Tuesday, March 8, 2011

"Halfway there"

I can't stress enough how hard everyone is working when by the end of Day 2 I heard several folks saying, "Whew! We're halfway there!" Today was as expected. The patients we saw yesterday went out and told all their friends and by 7:45 am, there was a line of 10 to 20 outside waiting to get through the door. When we hit 200 this afternoon it was still before closing time and there was a crowd pressed up against the door so we let a few more in. By the end of the day we had seen over 220 patients and set up 97 bible studies. The patients are very expressive of their gratitude, something that is unfortunately a rarity in medical practice in the States. Today our process of moving patients through was smoother. There was hardly any downtime. Everyone ate lunch in shifts so we kept all the areas open. Come to think, some people may not have sat down for lunch at all but ate while still working. Barton, Matt and Gary have done a thoroughly outstanding job putting this first medical campaign together and running it.

Well there seems to be a competition going between the optometrists, Jason P. and Rick, and the lone physical therapist, Jason W., to see who can take the severest beating. These guys are WORKING. In my area with Dr. Kerr (my "Attending" as I call him), Jarred and Lori, we had just as steady business but then there are four of us to divide the load. Many patients are signed in at triage to see all of us, MD, OD and PT. Many patient visits involve an adult and a child or children. In my case today, screaming children. You see why it may take a while to get all the patients through? During the wait times they may have a bible study with Gary or Matt and others. Everyone is at least asked if they would like to schedule a bible study. The last stop before the patient leaves is often the pharmacy run by Jeff and Kellyn.

The doctors--me, John Kerr and Jarred Sartain. If we had our own daytime talkshow we would call it "The Doctors." And our show would have real doctors on it.

So I am not a pediatrician. For that I am thankful. Jarred said he would swap me tomorrow two headaches or a constipation for one of my kids. I may take him up on it. He said I sounded like I was remembering a lot of peds from what he could hear during my interviews. I said I was simply trying to remember what Dr. Hamm (our kids' pediatrician) said about such-and-such. For instance after wailing 8 month old with abscessed tooth and 18 months old who was falling down too much and 14 year old who was too short, I finally lost it on "Not eating. Only candy." Rather than write Mom a prescription for "one swift kick in the butt q day" and "get your act together q 4 hours," I proceeded to lecture the boy "you can't eat just candy because your teeth will all fall out, you're gonna get fat and you'll feel terrible all the time. Get up, get some exercise, eat better food and do what your mama tells you." He sucked in his belly to show me he wasn't fat. "Not yet," I said. I promise that's what Dr. Hamm would do. Maybe not. I am not a pediatrician.

What have done about coffee you might say knowing Jason M. to be one of the world's most unrepentant abusers of caffeine. Our hotel serves a very concentrated coffee, about one ounce, in a tiny little pitcher every morning. I saw it the first day and thought, "Ooo good, Espresso" and poured and drank it. Later I noticed everyone else was diluting it with the separately served hot water. Those stains will probably never come off my teeth. Then there's the instant coffee at the church/clinic. Ok, but it's instant which makes it instantly an abomination. Finally, Gary told me of his favorite coffee shop, the French Alliance a half block from the building. The man is a saint in more ways than one because he brought me an 8 ounce cup from there first thing this morning. Soo good. Then of course I owed him a cup so after my lunch while still trying to recover from the morning pediatric onslaught, I walked down to the French Alliance to get two coffees. The funny part was school had let out and the sidewalks were filled with school children. I tend to stick out in most crowds for obvious reasons, but these kids were stopping and staring and I can't imagine they would have been any more shocked if Godzilla himself were walking down the street! Run for your lives!!! A giant gringo in scrubs has come to destroy Cusco!!!

More pictures to come tomorrow. . .

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