Saturday, June 2, 2012


A quiet Saturday; errands to do in the neighboring town.  The sisters have visitors.  I decided I wanted to get away a day from work and the Mission, and maybe lunch at the beach.  I invited my Patient, Diego Tunay.  Diego is 20 years old, insulin dependent diabetic for two years, and profoundly malnourished. He has recovered from diabetic induced cataracts; our visiting opftalmologists from the North West,  removed the second cataract in April.  When he came for his surgery he had a glucose of 598, profound diarrhea and malnutrition.  I decided to treat him and admit him to our infirmary until he recovered. He had been a chronic patient that always relapsed. He weighed 59 pounds.  After seven weeks he weighs 65 pounds and has had a few bouts of diarrhea.  He has returned to his afternoon classes; he is in a career of Industrial art and construction grafting. Diego will graduate this November.  He hopes to continue his study in arts and crafts.  He is very talented in working with bamboo and small weaving crafts and finds it very productive and enjoyable.

Today when I went to lunch with Diego at the Beach, about two hours from the mission, I discovered a little more about his person.  Delightfully he sang some songs and chatted most of the journey. He told me about his family; his parents and three older siblings, his school life and his interests.

Diego is from a very poor family, who live in a one room home with a dirt floor, in a neighborhood near our town.  Recently his dad almost lost this very small dwelling and piece of land because of a loan he took and could not pay and had given the deed of the property as collateral.  This is a very common tragedy here as the poor do not understand interest and Banks and individuals take advantage of their lack of understanding and many do lose their land.

His father borrowed 40,000 thousand quetzales, equivalent to about $5,000. His father works three days a week, slaughtering animals for meat sold in the local market.  He had paid very little of this debt and after 2 years the lawyer who loaned the money to his dad gave him thirty days to pay 100,000 quetzales, more than double the amount borrowed, or he would lose his land and humble home to this lawyer.  His dad had borrowed the money to buy some animals and hopefully make a productive business, but it did not work out.  He was about to lose the land when a cousin, working in the United states, offered to buy the land and property at 100,000 quetzales and allow the family to continue to live there.  A bargain but a grave injustce of the lawyer!  His parents are happy now, secure in their humble home.  They are also happy that Diego continues staying in the clinic and is healing from malnourishment and his diabetes and diet are well controlled.  He often goes home during recess time of his classes to visit his mom.

A delightful saturday afternoon; I returned rested.  Thank You Diego for sharing your story with me.

Attached are a picture of Diego between two visiting Montana State University students, who are also 20 years old!  Diego with his Mom and Nurse following his cataract surgery; and today at the Beach!