–by Miriam Tamara
Ready to go at 8 am. Everyone in the town showed up and wanted tests for Malaria, Dengue and Typhoid. We screened for diabetes and hypertension and gave out vitamins and deworming medicine. Our team got the hang of the system quickly. Triage went slowly at first for me and then more efficiently as the day went on.
I had a kind of emotionally high feeling about the work we were doing in this small town and acknowledged with gratitude, the support of those who had supported me in my efforts to participate in tikkun olam, repairing the world.
In the evening, as the skies darkened, I hung out in a dark guesthouse with my new V’eahavta family wearing our headlight flashlights telling jokes and relaxing. We all were getting to know one another, Dr. Fred from Toronto, Cassandra, the nursing assistant, Carol, the pharmacy tech, myself, Bekkie, Burnsley, Auntie Irene and Sister and Steward, two women traveling with us from the Health Ministry. Also joining us for the week was Sylvester, the dentist and Dr. Mykhail, a Cuban MD, working in Guyana for a year.
I went outside to use the satellite phone to touch base with family and was treated to a sky filled with bright stars and the milky way swirling in the night. The town was fairly still after dark and quiet save for a generator making ALOT of loud noise right next to the tents. Hmmmm, here I was in the middle of nowhere as my daughter Rachel put it and had to put up with interrupted sleep from technology. Arrrggghhhh!
In the morning we finished up the clinic and packed up and waited for the boat by the river to take us to Falls Top, another 3 hour trip up the Mazaruni river. We were greeted by villagers once again who helped us carry all our cargo the 1/4 mile uphill to the Amerindian village of Kangaruma. Again set up and set up for clinic to be ready in the am for the patients. We saw an average of 80 to 90 patients each clinic and did 6 different clinics in the course of the trip, tending to approximately 550 patients all told.
In the clinic in Kangaruma we had one emergency a woman who was bleeding for two months after a D and C. We had to start an IV and replenish fluids. She would stay in the health center overnight for observation. We had medicines to stop the bleeding and I did some accupressure on stop bleeding points to stop the uterine bleeding.
Many complaints of shoulder and low back pain. 80 yr olds are coming in and telling me that when they work they get alot of pain from heavy lifting. Note to self: At home no 80 yr olds preface their chief complaint with the words, “when I work”.
Seeing lots of families with lots of children. Commonly 8, 9 and 10 children. Woman are asking for family planning. Many pregnant teenagers. The youngest I saw was 15 years old.