Friday, August 20, 2010
a doctor's visit
Yesterday a doctor went to Kay Pov. God knows the last time our loved ones saw a doctor.
Tuesday I told them that the doctor would be coming at 9am in the morning on Wednesday, market day. Never ceasing to amaze me, at 9 o´clock I found all of the mentally stable ones waiting for their date, minus Walter who refused to be seen. Tyler, Flavio, Adaniel and Alex, the market frequenters, all opted out of their biweekly outing for the grand event. Flavio finished buttoning his inside out red Hawaiian shirt over his other, coincidentally, red shirt and fixing his hat. While waiting his turn to see the doctor I caught him stretching out his shirt, attempting to iron out the wrinkles. Tyler shaved, put on his best attire: navy blue corduroy pants, a long sleeve shirt, thick soccer socks, and tennis shoes, as I passed by admiring his apparel for the occasion I observed as he struggled to tie his laces with his one useful hand. By the time he finished sweat spotted his freshly shaven face as he sat with dignity and patience.
Geralda, the doctor who agreed to visit Kay Pov, arrived at nine. I asked one of the gentlemen for a chair and immediately was offered four; it is one of their few possessions, a small wooden chair to shita, or sit.
I wanted to see how Geralda interacted with them and how she dealt with the environment. She noticed that the consultations would be held outside sitting on a chair, asking questions to some who aren’t necessarily completely cognizant. I wanted to see if she looked into their eyes, if she understood the murmurs that stream through their toothless mouths, if she touched their skin without disgust. At first I could tell she was a bit taken aback. Her first patient, Alex went on to tell her everything he could imagine could be going wrong with him and what the cause of everything was. “Can you tell me your age Alex?” “Yes, October 12th.” She looked at me and smiled. Little by little she went understanding them more and more. She tried to give Tiffany a check up in vain. Tiffany kept on running out of her chair, laughing and sticking her hands in her mouth. I walked over and caressed her hair, she would look at me calmly grab my hand with her drooly one and turn her back to the doctor. Alex came with boiled green bananas as an offering for Tiffany. Geralda continued her attempts to consult Tiffany, but in return would be offered chunks of the boiled bananas from Tiffany’s wet hand. Tiffany’s cough continues.
I visited Analise’s and Adaniel´s room to see if they were ready for their consultations. Excrement plastered Analise’s bed and the floor around her. She must have suffered a long night. Geralda walked in, surely smelling the evidence of Analise’s lack of health. Without making a scene she walked over to Adaniel at the other side of the room and started his check up, while we cleaned Analise and her belongings. By the time Adaniel’s consultation ended we decided it would be best for Analise to be seen outside under a tree, the same tree we bathe them under. Analise seemed to have no interest in leaving the room and sensed where I planned to guide her, “I don’t want a shower!” she started yelling as I held her in my hands walking her towards the tree. “A doctor is here to see you.” “A doctor? I don’t have any money, a doctor won’t see me,” she said through a dry laugh. All the while she pulled all her weight, maybe 60 pounds, back towards the filthy room. “I want to lay down.”
I’m sure slightly intimidated, Geralda sat patiently under the tree watching the spectacle. I leaned my forehead on Analise’s and began humming a Bobby McFarrin song she likes to hear and held her in my arms. After numerous kisses on her cheekbones she began to stammer with me towards the tree. As she sat down she started undressing, while patting around the dirt around her in search for her pillowcase which carries all her belongings. Geralda looked at me in shock, I lead her eyes towards Analise’s cloudy ones and she began to talk to her. The consultation began with Geralda touching Analise with her pen to let her know where she sat; by the end Geralda was placing her hand on Analise’s.
Each one handed their prescription to me as they finished. By the end of the morning the collection of prescriptions filled my pocket. As Geralda and I walked down the hill towards a mini-medical dispensary Jara and Pharmaceutics without Borders set up, I thanked her for her gentleness with them, for her patience, and her sense of humor, for going and seeing them. She looked straight into me and said, “This is a pleasure for me, thank you.”
AAAA! God is outstandingly wonderful! I wanted to find a doctor to visit Kay Pov once a month, a doctor to care for them delicately and with dignity. I wanted to find a sustainable way for their prescriptions to be paid for and God with Geralda, Jara, those in Kay Pov, fulfilled my desires. Prescribing medicine to those in Kay Pov comes with more complications than usual. Many medications require food intake alongside them, if they have one meal a day, then the doctor can’t prescribe those medications. None have clocks and some are not aware of the time of day or have the memory to remember when to take their medications. Two madams offered to assist in giving Adaniel, Analise, and Alex their medications. We’ll see how it goes. After Geralda explained how to take each pill, syrup, or vitamin the gratitude expressed to her from all of the conscious ones moved her, and me.
How blessed am I to love these people and see them be loved by others. Thank you God, thank you.
P.D.: The lady who used to wash their clothes and sheets no longer follows through, so we’re in search of someone else. I have a plan. Pray, that God illuminate us and that God’s will be done through us.