Honduras health service trip: day 2 in Cuyali

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Over spring break, 31 Des Moines University students embarked on a weeklong journey to provide health care, education and supplies to hundreds of underserved individuals in Honduras. Dose of DMU is featuring Kelsey’s daily accounts and photos of the group’s experiences.

Friday, March 21, 2014: DAY 2 IN CUYALI

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This morning was bittersweet – it would be our last day of clinic. We were all exhausted but eager to see as many patients as possible, since this would be our last opportunity to help those in need.

Cuyali is very sunny, hot and dry. We realized it was unfair of us to be drinking clean and safe water to stay hydrated while the patients waited outside in the sun for hours, most without anything to drink. So we set up a water jug and cups for them and passed it out to patients. They were extremely grateful.

We saw more interesting cases again today. An 80-year-old male complained of incontinence, right-sided weakness and difficulty walking, which required him to use a cane. He was diagnosed with a history of a stroke, which he was unaware of. He had no living family members who could take care of him, so we talked to one of the local volunteers who assisted in running the clinic. The volunteer agreed to check on the elderly man often.

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Another albino patient presented to the clinic today. This time, it was a young lady only seven years old. She had no visible skin lesions or signs of skin cancer like the elderly woman we saw yesterday. But she had no sunblock on, no hat or sunglasses, and she was wearing a tank top and shorts. The physician explained how important it is that she be covered up whenever she goes outdoors. Upon hearing this, the translator who was assisting the physician took off her sunglasses and gave the pair to the little girl. When her prescription reached the pharmacy, there was no sunblock left! However, knowing the severity of the condition, students working in the pharmacy donated all the sunblock they had.

Unfortunately, sunblock was not the only thing we ran out of today. We had no more ibuprofen, moisturizing cream, omeprazole, or vitamins. Also, we were short on translators, so we relied on Spanish-speaking students to run triage – where they measured the patients’ vitals and documented their chief complaints.

At the end of the day, we discovered why we ran out of medications – over the past five days, we saw 1,582 patients! At night, we celebrated this great accomplishment as well as a student’s birthday with a fiesta thrown by Global Brigades. There was cake, a piñata and lots of dancing. It was a great way to end such a successful week!

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