Medical Clinics: Impacting more than the patients
Submitted by Jewelie Grape ~ St. Andrews Church, Mahtomedi, MN
January 25th – February 1st, 2014
I didn’t have the pleasure of seeing the West Haven Home for Children and J’Bode teams work their magic, but I certainly did see the medical team work theirs! Here are my observations from my first-ever Mission Jamaica trip.
The setup: Four large plastic crates and various other bags and containers stuffed full of medical supplies and medications. Add one doctor, five nurses and a hodgepodge of us who knew nothing about the medical field, and you have the Mission Jamaica mobile medical clinic.
The results: 297 patients seen at 4 sites; 77 at St. John’s Methodist Church on Monday, 96 in Copse on Tuesday, 83 in Burnt Savannah on Wednesday, and 41 hotel staff on Thursday morning. The oldest patient was 94, and the youngest was under a year old. Women, men and children – some in desperate need of medicine, others in desperate need of a prayer and feeling loved.
What will I remember? The goodness of the people on the Mission Jamaica team. The stamina of one doctor seeing almost 100 patients in one day – with a smile on his face every time I saw him. The patience of the people waiting – standing or sitting on benches or chairs until it was their turn to see the doctor. No one complained about the time it took, the lines, or the heat. I will remember the caring manner of the nurses as they did intake and identified the needs of those waiting. But most of all, I will remember the looks of gratitude on the faces of some patients after they saw the doctor. One lady told me that she immediately felt better just by talking to the doctor. Others told us they knew they should be taking medication daily, but couldn’t afford to – and expressed heartfelt thanks for something that I (at the beginning of the trip) considered trivial – a month’s supply of blood pressure medication or vitamins or even a toothbrush.
Thinking about my trip on the way home, I was struck by the fact that no matter how much you think you give, you always receive so, so much more. During the week, I was reminded time and time again of the preciousness of life, the importance of feeling cared for, and the interdependence of us all. It made me think of how few material things we need to be truly happy and the importance of friends, and family, and feeling loved. The week was a perfect example of God’s grace and love for all his children.