Today was the CONREDE track meet. It pits the doctors, lawyers, engineers, nurses, accountants, etc. against each other on the track and field. I went into the 1500m planning on winning the event since I can usually run it 10 or 15 seconds faster than last year's winning time. Unfortunately, I got an asthma attack about half way into the event and didn't even finish. How embarrassing! For the last two months I've been forced to quit really hard runs because I can't breathe. I've seen a lung doctor and even did a treadmill test with a cardiologist and it appears to be exercise-induced asthma. I guess I'll have to stick with the longer, slower runs or the really short ones (100m to 400m) that don't give the asthma time to close my bronchii. Our team coach had been encouraging me to throw the shotput at the event, so I was signed up for it. I've only thrown the shotput once before in my life at a school 'Parents Olympics', so I don't really know what I'm doing. All the other competitors signing up for the event were bigger than me (not a very common occurance in Peru). I was chatting with a team mate before the event who looked like an olympic shotputter. "I'm not very good, he said. It's all technique." I was dubious. He looked like he could throw me 10 meters and a shotput probably much further. God has a sense of humor. I won the event. I'm not convinced it was due to my great technique, as you can see below:
I make a lot more house calls in Peru than I would in the USA. I don't have set clinic hours, so I'm able to go to a patient's house if needed. I've had to hike to some places, like once when I went to see a patient with Huntington's Chorea, who couldn't walk. Today was my first 'car call'. Pastor Simón asked me if I would see a patient in Clínica Arequipa with multiple leg fractures from a car accident to see if she would qualify for financial assistance from our Medical Assistance Project. After I saw her, Pastor Simón asked if I would see another lady from his church who had been told that she had pancreatitis and sent home. "Okay. Where is she?" I asked. "In my car!" Simón said. He's a taxi driver and had brought her to see me and had her wait in his car while I saw the first patient.
Pray both patients recover.
I could post a picture of yesterday's baptismal service in a river that would almost make you think it was the Jordan. But you've seen lots of those photos. You've not seen a Fast Foog stand. Unfortunately, it was closed, so I can't tell you what fast foog tastes like. Probably tastes like chicken.
We have a cute kitten named 'Red'. When I have pediatric patients I let her come out and entertain the patients to help them not be so scared. Tonight, Red decided that my Quechua woman's braids were the funnest thing ever, so I finally had to throw her out to finish seeing the patient!
Last night we bought a queen-sized bed from some missionaries that are leaving Peru for our guest room. I set out the single bed it replaced in our front yard so we can sell it.
We had two guests come to stay with us today. One of them we've never even met before. When she arrived we pointed out the bed in the front yard and said, "Our house is full, so here's your bed!" "It's very nice," she said politely. "You're joking, right?" she asked with a bit of a worried look on her face. "Yes! We're joking!" "Oh good!" she said, relieved. Then she wanted a picture!
btw, the bed sold two days later.
Saturday, we had a work day at church to complete some of the walls with bricks. I think I prefer more natural light and open portions, especially since the weather is so comfortable all year round here. But closing things up will make it a bit quieter I suspect. A metal riser fell on the foot of one of the 'hermanos' (brothers) who was leading the masonry work. I was pretty sure it was broken so I took him to a clinic with an x-ray machine. Yup! It's broken! Can you find the fracture? The first person to correctly identify the broken bone wins! (Wins what? Notoreity.)
I'm going to cast it tomorrow if a walking boot doesn't seem adequate.
Update: Marcy Ganow was the first to correctly identify the fracture in the 2nd Metatarsal!
"Did you bring Pedro's growth chart?" I asked the parents of the smiley 10-month-old. "We don't have one. We're very careful about vaccinations." Pedro's uncle had warned me that Pedro's mother had some pseudo-religious-energy belief system, so I felt they were just the type of patient that God had called me to Peru to help. I was starting to get an idea of what he was warning me about. "Has Pedro gotten any vaccines?" "No. We don't want him to get autism or heavy metal poisoning." I explained that vaccines no longer contain mercury preservatives and that the author of the study linking autism to vaccinations years later admitted to making up his data and that there is no real connection between autism and vaccines beyond the fact that kids under 5 years old get both. I then went on to point out how my mother had polio and my dad lost his only two sisters in childhood to polio and whooping cough, completely preventable diseases rarely seen today. Lastly, I pointed out that you have to be careful what you read on the internet. Whatever stance you might have about anything, you can find someone who has a webpage defending that view. "There are even several web-pages defending that the earth is flat!" I pointed out, expecting affirming nods. No affirming nods noted. I hope they were too busy processing what I had said about vaccines to nod their heads about the earth being round.
Since I can't put patient pictures on my blog, instead we found this parking spot amusing:
They don't let tree planters get in the way of painting in parking stalls.
This isn't news, since it happened two weeks ago, but the times when we have more interesting things to write about are when we are too busy to blog!
From June 30th until July 7th we had a theatre short-term team from Christ Community Church in Omaha come visit. You might be asking, "What does a theatre team do? I've never heard of such a thing." We hadn't either! But God made it work out wonderfully. Monday through Thursday, the team taught workshops on acting, set design, story-telling and choreography, preparing the Peruvians for a showcase in an auditorium on Saturday night. Everything went without a hitch and the Peruvians seemed very happy with the experience. Some of the more timid people got to experience going on stage and reciting their lines in front of a crowd for the first time. We think they learned a lot of skills that will help their ministries in the future.
Of course, a trip to Peru isn't complete without trying the local delicacy: Guinea pig!
Tomorrow starts the annual eye campaign. We will treat between 3000 and 4000 patients over the next two weeks. Lot of cataract surgeries and prescription glasses will be handed out. Paul is off school, so he will help as a translator.
Allen was a good sport in getting us there, driving through interesting traffic and some pretty rough terrain (you didn’t think cities gave such? Well, where we went, mankind is just now discovering that the land is useful for living on). Allen also filled in last minute for a girl who was unexpectedly asked to work today.