Sunday, January 31, 2016

Progress at a snails pace

January 24, 2016

In some parts of the world progress moves at a snails pace...or as Don Sergio says, 'poco a poco'.

I am back home now after spending 2 weeks with Sergio in San Cristobol.  It was a rewarding visit finding Sergio well and busy.  Below are some thoughts I have about the state of Sergio's mission.

The Supply Line
Don Sergio is always in need of burn and wound care supplies. He can never have enough gauze, gauze wraps, ointment and gloves. Thankfully, there is a Tucson organization where I can request these items and check them as luggage when I visit him. Also, my medical network seems to come through when I request items they no longer need and a friendly physician who ships me boxes of good, unused supplies from Michigan throughout the year (Thank You, Dr. Beckmyer).

Some supplies I repack as tightly as possible and have friends (Thank You, Alejandra) who visit family in Mexico and postal ship them from Sonora. This system has worked well and supplements Sergio's inventory.  He does have friends from France that send him creams and other items as well.

The Help
L>R: friend of the team, Nataly, Esmeralda, Deborah and Edith.
Edith, is now in nursing school and doing well. She continues to help Sergio on a regular basis. I believe her nursing school is 5 years long and this is her first year. She had recruited a few others students to come help as well and they love it. They love the hands-on care and knowing they are making a difference in their community working along side Don Sergio.

Alfonso also continues to help Sergio. His unwavering admiration and respect is palpable. He has decided to pursue an engineering degree in San Cris and help Don Sergio until his compadre Cesar completes his medical training. Alfonso told me he looks to Don Sergio as a wise grandfather and spends most evenings working with him.
L>R: Sergio, Juanito, Alfonso.
Cesar, El General, is in his second year of med school and is doing well. Only when he is on break is he able to come help Sergio. He says his studies are going well and he is learning so much about medicine and loves it. He will be an exceptional physician!

Newbies: Esmeralda, Deborah, and Nataly. Esmeralda has a permanent smile on her face and is in nursing school with Edith. Nataly is a gymnastic teacher and helps in the evenings as well. She took up running a year and a half ago and has run 2 marathons already...she's a natural athlete.  She usually comes in the top 10 of various races...usually 15 to 42 kilometers. She was there most nights these past two weeks. Deborah is 15 years old and loves to hang out and hand out supplies to everyone working. I love the feeling of camaraderie and family that has developed over the years.

Gymnastic teacher and runner by day, volunteer at night.

Iker has been gone for almost a year now. He's ridden his bicycle over 9000 kilometers and is putting on another 3000 more as he heads to Usuiasia in Argentina.  We still hope for his return one day. We all miss him.
Having gloves, good blades to care for wounds is a plus.
Here we use a bucket for a stool.

Indiegogo Fundraiser
Last year's fund raising was a tremendous help for Sergio. This fundraiser helped support him over the last 8 months. His life is easier because of all of your donors. We plan another Indiegogo this spring. 

The Patients
It is a dream to one day, to find a way to integrate a patient education program...alas..for now, just a dream. Sadly, same conditions, different patients. It seems there is no end. We are making a difference but albeit, a bandaid..speaking metaphorically.  Each patient, young and old, are always expressing their gratitude for Sergio's (and his team's) help. The care they would receive if Sergio were not there, may not be adequate or sufficient to heal their wounds. As I've mentioned before, sometimes its more cost effective for the hospital to cut off the limb as oppose to nurse a wound back to health.  Sergio has nursed many limbs back to life.

Stop here, the following is for strong eyes and stomachs only.

His family brought him in 4 days after the injury.

This photo, left, is the young boy who was accidentally burned with polvora (flammable power used for fireworks). See posting Jan 9th. I cannot paint the picture with words of how quietly and calmly this child sat while Sergio applied vaseline and silver sulfasalazine to his open facial wounds.

Day 15 after initial burn and 11 days of burn care.

Sergio believes when one is calm during receiving wound care, their bodies heal quickly.

We hope all who know and/or who've met Sergio continue to provide support in some way, every bit helps. Stay tuned, we will keep updating the blog.

My nephew Ethan, a pre-med student, joined me this trip. He will do great things in his life!


Scott Bolhack, MD said...

thank you for this wonderful posting, Patriicia! For those of us who have visited, we understand the challenge. It is so nice to hear about his (your) chapel of healing.


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