The Georges in Peru

Huntington's Chorea

12 May 2017

This week we went on a medical campaign to the nearby Colca Canyon.  I say 'we' because the kids were on school break at the same time as the campaign, so they and Mary Beth joined me!  This is an annual trip that is organized by Medical Ministries International (MMI) and we were part of a team about about 30 volunteers.  About 10 were from Canada, 10 from the USA and 10 from Peru.  I saw patients while Mary Beth, Mia and Paul translated for the visiting doctors and nurses.

Monday night, after a day of seeing patients in Chivay, I was asked to do a house call to see Paulo, a patient with a tremor.  His cousin (or niece, it wasn't clear) described it as a bad tremor.  “How old is he?”  “49,” she told me.  Very young, I categorized him.  The cousin went on to say, “His sister had the same thing and died.”  “Huntington’s,” I told those in my car as we drove to his house.  His cousin took us to the ‘wrong house’ initially, while she cleaned up Paulo's house before our unannounced arrival.  When I saw him flailing his arms on the floor of his shack, my initial diagnosis was confirmed.  I knew that there was nothing that can be done to alter the course of his disease, but I didn’t know which medicines could help his symptoms in the meantime.  Despite our remote location, I had cell service and internet access.  I found a reliable source that said that Keppra is a drug that’s been shown to help control movements in HD and I knew that I have a bunch left over from Amy’s last days.  Unfortunately, I hadn't brought the Keppra with me with me, but will send them with Gamaliel, the missionary in the stocking cap, who is going back to visit him next week.  Paulo was actually quite happy and said that he had accepted Jesus as his Savior before, so we prayed with him and went back to join the rest of our medical team.