Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Illness and Poverty!

Friends and Family,
Over Holy Week and still today one of our young diabetics has been in our in patient ward. Catarina is 18 years old and lives with her parents and six siblings. She has only third grade primary education; she is illiterate. Her father works for less than minimal wage as a chauffer for transport between communities. Catarina is severely malnourished, which complicates her diabetes. Her dad believes the disease is from witch craft, making more difficult compliance in medication and diet. Today when I asked Catarina what she ate at home, she responded, sometimes just tortilla, as at times we have no food in the house. Tortillas, made from corn, are high in carbohydrate and must be minimal in the diet and combined with other foods for a diabetic diet.

When she arrived at the clinic last Wednesday, she had shortness of breath, cough, and severe ear infection, dehydration and a glucose of over 500. She had not used insulin for ten days. The clinic was closed but I admitted her and consulted our doctor; she is still with us today. She responded well to diet, intravenous fluid, antibiotic, insulin and rest. I would like her to stay for an extended period, if I can convince her of the importance. Her sister stays with her and other family members visit her. Friday is Diabetic Club in our clinic and for me it is important that she attend. One cannot give up on these patients. The cultural beliefs, the poverty, complicate the control of this disease. Please pray for these young patients that they heal and enjoy life as meant to be. Thank You!

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Diocese of Helena
Guatemala Mission
PO Box 1729
Helena, MT
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