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India trip

Day 16

October 25

Slept well last night and took a nice cold shower this morning. We went and had a cup of coffee and then went to chapel where all the staff goes before they really start their day. Even though I didn't understand the words, it was mostly in Hindi, you feel the spirit of the place and the people. Anil introduced us to everyone and had Glenn say a few words. Everyone is very friendly.

We got a tour of the facility and while it would seem primitive to doctors in the US it is working here and working well. We basically went on patient rounds with Anil at first. Seeing all his different patients from the birthing area where a birth had just occurred, to ICU where there was a boy there sick from a scorpion sting, to a poor girl who had had huge infected abscess from a dirty injection from one of the quacks who then sent her somewhere else for 2 weeks and they did nothing. We also toured the rest of the facility. They have very ambitious plans and he is totally self funding. They are currently building a cancer center (very loose term, center, don't compare to anything we have. Think small brick building with screen windows, no AC but high tech equipment!). They are also working on nursing school quarters so they can house more students and expand the program. The facility here is amazing considering what they started with just 9 years ago which was pretty much nothing. Anil has really had a vision and made great strides. They even have an MRI here. He is making inroads with the people so they are coming here sooner and not as a last resort which was often too late. He is still fighting the battle of the villagers going to their local "healers" or as he calls them the quacks until they are so sick they have to come here.

They are also running a school for children ages 3-14. It is over capacity and they had to turn away about 90 children. They have a teaching staff of 21 but I am not sure of exactly how many children they have but I am thinking it is over 500. Anil took over the school fairly recently because it only had 90 students and was not supporting itself and the Bishop wanted to close it. They have building projects going on there too. All in all a very busy place. It was quieter than usual since it is festival time and Anil said people will put off coming in if at all possible till the festival is over. The kids are also out of school right now so we didn't get to see it in action.

I have just finished giving blood. They are always in need of blood and they were excited I have 0+ and was willing to give. They will not take my blood in the US because I keep traveling to place like India and Costa Rica. You have to wait so long after traveling for the US to accept your blood but here it is not a problem. They have a very hard time get the Indian people to give blood because they work hard manual labor and think it will weaken them so they can't work. Some would rather see a family member die than give blood so I was very happy I could do it.
After a bit of a rest and drinking lots of water I went down to get something to eat for lunch. They have a full time cook for the medical students and she had prepared curry for lunch. As I was eating on of the students said there is something going on in surgery and we should go see what. So I finished eating and went with her to surgery. I found Glenn was already there and suited up. I put scrubs on and a cap and mask and got to see a cesarean section and an appendectomy. Anil did the back to back and then exclaimed that this was a slow day. Usually if he is doing surgeries he will do 8 to 10 a day.

After that we went with Anil back to his office where he contacted the Chief Medical officer for the state. He was supposed to have met with him earlier but had been in surgery. So we piled in his Jeep and headed to the CMO's office. Anil was asking what he needed to do to be able to give immunizations. Right now he is not allowed which seems very ironic that they can do surgery but not give immunizations. He has to file the proper paperwork and other rather silly bureaucratic mumbo jumbo. He did the political tap dance very well.

After we got back came back to our place and called people back home. Sorry for waking you up, Laura but I knew otherwise I wouldn't get to talk to you today. I was good to connect back home even if it was early in the morning for you westerners.

A bit later every met at the area where they do maintenance for several rousing games of badmitton. It was fun even if I hadn't played since I was young. When the guys played they were cutthroat! It was fun and entertaining. We played for over an hour until it was time to go to Anil's for dinner. All the doctors, the head nurse and all the volunteer doctors-in-training plus us went to his house for dinner. We had a good time talking and singing karaoke. He had hundreds of songs in multiple languages. Everyone laughed a lot and we were there till late. So it is now 12:30 and we are just home and packing up. We will be leaving at 4:30 to drive to Raipur to the airport to catch our flight to Delhi. We are not going to clean up before because we have a hotel waiting for us for the day and we can clean up when we get there. So once again, good night! (Or good afternoon if you are reading this right after I post it!)

Posted by MaryDavis 11:44 Archived in India

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