Today seemed to be wheel-chair day. Four wheel-chars were assembled by our drivers Duc and Tuan. They can put one together of these things in about twenty minutes. I used to assign team members to the task, but they took longer, sometimes up to forty minutes. So, a couple of years ago, the van drivers asked if they could do it, and the rest is history.
One Hundred and Fifty-Nine (159) patients were seen today. The team arrived at eight this morning and the Patient Examiners and Pharmacy left at 6:30 this evening. Triage and Security/Patient Movers were finished with their duties about an hour and a half earlier. In addition to wheel-chairs, three walkers, four canes and one crutch were given away during the day. Also, many children were given a stuff animal along with toothbrushes, toothpaste and vitamins. Adult’s received creams, lotions, shampoos and other personal hygiene items including toothbrush/paste, and vitamins.
Those of you following the Blog have asked me about our patients, and their stories. During the course of the day, VWAM saw former ARVN (Army of the Republic of South Vietnam) as well as former VC (Viet Cong) and NVA (North Vietnamese Army) who were actually called PAVN (People’s Army of Vietnam). These veterans relate well to the vets on the team. It’s kind of an unspoken Brotherhood.
Then you have civilians who suffered loss of limbs due to mines either theirs or ours, but it doesn’t matter. We had one family today who were not allowed to participate in the healthcare offered at their local clinic because they are “Believer’s in a Foreign Religion.” The women we mentioned in the previous Blog post, the victim of spousal abuse, returned this morning with one of her children. Many poor people came today, and the majority of them were elderly. But I noticed something quite interesting about some of these Papa and Mama Sans. Many still had a twinkle in their eyes.
Yes, we saw the older generation today and believe me, what stories they can tell about the war! Several of them spoke to us as they were leaving. The most common phrase was, “You numba’ 1’” a very common remark some four to five decades ago. They went out of their way to thank us, and express their appreciation. And it was nice to see them taking care of each other, and getting on the back of a motorbike driven by a young granddaughter or grandson to take them home after seeing our team. Here hth younger generation and adult children take care of their parents. No nursing homes here.
Chuck in Hoa Quy