Yesterday was our first full day of treating patients, but I didn't post as I was wiped out. Between today and yesterday we have treated over 500 people; would have been more had another caravan showed up so we will be making up for that later this week.
Youngest patient of mine today was 2 and oldest 87, and what a character he was. He was a bit nervous after treatment as he thought I was going to tell him not to eat hot and spicy chili sauce any more, however if that stuff hasn't killed him in 87 years living in such severe living conditions, well I don't he need to worry. Not to mention, there is no way I would ever give up hit sauce either! Gave him the SMAC rotator cuff tear treatment with some 701's and he was pretty darn happy.
The thing with treating patients in the - dare I say - third world is that you see shit that you only read about in the textbooks: Crazy tongue presentations, parasites, worms (a team was working on extracting a worm from around a woman's navel today, but didn't quite get the monster), broken bones and joints from 70 years ago that hasn't quite healed right, postulating sores, and lots of things you don't have a clue.
What I do know, however, is that pain is universal to the human condition, and no matter who you are, or where you are from, we all experience pain physically and emotionally on deep levels. Given the huge cultural divide and language barrier, it would be easy to discount their level of pain. However, their agony touches your soul. Through translators and intuition, you try to get to the root of their pain and offer some measure of relief. The emotional pain component of our patients is in many cases greater than their physical discomfort, though I will never know. The emotional scars that present in the clinic affect every aspect of the treatment, from the initial introduction until the end. Then there is the physical trauma- most of it is a lifetime in the making.
As much as they are there for themselves, they are there for their families. Mothers for their infants, toddlers and children of all ages, and sons and daughters there for ther parents. I treated quite a few mothers and infants, but what made one of the the bigger impressions on me today was treating an elderly man and his son, probably in his mid-40s. They were side by side getting treated on the tables, and when they were done- dad waited for his boy and they walked out together with beaming and grateful smiles and a deep, warm "gracias". While I was touched by their gratitude, I was more touched by their bond. You see it so much in so many families. The little boys sitting on the floor by their moms, or sleeping on top of them during treatment. Truly special.
Over and out for now.