sábado, 23 de enero de 2010

Pealing back the layers (12/26/09)

So a recent night, a few nights ago- it had a nice kick to it, or rather a strange kick to it…

We were to have a last hooray for the medical personnel of CLASS (Comité Local de los Servicios de Salud) Agallpampa - this is inclusive to the health post of our area, Mache. After the beginning of 2010, CLASS Agallpampa will become decentralized with the division into 4 new CLASSes (one in Mache where I live, and one in Carabamba, Agallpampa, and Salpo). Simply put, this signifies the medical management of the different posts will become more localized. Anyway, all the health post personnel gathered at this Christmas party in Agallpampa. However, we were late, because of a few medical emergencies, including a birth scare and an elderly woman running a high fever of 40oC. When she first came in, well, was carried in, she couldn’t speak, couldn’t move – nothing – she was just barely physically present. The nurse gave her a shot of… can’t remember what it was, and slowly, bit by bit, she started gaining her consciousness and movement back. It was rather incredible. Our health post was running late for this social engagement, so we climbed into the back of our ‘ambulance’ (a truck with a covered bed) to lower down to Agallpampa. We also were taking the elderly woman back home with her worried son and daughter-in-law, preferring that she stay at the health post to be monitored – although, the health personnel had decided to leave. She was hoisted into the back of the ambulance to lie on a mattress that’s always kept there, and really had no means to stabilize herself on the bumpy ride. She was rather filthy – her clothes, skin, and hair, and sadly, the first human response was to not want to touch her. But, ignoring this, I took her head in my lap, providing her some stability so she wouldn’t bounce around so much. Stroking her head, I could feel her fragility and uneven breathing. I felt a real comfort holding her in my lap and was hoping she would be able to recuperate. Dropping her off, an older man raised her onto his back to carry her home into the cold.

Being brought to this party, I had no idea what I was getting myself into – hmmm, sounds familiar. It really was awkward at the beginning. We just sat around these tables at the perimeter of the room, with a couple of cooked turkeys just sitting there, and we waited for other health post personnel, also late, because of some health emergencies they were also attending to. They ended up arriving around 11pm and we finally ‘started’ the party – they don’t start until everyone is there. We started with Secret Santa gifts – each of us were assigned a person (and a lot of us didn’t know each other), and one by one, there were over 70 of us, we had to announce and give our gifts. This took forever and again, was just awkward. We finally were served a little bit of turkey, Panetone (oh my gosh, I am so sick of Panetone), and sweetened hot chocolate for dinner. This was proceeded by another small gift that was given by CLASS Agallpampa to the health personnel – each person was listed, one by one, to receive this gift, even though it was the same gift bag. Ah, tedious. Coming into about 1:30, 2 am in the morning, Megan and I left to crash at another volunteer’s place (Pablo), who, thank goodness, lives in Agallpampa. Waking at 6 am, we returned to the ‘party’ to find that our ambulance driver was intoxicated and unable to drive, and was drinking with a few of the doctors. The health personnel of Mache (a couple of obstetrices and a nurse had crashed in the back of the ambulance). Megan and I said screw it, and we just started dancing with those left at the party. Finally, at 8:30-9 am, we were able to leave and ascend back up to Mache. What a party.

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