On the first day, an elderly man who lived across from Don Mateo’s house came up to the group. He had mentioned that he was prescribed a blood pressure medication by a doctor from neighboring Jinotega, but had lost the instructions on his required dosage per day. Rachel, a registered nurse, knew that this medication was dependent on his specific BP, and the prescription could be really varied depending on the person.
So the next day we brought BP cuffs and made a visit. The man’s daughter, who takes care of her father in her home with her own two daughters and husband, greeted us at the door. Her watery eyes exposed the worry she had for her father’s well being. The father recounted his story of traveling miles to a consultation at the closest hospital, where he was prescribed a host of drugs for his serious heart issues.
When Rachel took a look at the bag that held all of his prescriptions, she was shocked at the disarray the medication was in. It was hard to tell which medicine was daily, and what was over the counter. This shock quickly turned to care. From there Rachel took over, taking the man’s blood pressure to figure out that dosage, but additionally organized his other medicine. It was remarkable to see the distinct difference in how much easier it will be from him now to know what medication to take, and when to take it.
This trip to the elderly man’s house showed a different side to the entire brigade we rarely get to see. It was a bittersweet experience in that we believe we helped figure out a family’s long term plan of action for their sick but proud patriarch, but we can’t help wonder how many others could use help like this. Even through all that, including the tears of a daughter whose love for her father’s health was overwhelming and stressful, we could tell a difference had been made. On the second day of the public health brigades, we truly experienced the entire holistic side of our efforts.