A trip to the Dominican...
I had a discussion this evening with a college student that just returned from a trip to the Dominican Republic for a nursing program that is run there in the villages. I ask you to keep this in mind as you read. This is an American college student. This is our next generation.
We spoke about her patients first.
"I have to tell you that there were these ladies that I took care of, I spent 90 minutes with the one of them one day. She had diabetes, htn, and knew none of her meds.
She also had a nasty ulcer on her foot that was not healing well so I spent all this time with her one day trying to get her set up and then had her come back about 10 days later to one of our last clinics to check up on her. When I saw her again her blood sugar was perfect at 80, her wound was healing soooo well but her bp was still a little high. But they were so excited about her foot because they could see the difference and how it was healing much better. It was one of the best moments of the trip."
Then she and I had a deeper discussion.
Her: We've had a lot of discussions about going back, some of my friends and I, we know we are doing good.
Me: Of course you are!
Her: But then we also ask if we are making the villages dependent on us somehow with them expecting us every 6 months.
Me: Good to have the success story with that lady too.
Her: And then we also discussed the peace corps involvement there.
Me: Not if you teach them how to take care of themselves....that's the key.
Her: It's a funny balance. Yeah that's what I think, I mean education, not just free meds you know?
Me: Exactly, and you can tell the difference, like that lady listened to you.
Her: Yeah it was so great, I wrote down the instructions too which I think helped her a lot.
Me:And hence her blood sugar stabilized and her foot healed.
Her: We had two teams and we were splitting that clinic to give everyone a half day off, but I went down in the morning to see her even though I wasn't scheduled because I really wanted to follow up and everyone was joking with me that I was going way above and beyond, but I was just way too attached to her.
Me: But that's what makes the difference.
We talked about her patients, every morning they had a line out the door of the clinic, and it went non stop from morning until night.
We talked about the kids.
We talked about how it feels to help people that need it, to connect with another culture. How incredibly rewarding it is to see some kind of giving that you have done turn into something more. How she wants to go back in two weeks instead of 5 months. How I feel just the same about Iraq. How half of your mind lives there, wondering what's going on with this person or that one? You lie in bed and think of it there, and later you do the same here.
Oh, and this isn't any college kid to me. This is my sister. She's 23 and she could have passed this up to graduate earlier. Instead she challenged herself, and took the road that's brought help to others, and personal fulfillment, and a passion for her chosen profession. And I'm damned proud of her.