Family and Friends,
In the sixties when we opened our clinic, parasites was one of our main diagnosis. People did not wear shoes, so hook worm was common. Potable water was almost non existent in the mountain villages, higiene a real challenge, so many different species of worms were present. Bloated stomachs, diarrhea and abdominal pain were very common in children. Our diagnostic lab was mostly symptomatic in those years, although early on we did have a small antique microscope and our pormotors and we the nurses were able to diagnose the different eggs of parasites. We would go out to the villages with gallons of worm medicine and all the chiildren got a dose.
Times have change. We have an excellent doctor, a very good diagnostic laboratory. Everyone wear shoes, although usually the plastic sandals; most villages do have access to water, though poorly maintained, contaminated systems. Out door letrines, out houses, would be more common, although many of the poor still lack this human necessity in some villages. Parasites still do exist. Amoebas are probably the most common intestinal parasite diagnosed in our clinic laborartory; ascaris, round worm, is still present in small children, but not that common. Ascaris is the parasite that can still cause havoc for a child; it can cause much abdominal pain, nausea, and diarrhea, when worms multiply in the intestinal system.
Friday, a seven year old child arrived to our emergency room; her name is Wendy, certainly not a common Mayan name. She was weak and crying with abdominal pain. Other acute diagnosis were eliminated and the laboratory confirmed ascaris. The child was admitted to our clinic and hydration and pain meds administered by our doctor and antiparasitic medication. With the pain medication the abdominal cramping became less intense and she was able to sleep at intervals. She has had to stay the weekend and our doctor will stop by today, even though it is Sunday. She has expelled a few of the parasites. The parents are with her twenty four hours, caring for her every need. In the absence on weekends of our clinic workers, I provide the meals for her parents and the medications and care for her. She is one of nine children and the father, like most field workers, is unemployed. When he arrived, he told me immediately, he had no money. This is not the issue for us though reality is our clinic is having economic issues with more and more charity patients. In this instance we will have the father work in our garden next week for a few days to pay for medication and in patient costs. We rely on our friends and support for our Mission to help us help others! THANK YOU!!
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Attached is a photo of Wendy and her mom and COCO, my dog. Wendy is much improved with intermittent pain and eating a bit. The doctor may request an ultra sound if pain is not gone tomorrow.
Diagnosis by Ultrasound also showed HEPATITIS. Parasites also still a diagnosis. . Wendys ultrasound cost to clinic was sixty dollars. Thank you for your help to cure WENDY.