Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Village Doctor

When I started taking my pre-requisites for nursing school almost 20 years ago, never did I imagine doing what I am doing now. As many times as I've told the small village where I work that I'm a their eyes it doesn't matter. I'm "Doctora Teresa" (I use my middle name - Teresa is so common here - Erin - not). Nursing is what I wanted to do - I wanted to spend time with people, listen to their needs and problems, be an ear or a shoulder to cry on. That's what I did. I was good at it. I worked mostly in pediatric oncology, so I had a LOT of opportunity to do it.

Now - people come to me with normal stuff - aches, pains, parasites, wounds that need cleaning, ear infections, high blood pressure, diabetes. I've had to stretch myself. I've had to become something more than what I am. I'm not afraid to say, "I don't know" and direct them somewhere else. I'm also not afraid to tell them like it is. There is almost zero patient education here. Last week one of our workers had a mild stroke. He went to the doctor and they did not do any immediate care - they gave him ibuprofen and an antibiotic and sent him on his way. When I asked him what the doctor told him to do he said "He told me to take these pills." Nothing else? I asked? "No." So, I devised a simple change of lifestyle for him - AND his family - will be monitoring his blood pressure and blood sugar (both of which were high), and try and get him on a path of wellness.  But I did tell him - you don't change - you will die from this.

This is what my "job" is now. Meeting people at their level. Being the village doctor. Praying with and for them. Educating young pregnant mothers in how to live a healthy pregnancy and have a safe/healthy baby. Loving them as a whole.

Wound care of a sweet lady that comes every week to see me
Last week a young woman came to see me. She had a fairly bad urinary tract infection. She had already been to the doctor and had received medication - but she admitted that she stopped taking it because it made her feel "weak". After almost 30 minutes of conversation, some loving, then some severe lecturing - I stopped. Sat back, and told her, "I love this community, I love the people here, and am grateful that you came by today. But the only way to help you is if you help yourself. You must care for your body. You must have more than 1 glass of fluids in a day. You must eat vegetables. And you MUST take your medication." She looked at me so perplexed - I don't think anyone had ever told her that she has the ability to take control of her life and has the ability to be proactive in her health. Then I prayed with her, I kissed her on the cheek, and gave her some more medication with a promise that she would drink more water and take her meds.

Taking care of these precious ones...
So...Doctora Teresa I am. Helping with the physical and spiritual ailments of the community, and loving on people. What a privilege.

And this precious one

No comments: