Dominican Republic


           Our last day…  We had just had a wonderful morning playing baseball with over 200 kids and six baseball players from the States (Cleveland Indians and Cincinnati Reds to name a few teams).  Several members of our medical team had been on another trip where they built this beautiful “Field of Dreams” for children living in a poverty-stricken community near Moca, a suburb of Santiago.  We set up our clinic in the new Child Development Center that was built alongside the ball field and planned on seeing the 200+ kids that afternoon.  We had become comfortable in our routine, our ability to stay organized and run things smoothly.  In addition, we were all tired.  It had been a physically and mentally challenging week.  After seeing all the comparably healthy kids running around the fields this morning, I thought today was going to be a piece of cake.  The yogi in me should have recognized that this was pure ego.  According to Wayne Dyer “ego is simply an idea of who you are that you carry around with you.”  The hard part is letting go of your ego and being present in the moment.  And ego will always, always get in your way.  We were low on interpreters, no problem.  We changed the flow of the clinic after we set up, no worries.  We didn’t have the parents to provide information for the physical exams or medication counseling, no big deal.  All these twists and turns were easily managed and alternative solutions were found.  But about five minutes into the clinic, one of our interpreters had an epileptic seizure.   As always, the team responded quickly.  We shut down the clinic and dealt with the situation.  We soon learned that he had a history of epilepsy and was on medication.  Arrangements to transport him to the hospital were made, relatives were called, the team pulled together.  For me, this situation was like getting a glass of water in the face reminding us why we were there.  It was about addressing the needs of every one of those children.  It was about letting go of our ego and giving ourselves to these beautiful children. 

We restarted the clinic.  I was working with the Director of the project and she knew each and everyone of the kids by face and name.  I was amazed at the depth of her love for these kids, and in return, by the amount of respect that they had for her.  For this woman, and all the people at this project, it was totally about the kids.  She brought me back to being who I was and not what I was.  At the end of the day, we saw a woman and her son with fresh second and third degree burns from getting caught in a fire when their home burned down.  The boy was burnt on the top of his head and the woman was burned all over her forearm.  Luckily that was the extent of the burns… it could have been so much worse.  Our doctors were amazing with them.  They treated them as best as they could with our limited supplies.  I even got to try my hand at compounding a topical lidocaine preparation for them to use on the burn.  As we were closing down the pharmacy, my good friend (and amazing photographer) Sandey told me to look out the window at the kids on the front lawn.  There was a table of volunteers playing “makeup” with a group of beautiful little girls.  One girl had a head full of curlers and was giving attitude while posing for the camera.  That little girl (and Sandey) pulled me back to who I am and not what I am.  It was a wonderful moment and a nice way to end our last clinic of the week.  I am humbled by these kids.  I am honored to be considered part of this team of amazing healthcare workers.  As always, I am thankful for all that I have and all that I don’t have.  I love you all and will see you tomorrow.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

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