Contributions by Christine Smith, Lynn Farizell and Aileen Hayes.
A 13 YEAR OLD BOY came to see us. He instantly drew lots of attention as he was no bigger than a 7 year old. His mother stated that he has a heart condition but cannot afford any treatment. There is a big (American) medical mission working in the main city that happened to have a cardiologist so we drove the boy and his mother into town to be seen. The boy and his mother made their way back to us with nothing more than antibiotics.
HRIMM has decided to pay for a cardiology consult and echocardiogram. A decision for care will be made based on the findings.
A YOUNG WOMAN with lower right abdominal pain came to see us. A pregnancy test was positive, something she had been praying for for eleven years. With the pain in the side of her lower abdomen, however, she was strongly suspect for an ectopic pregnancy. Without removal of the fetus, her fallopian tube will burst and death is a certainty.
We took her to the hospital and our suspicions were confirmed. She will have emergent surgery today that will end a life she had been hoping for but one that will save her life.
ONE OF OUR INTERPRETORS is a family member of Matt Riley, our in-country logistician. The typhoon destroyed her home and she, her husband with their two children are now living in a one bedroom house with a single light bulb. Despite these incredible challenges, she spends her days with us working tirelessly.
At dinner last night it was realized that she had been in nursing school but could no longer afford to attend as recovering from the typhoon has drained their financial resources. Several team members have decided to pay the tuition so she can complete her education.
WE MET an ophthalmologist in town who has office hours on Saturdays for which there is a charge of 160 pesos, approximately $4.He also does free cataract surgeries as part of his mission work. He also does general surgeries for a fee. Within 2 hours of meeting him, he sent him a baby with an exposed umbilical hernia and a patient with cataracts.
The baby will be operated on January 25 and the man with cataracts has just a mild case, no need to operate at this time, but does require glasses. Both the surgery and the glasses cost approximately $60. Total.
A PRECIOUS 10 month old baby who had little muscle tone and not meeting her normal growing milestones came to see us. She was unable to sit up, was very floppy but otherwise smiling and healthy appearing. Mother was told the baby was just “abnormal” the exam indicated Down Syndrome. Mom was told her child was not “abnormal” but was “special” and while she would always struggle in life, she could be happy.
We reviewed what the family could expect in life, when to try to seek medical attention and how they could help their child succed . Mom was very appreciative when she left and our team realized once again how far some education can go.
My story to share will be about the displaced people of Culasi. Before the storm, called “Hiayan” in the States and called “Yolanda” in the Philippines; many people had beautiful homes by the sea or in the mountains and rural areas. A very simple life. One woman Maria; told me, “I gave my home to Yoalnda”. 3 giant trees crushed her home. She said the most intense part of the storm lasted for about 25 mins. She was able to get out of her home and seek refuge at a neighbor’s house; they have become very close. Since then she has lived in a nearby school room and is building a temporary house for about 14,000 pesos. There are many similar stories….. the resiliency abounds. Maria smiles when she talks to me. You can see that she has hope for a new life with her new found friends. She is very thankful that we have come to lend a smile, a hug, a bar of soap or a tooth brush – a few check ups for the children just to reassure that they are healthy and might find peace and happiness. If nothing else we can provide hope for these disadvantaged people. Our local contact Matt will follow-up on a few we have touched and we will continue to pray for them all. It makes me grateful for my family and my life. All the little things that really matter. Lynn