Wednesday, August 4, 2010
The good thing about Mexico is...........
you see things you most likely wouldn't see in the US. The bad thing about Mexico is.......you see things you most likely wouldn't see in the US.
Good: Adults lovingly caring for their elderly parents, mother and daughters unabashedly walking arm-in-arm, siblings genuinely and attentively caring for their younger siblings when crossing the street and protecting them from the rain.
Daughter cares for incapacitate 102-year-old father with chronic bed/decubitus ulcers.
Bad: Dogs uncared for with obvious disease lying around the streets. Children and adults with serious physical disabilities begging on the street.
Good: The most beautiful flowers, well-cared for lush gardens everywhere and many different types of butterflies. Fresh wholesome vegetables easily accessible and always available (mas economico tambíen).
Bad: Children with serious health problems and lack of resources to address them.
I suspect this child is moderately mentally delayed. We care for his brother, burned by boiling water, and this child greets us with the purest of hugs.
This 10-year-old was hit by a car, his leg broken and surgically repaired with metal prosthesis. He was left with large open wounds which Sergio does basic daily wound care. The child is still unable to walk and DOES NOT complain in any way.
All-in-all, I love this place. Just like the US in that we have our 'good' and 'bad' as well.
San Cristóbal de Las Casas is the most charming colonial city Bruce and I had the pleasure of visiting two years ago. It is 7500 ft above sea level, the soil is so rich that everything grows and many visitors (Mexican and foreigners) comment on the various shades of green, the wild flowers and the richness of this area. When returning to Mexico I am in awe of the food as I find beautiful vegetable markets just about everywhere.
This charm offsets the sorrow of many lives here in Chiapas. One learns to detach themselves from the horrific injuries and circumstances that present daily. Although sometimes I have no control over detachment and a pang of sadness overwhelms me momentarily, I am here to help because I want to and if I let the sadness take over, I wouldn't get anything done. I'm not sure how Sergio handles this day-in, day-out.... just a way of life I guess.
Added to our usual patient rounds was a mother with an infant seeking help. This three-month-old Tzotzil infant girl had a unilateral cleft palate and unable to suck properly to consume her mother's milk. The mother took the infant to the local doctor and was told that nothing could be done until the child was two years old. In modern medicine, this is not true. How is the baby to get any food down? Conventional wisdom recommends that these malformations are repaired within the first year of life. Luckily, Sergio's goddaughter Ana, was with us today and explained to the mother that there is a group of surgeons that come annually to do these types of repairs and they are scheduled to be here in September. We'll do all we can to connect the infant's family with this group.
This three-month-old child will fail to thrive as she is unable to suck food from her mother's breast (or bottle). She will need to be fed drop by drop.
Other tragedies include one gentleman that comes to the museo every other day for wound care for his mangled foot from an auto accident years ago. He has a chronic ulcer, uses home-made crutches and he can not work. Another woman shows up at the museo obviously ill as she was pale, bloated and appeared very fatigued. She has one functioning kidney, her face is swollen, her lungs sound congested with fluid, and she has more heart sounds than normal. Her physician told her she needs to get additional studies before he could recommend treatment. She has no money for the tests.
As for "Things you'll most likely never see in the US" is a 30-something Tzotzil man with a parasitic infection of the left foot. This condition has been brewing for 10+ years. A visit to a doctor a few years back included the recommendation of amputation.... which he rightfully avoided. Last year I saw this same man and explained to Sergio he needed a tissue biopsy to identify the culprit of this fungating, malodorous, overgrown foot. The patient has no money nor means or desire to see a doctor. Hence, Sergio does basic/chronic wound care. Upon my return this year, I see the man and his foot is a little bigger and a little worse. Again I explain my concern about a parasite - Sergio continues his wound care. Two days ago I change the bandage and out from this fungating foot came several 1/4-inch tiny worms! Still, what do we do? What is this parasite? Which lab can we send it for proper analysis? There more than likely is a medicine to treat it but where do we get it? Who will pay for all this?
Some days it seems there's a hole that can't be filled. We do what we can with what we have and hope and pray for the best. As Sergio says, "Poco a poco," (little by little) we get things done.
This and all previous posting are from Patricia Ferrer.