Day 1, Lenten Aspirations

Have you seen the movie ‘Julie and Julia?’ It’s a chick flick, a story about Julia Child, cooking, and an aspiring writer. Yawn… right? Well, I’ll lay my masculinity on the line here and give it my endorsement. But, as a man, it can only be viewed in the presence of your wife, or romantic interest. If watched alone, all self-dignity will be lost.

I enjoyed the movie and was inspired by the heroine, Julie, who decided to blog about the recipes from Julia Child’s first cookbook. She blogged daily for one straight year, systematically cooking every recipe in the book.

In honor of this Lenten season, and with encouragement won from watching this emasculating movie, I will be doing a daily blog as well, up until Easter. Fear not, I won’t be writing about cooking recipes! I will write about something for which I’m very passionate, which is the people that I see and care for here in Honduras, at Hospital Loma de Luz. My hope is to give you a snapshot of the life of one of our patient’s each day.

And so, day 1:

Velma (not her real name), age 15. We were hurrying to finish up patients for the afternoon, so that we could all attend a radiology lecture. Divide and conquer became the strategy, so Anne gave me a patient to wrap up for her. 15 yr old girl with complaint of “everything…”

What struck me about Velma was that she seemed a lot like a typical North-American teenager. She was wearing fairly trendy clothing (as if I’m a good judge of that…), she was smiling and expressive, and looked generally healthy. She admitted that she was anxious a lot, had stomach cramps often, found it hard at times to shut her brain off at night, etc. Pretty typical 15 yr old stuff. Her mom tattled on her, divulging that she would stay up until 1 AM on her phone. This would be very common in the states, but surprised me a bit for the rural jungles of Honduras.

And then, still with smiles on their faces, they speculated that she seemed more anxious ever since her boyfriend was killed in a motorcycle accident a couple months ago. Wait, what? I paused to offer sincere condolences for her loss. She didn’t seem too distressed, and in fact seemed in pretty good spirits. In a society where young women are very often ‘married’ by her age, I would have thought she would be more distraught. On the other hand, death is commonplace here. Tragic death, in particular, is not uncommon. Almost everyone here has a story of a loved one dying in an unnatural manner. Motorcycle accidents, drowning, work trauma, and even murder are all run-of-the-mill.

I had a new appreciation for her anxiety, and tried to encourage her in healthy ways to deal with it. We prayed briefly, and she was on her merry way.  Her situation was a reminder to me that people often have a lot of hidden loss and pain, especially here in Honduras.  

Photo of the day:

Obviously, this isn’t from our hospital (it’s written in English…). These are doctors orders for some chap in a nursing home. nice…  If I ever have to write that order, I think I’ll make sure the fellow gets a robust IPA.  Or maybe a pilsner…  


Ok, one down, 45 to go. See you tomorrow!

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