Ninety-Nine Plus One by Sara Allerkamp

It was way past dark.  The group was exhausted.  I was exhausted!  The day had been a long one.  Ninety-nine people had come to our clinic that day in San Miguel.  I slumped down on a folding chair.  The church service had started an hour and a half earlier and now Fidencia had her Sunday School class of children singing Open the Eyes of My Heart in Spanish.I looked to the front of me then to the right and noticed Pepe, our friend, speaking to Curtis.  Curtis made eye contact with me and signaled for me to come over.

Our day had begun in La Union that morning.  Curtis was up at 4:30 AM, I was up around 6 AM, and the rest of the group began to wake up on their own between 6 and 7 AM.  We had breakfast, then a devotional.  After the devotional, we washed dishes and packed up all of our gear to make the two hour drive to San Miguel.

We arrived in San Miguel around 10:30 AM.  It was September 26th, the day was sunny, clear, and warming up by the hour. Already a dozen people were there waiting for us and a few minutes later that number had grown to two dozen.  People continued to come throughout the day.

The group went into overdrive as Robert Maycott and Martin Martinez set up the registration table with the patient’s medical records.  We took out box after box o medications and set up the pharmacy.  Cindy Taylor set up the ultrasound machine and EKG in another room. Doctors LeBlanc and Cornett pulled out their otoscopes and tongue blades and we put three chairs in each of their “offices”.  Twelve year old Mary Cornett asked for a table so that she and her ten year old brother Otto could get out their coloring books, balls, and other games that they had brought to minister to the children.

There were all types of medical complaints: muscular aches and pains, joint pains, requests for more medication for high blood pressure, diabetes, and arthritis medications. (Our pharmacy provides enough for six months at a time).  There were gynecological complaints, requests for fetal ultrasounds, gall bladder stones and other types of stomach complaints, and depression, minor surgical procedures, etc.  The group broke for a quick lunch at 2 PM then continued seeing patients until 9 PM that night.  The total number of patient contacts had been ninety-nine. 

At eight PM a church had started at Pepe and Fidencia’s front yard.  Pastors Michael Meek and Robert Maycott had gone on ahead of us.  Michael had been asked to preach and Martin Martinez had agreed to interpret for him.

By the time the rest of the group arrived, the church service was in full swing with a local Christian from a nearby village singing for the congregation in the semi-darkness.  The women and children sat in the metal chairs, most of the boys and men stood, leaning against parked trucks.  It was almost ten PM and Michael Meek was still scheduled to preach.

It was at this time that I saw Curtis signaling me to come over.  As I got there he said, “Pepe says someone has an emergency.”  Pepe looked at me and said in Spanish, “There is a lady, whose sister is sitting in the truck who got bit by an animal.”  Pepe did not know what kind of animal and my imagination saw some torn skin.  I spotted Dr. Mary Martha Leblanc sitting on a big rock at the back of the yard.  I walked up to her and repeated what Pepe had told me.

She got up and we both were led to a woman standing by a small truck.  She was in her fifties, her hair was almost bleached blond and dry.  Dr. Leblanc used her head lamp to take a better look at her.  Her lips and cheeks were swollen.  She was rubbing and scratching her left lower arm, which was red and swollen.  Her sister, who looked sunburned and tired and who had had a few alcoholic beverages did most of the talking.  Her sister had been stung by an avispa, a wasp, she told us.  It was clear to us that she was having an allergic reaction to it.  Thank God she was not having trouble breathing.

Dr. LeBlanc told them, “We have to go to our clinic.  You need some medicine.”  Curtis, Dr. Leblanc, Cindy Taylor, and I jumped into the back of the truck that her sister was driving.  This was a little scary as it was obvious that she had been drinking.  We arrived at our clinic without incident.

Dr. LeBlanc instructed me to draw up 50mg of Benadryl and administer it in the muscle.  Curtis held his flashlight so I could see what I was doing.  We also gave the lady some medication to take by mouth.  The doctor reassured her that she would be fine.  We waved as they drove away, saying, “Que Dios te bendiga,” God bless you.  My heart was touched by these two middle aged sisters living together in poverty.

Curtis looked at Dr. LeBlanc and said, “That was patient number one hundred.

I know that Christ, through us, had demonstrated compassion and care for both of the ladies.  My prayer is that the two sisters have the assurance that they are much loved by God the Father and Jesus Christ the Saviour.  We returned to the worship service, which ended at 11PM.  We all enjoyed a meal of carne con pappas (meat with potatoes), frijoles (beans) and tortillas in Pepe’s home.  We enjoyed conversation around the table with the great satisfaction of knowing that our work had touched lives.  Praise God!  Now we would get a little sleep under the big sky of the Chihuahuan desert before we travelled home.

Would you considered helping us continue this work?  Our fees from participants only cover the basic costs of each trip.  All of our other expenses are covered by private donations.  If you would like to join us on a trip, help with scholarships, or donate to our general fund, please let us know, or just click on the link on this website.San Vicente 2013 450

%d bloggers like this: