“Dude, you gotta come over here now!” Peter interrupted, as I was seeing my 3rd patient of my Honduran career. ‘Lo siento, un momento por favor,” I told her—sorry, just a moment. Peter was seeing a little guy, 5 yrs old, with a ‘lump’ on his head. “Tropical medicine, man, whatcha think? “Human Botfly, I fired.” “Bingo,” Peter confirmed.
We grabbed Maria, the 3rd year resident, and scrutinized the lump a bit more. There was a little opening, which Peter explained was the air hole. “Let’s open it up and squeeze em’ out.” Maria cut an opening and we did some squeezing, but to no avail. I started to wonder if it was just a sebacious cyst (an overactive oil gland). As Maria pulled some membrane to the surface, I was more convinced it was a cyst. But then a plump, squirmy Botfly Maggot emerged at the end of her forceps, the size of a pistachio.
That. Was. AWESOME!!!!
When I arrived this morning at the hospital the plan was for me to shadow Isaac, to continue to learn the flow of how things work here. My first official day on the job is this coming Monday, so all week I have been trying to prepare for that moment. However, when Peter poked his head into Isaacs office and said they were buried with patients today, I offered to carry some load, and they were happy to have the help.
I am supposed to have a helper next week to assist me with some interpretation until my Spanish improves a bit. But since this was not planned, I had to just dive into to the ice cold river. One lady I saw got my attention, because it was a perfect example of how our emotional situation can affect our physical body.
She told me that she had 3 problems. Pain in her throat, headache, and pain in her abdomen. When did this all start? A month ago…
Hmmm. So I went through all my stomach pain questions. Does eating exacerbate it, is your period normal, are you having and urinary problems, do you have nausea or weight loss, et? No to all of these.
Then, thank Goodness, she offered to me that her husband had recently died of a brain tumor. (Cancer seems to be more common down her, BTW). ‘Oh, I’m so sorry, when did that happen?” —“a month ago.” Jah Veo (oh, I see!)
She was having tremendous grief, which was causing her to have stomach pain/gastritis with reflux (acid going up your throat) which caused her throat pain. She also had a headache which is common with grief and depression. I expressed how sorry I was that this had happened, and she allowed me to pray for her (In mostly English). I set her up for some treatment of her acid reflux, and more importantly I had her go to the ‘Consejeria,’ which is the counsellor who prays with each patient and gives them some guidance. She will return in a month and we will see how she is doing.
This sweet woman was a good reminder that there are key pieces of a person’s history that we need to extract if we are to competently treat a whole person. We are made of body, mind and spirit, we are not just a hunk of tissue that functions independent of our soul. We are fearfully and wonderfully made…
And now, some more pictures…
Until next time 🙂 Hasta Pronto