By Jean Bedell
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The days may be long, but the week is so short. We are writing this on Friday…clean up, pack up, and move out. Anne has us organized procedurally with an eye to efficiency for next year. It is a given that we focus on quality more than quantity, but at the Clinic, over 4000 patients have been seen and screened. Although two docs short, the Eye Team completed over 250 procedures. (OR stats later when we get them)
Dr. David presented an interesting overview of the history of medical care in Mexico. For centuries CHARITY care was introduced by the Spanish and given by the Catholic Church. Next came PRIVATE care for about 200 years. This was followed by INSTITUTIONAL CARE including Social Security Hospital for folks who work for the government. Now there is also SEGURO POPULAR. Still 50%, about 48 million, have no access to medical care. Even if “care” is provided free, they may have to purchase supplies such as a lens for cataracts. 85% live with minimal income and pay no taxes. 12% are middle class and pay taxes; 3% are wealthy. This is the ONLY medical mission in the country that has continued and grown for 20 years.
Picture a sweet 2yo boy sitting in Mom’s lap. She sings to him and talks in his ear, but there is no response. He looks straight ahead. Hearing aids were fitted. Mom whispers “Do you hear me? I’m your Mama.” He turned his head to look at her and smiled. Mom cried and implored that we would keep on coming for the good work done here. That boy might develop speech. But, in this same week, there were two boys, ages 10 and 14, both deaf, who had never used hearing aids. When fitted, there were looks of amazement at the sound. There is less chance for speech at these ages. However, training can improve lip reading or standard signing vs just ‘family signing’for better social communication.
Can we always look for miracles? For adults, PT had only one remaining shoe. No, not a pair, but a single right shoe. It sat there all week. Friday morning, Tavo came in for wrapping of his left stump. Guess what, the single shoe perfectly fit his right foot.
Folks are so appreciative and so generous. The mother of a boy who had eye surgery two years ago brought delicious arroz con leche for each of us. For added calories we have had juicy tres leches cake. A translator gave the watch of his great, great grandfather as a gift to a team member.
A reunion? Dr Dave suggested a potluck where we can share stories, and download pix of our choice onto one disc. Keep tuned for a time at Samantha’s house in Boulder. Mil gracias for all the stories…touching, amazing, happy, sad. It has been a pleasure to be your reporters. Jean Bedell and Abby Stangl