Saturday, March 14, 2009

A Busy Morning!

At our weekly health clinic, we typically have about 15 patients. Most of them visit regularly. This works well for us because our desire is to build relationships with these people. It also allows us time to talk with them and help them with their blood pressure and glucose levels.

This week was a little different. When we arrived, there was already a group of people waiting. We got to work right away, taking blood pressures, checking sugar levels, and repeating the need for a healthy lifestyle. But people kept coming and coming. We found out that our partners at the Municipal Health Office had put an article in a local paper about the clinic. In the end, instead of being there for an hour, as scheduled, we were there for a busy 3 hours and served 45 patients.

It was busy. It was hectic, at times. Plastic chairs are not meant for 3 solid hours of sitting. But amidst all of these complaints, we were able to touch a lot of people. Perhaps even make some new friends as I expect many of them will return for followup in the weeks to come.

One of the things I enjoyed about yesterday was the variety of patients we saw. Normally, our patients are in their 20s - 50s. Yesterday, we had teens to hunched over little ladies with their arms tatooed from their wrist to their shoulder that were in their 80's, even 90's. Interestingly, the little old ladies rarely had a problem with their blood pressure or glucose. I suppose all those years of hard work has conditioned their bodies well - except for their teeth and their backs. Lisa did note that it took some extra work to get their finger clean prior to checking their glucose. On the other hand, one of the teens I spoke with had high blood pressure.

This clinic is different than most would be in the US. Our set-up does not allow for much patient confidentiality. The waiting patients are within a few feet of the patients we are meeting with. This allows for a certain amount of positive peer pressure for people to improve their lifestyle. For instance the teen I just mentioned. She confessed that she smoked, "sometimes". This brought some disapproving, but not condemning, comments from the elders in the "audience". It is easy to tell when there are friends in the group. When high blood pressure is identified and I talk with the patient about lifestyle modifications, their friends in the chairs will begin teasing them. It's all lighthearted and fun. Perhaps as friends, they will encourage each other to make healthy choices.


p.s. Our camera batteries were dead at the clinic, so the picture is from the Am-Among Festival in September.


  1. It's awesome how God opens doors. I pray God will bless your faithfulness to Him in this to draw people to Himself.


  2. A little advertising goes a long way in Bontoc, huh? Sounds like there will be many new friends in your life. On the other note, it goes to show you that peer pressure is so often the catalyst of behavior, it's usually cast in a bad light because we only hear about when it goes bad.