Friday, July 6, 2012

The June 2012, Trip Summary

This trip felt as productive as one could, given the circumstances and difficulties our patients face daily. Although the supplies I brought restock for Don Sergio for the next two to three months at the most, it will not go to waste as it would if left here in the US. The blood glucose monitor and strips will help Don Sergio show and educate his patients on the need for blood sugar control, hence better wound healing. For me, the continued experience of providing healthcare in limited conditions, seeing the changing needs of what I can bring from the US and acceptance and trust from the indigenous people enhances my usefulness for return visits.

I've posted this before, but this picture says a thousand words.

As for the medical cases, the increase of diabetic ulcers seen on this trip is astounding. Four years ago I started working with Don Sergio and most of the patients were burns and few were ulcers. There are still many burns just at this moment there are few, however the type of diabetic ulcers we see are severe and most would require some type of surgical procedure (if they were in the US). The majority of these patients have poorly controlled diabetes and don't seem to have a good understanding of this disease - hence the moniker "the silent disease". I can't help but notice the infiltration of the Western processed food diet and high consumption of sodas playing a significant part in the Mexican diabetes epidemic (same for the US).

Traveling Back to Tucson

Carol, Jim and I left at 4:30 am for the taxi ride to Tuxtla (Albino Corzo) Airport. Our plane ride to DF (Mexico City) then to Hermosillo was uneventful. The unpleasant part of this whole trip was the bus ride back to Tucson from Hermosillo. We were lucky to grab the last three seats departing Hermosillo at 1:30 pm however, these three seats were right in front of the bus's toilets… that were overflowing! Luck struck again after five hours — we stopped in Nogales to pick up others and had the restrooms cleaned. The border crossing was easy but we had to hang out on the US side for an additional hour for some unknown reason. Bruce picked us up at the Tucson Tufesa bus station on time and we delivered Carol and Jim to their doorstep.

The following day I returned to St. Elizabeth's Healthcare Center for my afternoon dermatology clinic for uninsured patients. This community clinic and our patients have very limited resources and the clinic relies on volunteers, grants, and private donations. Still, walking in I felt a sense of relief, "I'm back in the US so these seriously afflicted patients at least have a chance".  It saddens me to know there is so much suffering in the world. The patients I see in Chiapas are only a small sliver of how others suffer without adequate healthcare around the world. I urge everyone reading this to reach out and do what you can to help those without the luxury of good health… we, born in the US, are just plain lucky!

Many Thanks!

Organizations that help me help the patients in Chiapas are:
World Care
Arizona Burn Center
Northwest Wound Care Center 

Of course, to support Don Sergio carry on his one-man wound and burn care please click here or on the PayPal button on the upper right of this page. If you would like to make a tax-deductible donation please send your check to IF Integrities with a letter stating this donation is earmarked for Sergio Castro Martinez.

The 30-minute documentary about Don Sergio, El Andalon, is on sale to the public. A portion of the proceeds are donated to Don Sergio.

A special thank you to Bela at Bela's Bed and Breakfast for sharing your friendship, local knowledge, food and making my stay in San Cristóbal very comfortable.  !Gracias a Manuela, Teresa y Anna también!

All blog posts are my personal opinions and experiences while working with Don Sergio. Thank you all for your support. Patricia Ferrer, PA-C

To follow are photos I love to share and I can't help it but they are related to food: YOU ARE WHAT YOU EAT!  Diabetes is changing the face of health in the world and its cause it at the root of what you put in your mouth. Please think about the long-term effects of high-sugared, high-carb and processed foods on your and your family's health.  ¡Disfruta!

The hands of a superb cocinera, Manuela, stuffing flor de calabas with quesillo.

More than once, twice, thrice… a photo of fresh squeezed OJ on the street for 10 pesos (seventy cents USD)

Rambutan, a leechy nut-type fruit. It tastes like a pulpy not-so-sweet green grape and the seed tastes like a nut.  They look so interesting - an export fruit for Mexico, brought from the far east some years ago.

View from patient's home: field of greens… field of food!

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