Wednesday, March 7, 2012

HOME - the end of an amazing journey has arrived. The students were wonderful ambassadors for the University of Maine School of Nursing. The trip was far more successful that could have been imagined.

Plans are in the making for next years trip. Informational night will be posted in the Nursing School folder. ( I think I will take the weekend off before starting however - Sue)

Monday, March 5, 2012

Last Day in Belize. We are experience jungle rain - it has rain non-stop for 24 hours. We drove over some slippery muddy roads today. Visited a Maya cave - cool and scary all at the same time. It was truly HOT in the cave. I took a natural rain water shower after fully clothed then got cold because of the damp clothes. Traveled to another area of Belize, thankful for a wonderful driver named Martin - crazy crazy roads and crazy Belizean drivers. Tubing down a wonderful blue river in the rain which brought us through some caves. Walls were smoothed by the running water. Up over head were bat holes. It was chilly with all the wet and rain.

Everyone is now packing and wrapping it up. Breakfast in the morning then an hour plus drive to Belize City. We will drop off some medical supplies on our way for the elderly.

Several students are not ready to leave and several are ready to leave. This evening another have fallen ill with nausea - hoping that she also feels better in the AM. Traveling and not feeling well would not be fun. We spent a lot of time riding on a bumpy, muddy, slippery and whinny ( ? if that is the right spelling :) ) road today so hoping it is all related to travel.

Think of us as we travel tomorrow - Thanks for everyone's support.

Sunday, March 4, 2012

We visited a Medicine Man yesterday. He has over 500 plants which can cure many illness. He believes that Western medicine are chemicals which are not good for people. Several nursing students are very interested in alternative medicine so they truly enjoyed this visit. It was an amazing interesting visit.
Day 6&7 - Yesterday was a full day with home visits in Billy White Belize which is a small village. Many homes to not have running water or electricity. Unemployment is very high, it is hard to say what it is exactly. According to folks the government reports a different number than what the parties report. So it is anywhere between the high teen to high 20% if not more. I would be surprised if it is not higher. Many folks plant most of their food and have animals for butcher or buy animals from neighbors. This village is primarily spanish and little English. I was in trouble so let the nursing students practice their spanish.

Today we set up clinic early and soon had a very busy schedule. Many children and mothers today but we did have a few men come in as well. Some high diabetes - with blood sugars greater than 350 ( nothing that can be done ). Nursing students were able to do lots of teaching. Many children had head lice which was visual without having to search. All one had to do is look at their heads.

We had rain today but were quickly told that the rain will only make things feel hotter unlike at home. It is hard to imagine that it can be any hotter than it was today. I played soccer with a few boys this afternoon during lunch. I am not sure what I was thinking - playing soccer in the heat. After 15 minutes I was dying. " What was I thinking?"

Dinner today and Dance lessons this evening. Tomorrow is tubing down a river through caves, visiting a Maya cave and then Zip line - Play day.

Friday, March 2, 2012

End of Day 5 -
Yesterday we saw 65 patients, today it was 59. Mostly Women, children and the elderly. No young men and no men under the age of 70. There were some very very sick people and there is just nothing that can be done. We suspected 2 cases of TB, worked with an HIV family, students found a cardiac arrhythmia but not much that can be done about it, lots of fungal issues, runny noses and cough. One beautiful young child had a temp of 102; gave her some tylenol and sent her home to hydrate. Another lady in her 50's arrived and after a having diarrhea/ vomiting had a blood pressure of 82/58with a heart rate of 88. All they symptoms of dehydration - we sat her down, gave her one Reglan and had her sip coconut water for a few hours. Then sent her on her way - she had almost a two block walk in the heat back home.

One young lady came in the a bag of problems - the students were finally able to determine that all she wanted was Pepto Bismal because it tasted good when she got it once. We quickly ran out of liquid tylenol today and chewable vitamins are pretty low in count for our next clinic day. The greatest need is pharmaceuticals. If anyone knows how we can get our hands on recently expired drugs (they use them up to one year after they expire) please send the info to us. I got up last night with a headache and felt guilty about taking ibuprofen.

The doctor we are working with said to the students, " there are no chronic disease here because here they die before it becomes chronic." The poverty is heart breaking.

Tomorrow - we assess a village called Billy White. We will be there all morning, then have a soccer game planned with the villagers. After we are meeting with a Medicine Man that will share his wealth of knowledge related to plants and pharmaceuticals.

Too tired to re-read and edit/ sorry for any errors or poor grammar.

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Day 4

Today was our first clinic day in Santa Familia. It started out with many patients waiting for our arrival. We  split into 6 groups of 2 to assess our patients, while Sue set up the "pharmacy". It was a long, challenging, yet rewarding day of providing care and diagnosing our total of 65 patients with everything from the common cold, to parasites, kidney infections, tuberculosis, and diabetes. Some just wanted vitamins. Makes us really stop to think about how lucky we truly are, and how much we take for granted. We are humbled by the Belizians' sense of community, respect, and warmth; and are hoping for another incredible day in Santa Familia tomorrow.