Team Uganda Clinic Day 3

Dec. 13, 2019

So I’m the old lady in our One World Health outreach cohort. At nearly 67, I’m 3x older than our youngest member. It was intimidating putting myself in the midst of this energetic crowd but this is the time of my life to start on some great explorations. So here I am in Uganda, amidst all this young energy and it has been a wonderful experience.

I have no medical experience so I help register the patients at the start of our day and distribute and instruct them how to take their meds once they complete their visit. The kids are always beautiful here but my favorite talks are with the elders. Like so many of us in the elder generation, they come looking for solutions to fix their ailing older bodies – knees and backs that always ache, dry eyes that feel like they are full of sand, high blood pressure, aching bellies. So I like showing them how to use the lubricating eye drops for their first time. I tell them this is one of the first things I do each morning and they seem amazed and appreciative. I roll up my pants leg to show them the huge scar on my knee from replacement surgery and tell them the ibuprofen they’ve been given is my best friend and will help them as well. They are surprised, giving big genuine smiles. We have made a connection. And I ache because they also have malaria, and so much more, and I am a marshmallow compared to these stately beautiful souls. This week has been and continues to be a life lesson in humility that I will never forget.

+ Marty Monroe, Non Medical Volunteer, Georgia

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So today and yesterday had its challenges and joys. As one of the providers, I sometimes get tunnel vision. I see malaria, dysentery, chronic pain and a multitude of health problems. I realize how blessed we are and I struggle with the inequality of the world. I do believe we are making a difference. It’s not just the medicine. For instance, I love seeing the people in the prayer tent waiting on their prescriptions. What a joy to see the people with their new sunglasses and readers. What a difference a soccer ball makes! There is a lot of laughter and joy here as well.

As always, every day one or two clients stand out in my mind and today was no exception. I saw a mother and her child with the chief complaint of “can’t walk or talk”. I suspected she had Cerebral Palsy. In addition to having malaria, she was severely malnourished. The joy of the encounter for me was not the prescription of coartem I could give her. It was reassuring her that OneWorld Health was going to be able to follow her now, and she will get PT/OT and nutritional counseling at the medical center. Her mother has carried her for eleven years and hopefully, now she can procure a wheelchair as well. I realized, through the help of my amazing interpreter, that this mother thought she was somehow responsible for why her daughter couldn’t walk or talk. Being able to explain to her that this was not her fault, and there were ways to make her life better made what seemed to be a dire situation hopeful. I am always amazed when I come here what OneWorld Health has accomplished in such a relatively short time. I always get so much more out of the trip than I give. All the people on this team, as well as the local partners here, are amazing and a blessing to work with.

+ Shannon Hussey, Dermatology NP, South Carolina

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