Where ever there is a crowd of people there are resourceful people. The BCH Medical Mission attracts thousands of people and it is not surprises that food vendors circulate through the crowds, selling cokes, and other items to eat while they pass the hours long waits for their opportunity to see a “gringo doctor.” I’ve noticed a “two-legged toy store” selling balloons and cute “mice on a string.” No stimulus plan needed here.
At 10:30 Florian Lopez came looking for me. Fortunately, I arrived a bit late and hadn’t been given my new assignment. We left the Nursing School Clinic and took a cab downtown to his wife’s restaurant, “BreveSpacio.” The tortas and tacos were delicious. The restaurant is tiny, no more than a space between two buildings with a stove and three tables. But the food was tasty. In Mexico, cooking is an art. Savory food can literally be found on every street corner. In the evenings street vendors set up their shops and smells fill the streets. It’s tempting to sample a little bit from each vendor, but you’d never reach your hotel.
When I returned to the clinic around noon, I looked for Anne, the team leader. When we finally saw each other, she had a serious look in her eyes. Busted, I thought. Shouldn’t have left the clinic. “I have an important job for you, Rich.” Whew, maybe she needs me to interpret again, I thought. Nope, I’m in charge of “supply room inventory.” We need to inventory all the supplies that we have in our storage room and check the number and sizes of remaining catheters (6 sizes, male and female), anal scopes (one size), syringes (multiple forms and hole sizes), gowns (not as many as you would think), dressings (boxes), band-Aids (US band-Aids are the best)………. As I stood in the large room, I had a flashback to my days in the Air Force at Lowry AFB. I was once ordered to sweep an entire parking lot for an infraction that seemed minor. Oh my, this parking lot is really huge . . . oh my, this supply room is really huge. Fortunately, several “angels of mercy” descended in the form of five student nurses. My “helpers” not only know the difference between the various types of scopes, catheters and gowns, they know how they are used. Soon we are working like a well-oiled machine. Boxes are emptied and then contents counted and recorded.
Later in the afternoon, a bit before 4:00 P.M., I overhear a bit of chatter from the nurses. They are asking if the cakes have arrived, whispering excitedly. When I noticed a couple doctors walking toward the exit, I slipped outside to speak with them. When I explained about the “surprise,” they smiled and drifted back into the clinic courtyard. At 4:00 P.M. another nurse made the rounds of inviting all the BCH medical mission personnel to join the nurses for cake. We gathered under a canopy on a sunny afternoon and were treated to several delicious cakes. The students were very proud and we took advantage of the time to take photos with our nurses.
These nurses are exactly what you’d want in a nurse. Caring, gentle and thoughtful. That’s one of the reasons the clinic team has made an extra effort to leave them with a little more knowledge. By conducting the morning lectures, the nurses will be better prepared to help doctors treat patients more effectively. That’s our mission.