116+ Patients, 4ish Hours, Teamwork
A persistent invitation kept coming to me. To join an Indonesian team of doctors and nurses, to do a free clinic day, as an outreach ministry. Dr. Reni, a fun energetic female Papua doctor, really pursued me. Calendar checked, I agreed to join, along with “my girls” and Kathleen (our Indonesian super nurse) and Erin (Darron’s super secretary and housemate to the girls).
We met at a Adventist church in Abe. In typical fashion, we were 15 minutes late, but 45 minutes early. If you don’t understand that last sentence…….welcome to rubber time, where flexibility is more important than timeliness. People kept joining the group and gathering. Many photos were taken of us girls, with lots of people who didn’t even introduce themselves. They just kept asking for photos. We kept smiling, in missionary spirit.
In time an old bus groaned to a stop in the parking lot. Soon it was clear that we could all ride along, which beat me having to drive to near the PNG boarder. The scenery was breath taking as we left the city and clicked off miles into the country side. Vast, beautiful gardens, with ocean and mountains as the background. The old bus with seats cracked open, exposing the foam and metal, barely would make it up each steep hill. All I could do was will it up each incline with the words, “I think I can. I think I can. I think I can.”
In time, we arrived. To an Adventist church in Koia. There was already clear evidence of much work going ahead of us in preparation. As shade tents had been pitched for patients and workers. Tables were set out and it was all organized. A patient waiting area. A triage section. A lab. An area to meet with the Doctors. A med station and FREE FOOD.
The girls would be in the lab section. Testing blood glucose, cholesterol and uric acid levels. Erin was with them as translator. I worked with Kathleen most of the time in triage. Taking histories and doing blood pressures, and vital signs. I did most of the blood pressure part and absorbed thousands of Indonesian medical words. Great language day!!!! When I felt I could, I slipped around to all the stations and observed it all. I would estimate that at least 50% (but probably closer to 75% of the blood pressures) were high.
The patients were already waiting when we arrived. Villagers from every age and back ground. Young, old. It was heart warming to be with them. I loved the beauty of their faces and their laughter.
In 4ish hours over 116 patients were seen. Over 6 doctors came and donated their time, along with many nurses. Blood levels were checked until they ran out of test strips on some of the tests. Everyone was fed. What a beautiful ministry. “Everybody doing a little part”, says Dr. Reni.
I was so blessed to be a tiny part of this team. I’m looking forward to the next time we go and growing with this amazing team. I arrived home after a 9 hour day out. Nathaniel’s lungs were full of wheezes as I put my stethoscope to his chest. Time to be Mommy again.