Today we travelled about an hour to “Whispering Hope,” another clinic in a somewhat remote village near Trujillo. The trip there was interesting. After we got off the 29 mile dirt road that leads to Limon, we travelled a road that had more potholes than pavement. Along the way we saw plenty of small shanties, and even a few mud houses with thatched rooves. But nestled in among them all was the mansion surrounded by high concrete walls topped with rolled barbed wire. One has to wonder about the livelihood of the owner.
We saw something less than 100 patients. That’s a full day for the three doctors and for the pharmacy staff. Triage doesn’t take quite the same amount of time. I had a few down moments to talk to some of the younger guys on this trip. I asked Julian, 15, if he was contemplating a medical career. “Maybe,” he said. So I reframed the question. “If you could wave a magic wand and pick out anything you could do with your life, what would it be?” “He perked up a bit. “Anything?,” he asked. “Anything!,” I answered. With a wry smile, he said, “I’d be a drummer in a classic rock band.” Well, I asked.
Triage and “the lab” shared the same space. Pierce was the lab technician, which means he was essentially processing cups of urine all day (for diabetes, pregnancy tests, etc.). He tried to keep his game face on, but this clearly wasn’t his cup of tea (forgive that metaphor in this context). I tried to be humorous and helpful. “Well,” I said, “consider this an exercise in figuring out which areas of the medical field interest you and which don’t.” He smiled. “That might be the best way to look at this,” he said.
When we returned, the wind was substantial and the surf was pounding. I took the opportunity to have a long walk. There is something extraordinary about isolation along the beach in those conditions. The experience talk out loud to the Father, knowing that heavy wind and waves make it so He is the only one who can hear me, lends itself to a certain kind of honesty. I need that more often in my life.
I enjoyed conversation tonight with Gabriel, a doctor from Hilton Head. He’s here with his son Pierce, who is a senior in HS contemplating a medical career. Gabriel is also an adventurer and his face lights up when he recounts the stories of his travels. He’s also adventuresome in a philosophical sort of way. He likes to explore deeper questions, looking for answers to some of the bigger problems of life, and he listens intently when others are offering their ideas. He’s an extremely affable, likeable guy, and I think it’s this inquisitive quality that makes him so.