Friday, July 8, 2011
Babies and Feet
Yesterday morning I started off at the Pro-Life clinic that they have here in the basement of the church. It is run by a nurse midwife named Cecilia and they take all patients concerning women’s health. We saw five patients, three whom were pregnant and we got to feel for the baby, measure the fundal height, and use a Doppler to find the baby’s heartbeat. Cecilia is great with her patients, one woman came in because she hadn’t felt movement from her baby in the past week and she was having a lot of pain. We found a strong heartbeat and the woman felt much better, but Cecilia wanted to stress the fact that she needs to take it easy and rest. Many of these women, if lucky, have what is equivalent to about an 8th grade or freshmen education, so they don’t understand a lot of the medical jargon that pregnancy could involve. So rather than talking about stress and the mechanics of her pain she just said, “When you feel pain that’s the baby saying ‘Mami, you need to rest! I want you to rest!’”. The women giggled a little bit but she understood how serious the situation was.
In the afternoon the church brought in some natural medicine healers to give us a little presentation. It was to say the least, interesting, but we did a lot of transferring of our energy and deep breathing. I didn’t really buy into it but it is pretty popular in the culture here. Many people are scared of the healthcare system because they really don’t care about the patient. There is a national healthcare here but it doesn’t really cover anything so most people have to pay anyways. So they try (if they can) to go to a private hospital but it costs so much more. So they use these healers because I don’t believe they cost too much. Even though it was a little weird, I am glad I got to experience it.
This morning I got to do my very first set of home visits! The other girls have gone and I have only heard great things about their mornings spent doing home visits. We had five patients (all women) that we visited with today. What we do all depends on the person’s ability to do things on their own and how they look at that moment. Mostly it consisted of blood pressures, filing and cutting nails, hand massages and washing feet. The first lady came to the door and looked great besides the fact she kind of limped when she walked. After she sat down she showed us her legs and she had really bad scars, all up and down both legs. She had been in a car accident and was in the hospital for 2 months! She looks great now, but I can’t imagine what she looked like while she was in rehabilitation. Her daughter and two granddaughters were there and showed us their backyard when we were done. I wasn’t expecting much besides some animals because there is really only sand everywhere, but was I wrong. We stepped out back and I honestly felt like I walked into a jungle! Then they started showing us all of their beautiful flowers that they sell. I really wish there was a way to bring them back to the U.S cause I would have bought some in a heartbeat. The second lady was really healthy and we just checked her blood sugar. The third lady was a little older and we just did her BP and hands. We wanted to wash her hands and feet because they seemed a little more dirty but she wasn’t very personable and didn’t seem to enjoy our company too much. The fourth lady was losing it a little bit but was very sweet and sang the whole time. I washed her feet while Maria did her hands. The last lady was 92 and hadn’t walked in 7 years. She was laying in a bed so we did everything plus gave her a bed bath.
I really enjoyed these home visits. It really is a humbling experience to be accepted into someone’s home and then do things such as cutting their nails and washing their feet. These people have so little and yet every home we walked into, within a minute of walking into the room they were getting chairs and insisting that we sit down and rest. It is such a great experience and I can’t wait to do more in the coming weeks.
We got the afternoon off so we went to Catacaos, which is a market that sells really great Peruvian made things at really cheap prices. We enjoyed roaming the streets and looking at all the vendors. We finished our last interview today, so we plan on starting the data portion of the project tonight and will be working on it all weekend!