First Clinic Day

Monday, July 30th, Blog by Heidi Stecher.

Our first official clinic day was spent in the town of Esperanza Tunico.  We saw about 60 patients. We, unfortunately, had a sick colleague that needed immediate help in the clinic. This threw many for a loop as some left their stations to assist her and getting her IV fluids and nausea medication.  It was stressful for those taking care of her, and the rest of us plugged along in the sweltering heat and humidity. I can’t remember the last time I had been drenched from head to toe and continued that way all day. I realized that this is what it will be like for the next week before heading back to Guatemala City.  So, I told myself not to expect the moon, and I can only do my best according to what the environment provides, as the weather itself is debilitating to the mind and body. The weather affected my ability to think quickly and I was slow in my movements. This reminded me to drink more and include electrolytes.

The clinic itself was busy, we were exhausted.  There was confusion with who was next after vital signs.  So, I knew we needed to get that ironed out before the next clinic.  I worked in triage and we saw many with complaints of body aches, gastritis, cough, skin issues like scabies, some wounds and also pregnant mothers and children.  One woman had to give a urine sample, so I offered to hold her baby. The babies are swaddled with a large blanket triangled and twisted at the top. They hold babies from the twisted top and swing them. Elma, our lab tech, said she doesn’t hold the babies because she is not used to holding them that way.  I tried and swung the baby, but I felt uncomfortable, so brought the baby up to my arms and held him.


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