Harty and Wilson DDS published a note.
El Salvador 2017 #3 Second day of clinics 3-14-17
As I went to pray for this sweet little old lady, I placed my left hand on her right shoulder, and my right hand on her right hand above her elbow as I closed my eyes. To touch someone is healing in it’s own right. I always have my hands on people as I work and pray to physically connect and also comfort them. She placed her hand over my hand on her arm. When I finished praying, she took my hand she had been covering and removed it from her right breast. She had a slight grin as I was melting onto the concrete floor, I think as not to embarrass me even more. I can imagine the conversation with her friends when she got home.
The school we have worked at the last two days, intentionally bring in people from two different areas for us to treat. That is to keep the gangs from those areas separate. They say these areas have “dormitory homes.” That is, a single mother gets up well before dawn, goes to work in a sweat shop and comes home at 7 or 8 pm and just to bed to sleep so she can get up and do it again. She has no choice but to leave her kids to fend for themselves during the day and that is when the gangs come into play. They lurk in the shadows looking for those who want to belong to something. If you don’t have a family, you will look for something that looks like family to fulfill what is missing. And if you don’t join, they kill you. That is what I was alluding to in last nights email about the lady who lost the young child. I heard more of those prayer requests today, and it is heart breaking, but that is real life. When we left after our day was over, they marching band played for us, to thank us for coming and it was spectacular. It was a little surreal, but really beautiful and my heart appreciated it.
As I said last night there is a huge shortage of medicine and supplies through out the country. We asked someone if he thought what we were doing was making a difference, as we are concerned with follow up care to some of the conditions being treated. He told us how you know when you are living in a poor country in two simple ways. Your children go to a school and they have a teacher, but they do not have books, the roof if they have one leaks, they have nothing to write with, and etc. Second, you get sick, you go to the hospital and to have treatment it costs 5 times what you make in a month, and they don’t even have the supplies to do the treatment. So his answer was that we could not fully understand the effect of what we were doing. It didn’t exactly make us feel better, but it did to know it helped. At the end of the day it is about giving people Hope.
I write from my hotel room after clinic today, followed by a massage then dinner at the Argentine Steak House (for those who have been with us in the past), and ice cream. I felt I earned all of it (well, except for the above, but even that was a bit of a traumatic embarrassment). I saw 20 some patients today, got a ton of teeth, and it was 89º at the worst of it, although I sweat through, it didn’t feel that hot. Yesterday, every tooth came out nicely, and I told the two high school students we would pay for that today, and I did. I worked on a 17 yo male that needed his first molar out and the roots must have been going away from each other as I could not get it out, and ended up snapping the crown of the tooth off to hopefully get to the roots that had separated in the fracture. No such luck, and my arm was shot after an hour of trying. It did not even dawn on me that there were 4 other Salvador docs with me, so one of them got it out after another 4 minutes. The kid was so grateful it was really cute, but I figure by about now he is not so grateful. Had several other tough ones but they eventually came out.
Tom and Robin had 5 medical students with them today so they were able to see a bunch of patients, but I was so busy, I really didn’t much of a chance to see them. Jessica went with Anthony to the hospital and they did a C-section, and had a spontaneous vaginal delivery of a 22 week old that survived the delivery, but they suspected was less than 500 gms and was not viable. I'm not trying to be all clinical, but this is the way it works and this is what Anthony faces each day. I love Tom, Robin and Anthony, to watch them work, talk about cases and see their hearts through their works and deeds.
Finally, and not exactly sure where this is coming from, but I was asked this morning from one of you if what we do makes a difference in any of the countries we work. It was asked in a purely innocent and non judgemental way. And the truth is, I don’t know. But here is what I do know. For the person that is standing, sitting or laying in front of me, I am doing my best to make them feel like someone loved on them as hard as he could for a little while. For a few minutes, they are listened to respectfully, and given the best treatment that I can provide. I touch, hold and cry with them, I ask how I can pray for them, and I sincerely want to spend time hearing them, that I try to give them Hope. Does it make the country, area, city, or neighborhood better? I don’t know and don't really care. But for that person, I have to believe that it does made a difference. Love matters. It always will. That's why He died, to show that Love is stronger, matters more, one person at a time.
I am dead tired, and hoping this makes a little sense to you. More tomorrow,