Here they are!! Heroes all, at least to the good folks of Barron. This medical team was ably assisted by a team of translators including Dave & Lindy Marvin, Aida Alvarado, Marie Pedrero, Miriam Ayala and her brother Manuel and sister, Karla. Along with Dick and I and, of course, Barron’s Godfather, Dale Lyster, we processed 287 people through the converted Comisariado Ejidal in Barron. The before and after pictures tell the story. Each of three examination rooms were necessarily equipped (but not much more). Patients needing a more thorough exam were able to use a real examination table shared among the three practioners. We had three medical history stations and a reception desk outside. Kris, Dick and Teri manned the reception desk. From there, patients were asked to fill out a medical history. Those needing assistence with this process were able to seek help with Dave or Lindy Marvin, both Spanish speakers who were often assisted by one of our translators, Miriam, Manuel and Karla. After the forms were filled out, patients were admitted to the building and waited for our nursing team to determine BMI, blood glucose and blood pressure. Veronica and Stephanie filled those slots and were assisted later in the week by Alwyn. Rachel acted as the triage nurse, determining why the patients presented themselves and which practioner was best able to meet their needs. She had the choice between Danielle, a nurse practioner with an emergency room background who was paired with Marie, a dentist by trade acting as a translator; Bonnie, an emergency room physician and fluent Spanish speaker (who because of her pregnancy, occupied an offsite office); Rod, a general practioner & gerontologist who was paired with Aida as a translator; and Ben, a hospitalist, who is a fluent Spanish speaker. Obviously infectious patients were masked and everyone had to clean their hands with alcohol gel as they entered the building. It took maybe an hour to circulate among the stations inside the building and as much time to fill out the forms and gain access to the building. We saw an average of about 50 patients per day, mostly in the morning hours. After the doctors’ exam, any prescriptions necessary were filled by Clark. We had quite a little pharmacy available stocked with a wide variety of OTC and prescription drugs. The most serious patients were called back to consult with three Mazatlan doctors after the main clinic closed. We offered four different classes; Heart Health, Diabetes Care, Weight Loss and Women’s Health. All were led by Dr Bonnie at the off-site location.
We saw a cross section of ailments: colds, flu, chicken pox, arthritis, joint pain, diabetes, hypertension. Most were treated successfully onsite. Some women came in to have the results of a recent PAP smear explained to them. We were able to give a few cortisone injections to extremely painful joints. A 23 yr old pregnant and partially paralysed woman with chicken pox was able to get treatment to protect her unborn baby. Some were cancer survivors. Our history takers heard some incrediblestories of men falling off three story balconies, swimming three days in the Pacific after their boat went down, being beaten up by six guys and surviving after a four month coma. Most had access to the Mexican medical system in the past. Their vaccinations seemed to be up-to-date and in fact, there was a team of nurses in Barron on Thursday going house-to-house apparently giving vaccinations. The most poignant cases were the elderly. We had at least a dozen septa- and octogenarians come in on their walkers, wheelchairs or on the arm of a relative. They were too frail to take the bus into town for medical advice and were very happy to be able to walk down the street to see a doctor. I will not forget one lady, who at the age of 64 looked like she was 80. Her BMI was 18. The Mazatlan doctors who came out for a consult agreed she had just a few months to live due to probable cancer. She had not been able to eat for several years, but that had gotten worse just lately. The dietary supplement and Maalox we were able to supply considerably eased her discomfort. Hopefully, she will be able to live out her time in some comfort that she would not have otherwise had.
I would like to say a few words about our medical team. Our daughter Bonnie was able to assemble the core group of support personnel from her hospital in Greenwich, CT. All were thrilled to escape the brutal winter that is still pounding the East coast. They were housed here at Estrella in condos donated by Dave & Elaine Greiner and Lance Gutersohn & Jeremy Kennell. They all had EDM “concierges” assigned to pick them up at the aiport and do their food shopping. Bob & Julie Wallace and Kim & Heather Anders filled those roles admirably. Words cannot express how thrilled they were with the accommodations and how grateful we are to these EDM folks. But the salient point here is that even though the nurses paid their own airfares and food, they, to a person, felt they received much, muchmore than they gave. I don’t spend a lot of time in or near hospitals but the consensus of opinion was that our patients were the very best, most congenial, cooperative and grateful group they had ever treated. Smiles all around. Warm hearts and tears too. Everyone is excited to do it again! And we probably will.
One last thanks is due. Rod & Teri Kaasa have been a part of the EDM family for a while now. They both lead busy lives up in the far, far north and peregrinate regularly to our little bubble. Rod & his son, Ben are both doctors so obviously, they were well suited to their roles. But during this week of activity, I was able to get to know the whole family, Teri and Alwyn included, and I cannot express adequately how wonderful they all are. We could not have done it without them and with them, it was a joy.