Sunday On Call


In the morning just as services started I went to the hospital to check on a little boy I admitted to the hospital on Saturday afternoon. The 2 year old was born 12 weeks premature and spent several months in the NICU in Cuzco before being discharged. This is his second hospitalization at Diospi Suyana Hospital, both times for pneumonia which is a common occurrence due to the chronic lung disease that many premature babies suffer from. While there I rounded on my other hospitalized patients, and made it to church in time for the sermon. I walked home with the girls and took this photograph as we arrived to have a picture of our house. Behind those walls is a courtyard and our house is L-shaped with the two wings you see in front of you. In those two branches of the L you have our kitchen, living room, and three bedrooms moving left to right. None of the doors you see on the right side actually open, as there is just adobe wall behind them. You can imagine each of our three bedrooms behind each door, with a opening on the opposite side of the room to our courtyard. Our bathrooms are located in the courtyard.


Just as Allison left to go run some errands, I got a call from the emergency room saying a man had a possible fracture. The hospital taxi was sent to carry me. This farmer had been celebrating with friends with some of his favorite beverages, and he had fallen backward and presented to the ER with a lot of pain in his wrist. It was not too deformed, but it sure appeared suspicious for a fracture, and so I called in our on call radiology technician. Juvenal came in, and gave me the information I needed. Wrist fracture. (As an aside, Juvenal is getting married this weekend. He is a super helpful guy in the hospital. Totally cool in the American sense of coolness. He rides a bike up a mountain like most of us go downhill. He can really fly!)


After x-rays it was off to the casting room. I sent Juvenal home, and the nurses and I applied this splint. We cannot put a full cast yet, because he is going to keep swelling for the next couple days. He felt a lot better after getting the fracture stabilized. Working in the farm is going to be a little bit more difficult for the next couple months. I showed him his picture after I took it and told him he was still “guapo”! I think he felt better, and his tipsy friend though it was hilarious.


Now time to go home. Our friendly neighborhood hospital guard (or vigilante in Spanish) let me enjoy the passenger side seat for a quick lift home. This young man is very happy to be working at Diospi Suyana Hospital. He told me as we drove through Curahuasi how it gives him great pleasure to be at the gate to help the people who have come from so far away. I like him because he is always smiling. Not all of our guards like to smile. Like Buddy the Elf says “Smiling is my favorite!”


Just as I arrived home we headed out the door again to attend an evening English-speaking church service that another American family sponsors on Sunday nights. Not surprisingly, I was called away during church to see a baby with fever. It seems like I am always called out of church. After treating the baby I made it home again, this time in my own car just in time to meet family and friends for a Taco soup dinner. The kids did presentations on different musical composers they have been studying as after dinner entertainment. Did you know that according to legend, Mozart, during his wifes labor, was holding her hand with his left while writing music with his right?. We cleaned up afterward and then it was off to the hospital again to spend the night. During the night I treated another baby with fever, a woman with an acute gallbladder, and another woman whose face was acutely swollen. In the morning I came home, showered, and then headed back to the hospital for yesterday’s clinic patients. That was a full 48 hours! Glad I got to sleep last night!


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