

We said goodbye to Casey that morning! He had an afternoon flight home, so he rode with us to the clinic, then Don Juan took him to the airport.

Bye Casey!

The Molina house was used for church service on Sundays, so we set up in a house down the hill. I was in a triage group with Katie and Danielle, with Ivan as our translator.  There were two groups outside, on the porch, and one inside. We were moving slow that day, and ended up inside. It was really warm inside the house, with no air flow, so after lunch we moved outside, by the wood shed.  Funny moment: as we were presenting a case to Dr. Cerrato, a mango fell out of a tree, hit the tin shed roof, then landed on Dr. Cerrato’s foot. We all jumped about ten feet in the air!

Another funny moment: At lunch, we were having a completely normal conversation, quoting YouTube videos back and forth. We ate at the Molina’s, and these three ladies were sitting off to the side, eating as well.  We realized that they were watching our conversation, following it back and forth like a tennis match.  With the voices and impressions we were doing, I’m sure they thought we were completely crazy!

Discussing a patient diagnosis!

Most of our cases were fairly typical – parasite treatment, ear infections, kidney stones.  The community water is suspected to have a lot of calcium in it, giving a lot of people kidney stone issues. Pavel explained to them that even though the water is clear, that doesn’t mean it’s clean.  It’s crazy to think that a $3 filter would solve most of their kidney issues.

By far our most memorable patient was early that morning.  She came in complaining of constant lower abdominal (suprapubic) pain, headaches, dizziness, and burning during urination.  She’d had a C-section 45 days before, with pain and bleeding throughout her entire pregnancy and ever since.  The child had intestinal blockage, which was the reasoning for the C-section.  The child also had Down’s syndrome and a cleft palate, and lived only 11 days. (She had 3 children at home as well). After taking her vitals and performing a physical, we were stumped. None of us knew what was typical in that situation.  We consulted with Dra. Ferrayra, who told us that pain more than 40 days after a C-section is abnormal, and the patient needed to go back to the doctor.  The Dra. also made it seem like the child would have lived, had he/she been born in the US.  The patient was also suffering from depression, and began to cry as she received her prescription.  I could hear very clearly a voice telling me that I needed to pray with this woman.  With my heart pounding, I had Ivan ask her if she minded if I prayed with her.  She sat back down, and I took her hand and just prayed.  The room became still. No one tried to translate my prayer, but as I finished and looked at her, I know she got it. In that moment, it didn’t matter that we didn’t speak the same language. The love of God overcame that obstacle. As I checked emails a few days later, the verse of the day for that day was this: “Rejoice with those who rejoice, mourn with those who mourn.” Romans 12:15.  How fitting!

At this point in the trip, I feel like we really knew each other, and were really comfortable.  It showed at dinner that night! We ended up at a seafood restaurant at the mall, and the whole meal took 3 hours – a typical Nica dinner! Somehow, all the girls ended up at one end of the table, with the two guys we had left (Evans and Seth) with Marta and Pavel at the other end.  Our conversations started with C-sections and ended up on toes, covering a multitude of topics in between. We laughed until we cried – often just the girls, while the guys looked on in bewilderment.  I don’t remember what all we talked about, or even what was so funny. Some people were frustrated that dinner took so long, but I enjoyed it all – what better way to grow closer to a team than laughing with them?

The 3-hour dinner!


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