Saturday, June 19, 2010

Heart Problems, Tingana and Parties

I vow to never let myself get atherosclerosis (if I can help it).

These last couple weeks we've been working with a new group of students from the University of Rochester Medical School. There are 5 girls and 2 guys who have come to do a study of the population. There are 3 studies: cardiovascular health, prostate health and cervical cancer detection (or health, I guess?). Anyway, most mornings and afternoons they hang out at the municipal building and take blood pressure, height, weight, waist size (in girth units) and then they have them fill out the surveys.
Dr. Vasquez gave us some education on a certain case of artherosclerosis. A guy came in with a chest x ray that showed an enlarged heart and a wall of plaque on his aorta. I remember seeing some of those huge hearts in the anatomy lab, and Dr. Vasquez says a normal heart should only occupy 1/3 of the chest cavity, as seen from a chest x ray. After talking to the gentleman he told us his doctor told him to change his diet and lifestyle years ago, but he didn't want to.
The sad thing is that tests like x-rays, mammograms and pap smears are all free here, but nobody in the "hospital" in Yantalo knows how to read any of these tests.
On a happier note, the clinic construction continues on schedule. Dr. Vasquez's hope is to have the first phase of the clinic all up and running in 1 year. They will start treating patients while they finish the second phase.
On Saturday we went to an amazing place called Tingana. This is a small stream that feeds into the Mayo river and we took a canoe up to a lodge and then went up the river to see the jungle in a way I've never seen before. There were monkeys and tropical birds. It was rad.
That night was the doctor's last night in Moyobamba with us so he invited us over to his hotel in Moyobamba and we had a band come play for us. Dr. Vasquez is 75 years old but he still knows how to cut a rug! It was really fun but I was dead tired.
Church was good, as always. I don't know if I mentioned this, but they have called me to serve in the young men's presidency! Cool huh? Anyway, we are working with 7 or 8 young men and trying to get them all active in church. We've already had an activity with them and we had 7 in attendance! :)
This is a special time. I just realized the other day that I'm halfway through this trip and I have a lot more I would like to do. I feel like the key to the work I do here is SUSTAINABILITY. I want my work to have a sustained impact, and I think by collaborating with the teachers to teach Physiology and English, spending time with the kids and making long lasting friendships I'll be able to have that impact.
Starla and I stayed up late talking about agency, among other things. There is so much to do and we will be most useful as we use our powers for good and influence others for the same. The scripture we discussed comes from 2 Nephi 9:51
"Wherefore, do not spend money for that which is of no worth, nor your labor for that which cannot satisfy. Hearken diligently unto me, and remember the words which I have spoken; and come unto the Holy One of Israel, and feast upon that which perisheth not, neither can be corrupted, and let your soul delight in fatness."

1 comment:

  1. Caleb, You are amazing! I love hearing about all your adventures. Hey, you even look like a doctor in that last pic. Love you!