The first day at Hoa Hai Medical Clinic is over. The medical team did very well, perhaps performing their best to date, and I had absolutely nothing to do with it.
“Dear Leader” as I am affectionately called (Not really but it sounds good) has been given a light duty chit and confined to quarters. I’ve been holed up in my hotel room going on five days. I picked-up a nasty bug from one of the patients, and Dr. Bill says I have a bad case of Bronchitis. Throw in a virus that first went to my head on Thursday, as well as a little stomach trouble to boot on Saturday, and I can say it was certainly an enjoyable three days off this past weekend (Not). Oh well, enough complaining, it’s better to suffer at the Furama in Da Nang than the Nghia Nge in A Luoi.
At yesterday’s morning devotion/meeting, Joette informed the team that they would have to “Pick it up” because I wouldn’t be there. She told them they knew what to do after four days of clinic the previous week, so they should do it when they got to Hoa Hai. And that is exactly what security, van drivers, triage, pharmacy and the patient examiners did.
They were up and running in minutes, as each team member did their part. Joette reported the entire team was functioning and processing patients in less than fifteen minutes. That’s really amazing when you think about it, and a genuine compliment to everyone of them!
The estimate is that they saw 169 patients. I knew it had to be over 150 because Joette didn’t walk into our room until 6:15 p.m. last night and they were at work by 8:00 a.m. While they gave medicines and personal hygiene items to the patients as well as canes, walkers, crutches and wheelchairs to the poor,
including one motorized and a self-propelled three wheeled cart, the most satisfying service focused on two children and a teenager.
On Wednesday two children will be in the hospital for heart surgery, and one of those can be considered life-saving. The Mother of the little girl was brought to tears when told VWAM would sponsor her procedure, an operation that has been put on hold for two years because of no money. The Father practically jumped for joy with the news!
Then there was the 13 year-old girl who asked for “Eye vitamins” which was an odd request. After asking a few questions, it was learned she thought vitamins would help her to see better. When asked why, she said her glasses were broken. Embarrassingly she finally admitted her parents didn’t have the money for new ones, so vitamins would have to do. Here is how this works.
Chinh explained to the patient that VWAM would like to get her a new pair of glasses. What she had to do was go to an eye doctor, get a prescription, then pick out a pair to her liking, and pay for it. Yes, come up with the money somehow, someway. Usually they borrow from a friend or other family member, bring the receipt back to us, and we reimburse them. That’s one of the ways you can assure the funds are spent properly. Sometimes this is a subjective call, however, and I defer to Chinh’s advice. If he thinks they can’t come up with the money, we give it to them. Often we’ll have the clinic manager or director tell them they have to come back with the eyeglasses and the receipt. So, Joette gave her a “budget,” and off she went. In two hours she returned with a pair of stylish, cute eyeglasses, on one very happy teenage girl!
Ecclesiastes Chapter 4 was lived out yesterday by this team. In verse 9 it reads, “Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their work.” That’s what this team did yesterday; they got a good return for their work. The patients above are proof of that truth.
Then there is verse 12B same chapter, “A cord of three strands is not easily broken.”
I thank the Lord for my multiple three strands: Joette, Chinh and Quyen; Sue, Jakie and Nathan in Pharmacy; Ron, Jim and Earl upstairs Security; Larry, Duc and Tuan downstairs Security; Sue, Kevin and Cyndi in Triage; my team coordinators Steve in Triage, Clay in Security, and Duc in Transportation; patient examiners Dr. Bill, Marianna and Jessica; and, of course, our translators.
“If one falls down, his friend can help him up. But pity the man who falls and has no one to help him up!” (Verse 10, Chapter 4). No need to pity me, I’ve been picked up…
Chuck Ward iL (Alias “Dear Leader”), Da Nang, Vietnam