September again involved a busy time of work. Dr. Toledo our dentist was not only busy seeing patients daily but also continued to teach the teachers who work on the mountains how to implement the grant she attained from Colgate. The teachers get the toothbrushes and toothpaste and each day ensure the children use them while at the school. It is painstaking detailed work as there are well over 1,000 children on the mountain (and we have toothbrushes and toothpaste for all of them!).
Here is Dr. Toledo instructing some of the teachers between her dental treatments. Notice the boxes of toothbrushes and toothpaste.
We also saw some of what lies ahead for us as we grow. A patient was brought in horribly sick that the local hospital had sent home to die. In Guatemala, if someone does not have money, their only option for care is a public hospital. This 63 year old gentleman Homberto was such a victim. He had acquired a systemic infection and was too sick to be treated in the public hospital. With no money to afford an expensive private hospital he was sent home…to die.
He was brought in, unable to walk, fevering and on the verge of circulatory collapse. He had sepsis: a life threatening condition if IV antibiotics are not started quickly. Although we are just a clinic, we do have many supplies (many donated; thank you to Dr. Kelly Gahan especially in Denver, Colorado!!)
We turned our one doctor’s room into a hospital room for 48 hours and gave Homberto all we had IV medicine wise. He greatly improved. His infection contained, he was able to be transitioned to oral antibiotics and sent home to slowly recover.
Of course things are fun too. We see lots of young children. They love small things: sunglasses are a real hit. But more importantly, although many are not as sick as Homberto, seeing them gives us an opportunity to give each a medicine to eradicate parasites in their intestines and give them monthly vitamins. Malnutrition is a major issue with children in Guatemala. Add the insult of intestinal parasites from bad drinking water and even more nutrition is lost to diarrhea and not absorbing food due to the parasite. It is a terrible combination.
Thanks for reading!!