A talk with one of the nurses who helps to run the pharmacy on the Fauche campus stressed the need for good health education.
Her health issues include: high blood pressure, diabetes, arthritic pain, and itchy skin. She shared with us the burden of buying her own blood sugar monitor, the test strips, insulin, and broccoli.
She tried to follow her Haitian doctor's instructions-checking her blood sugars every day, wearing shoes, eating broccoli...but soon ran out of strips, and unable to refrigerate the expensive broccoli, it spoiled.
Reminds me of professors talking in medical school about asking patients about barriers to care..in this case..money. Being able to afford to see the doctor and buy some of the items I think made her forget to check the Konsey books for advice.
Better to spread the test strips out to once every 2-3 days to avoid running out, or at least have a few left to check one's blood sugar when not feeling well than follow a well-meaning doctor's advice to check daily.
Better to use one's money to raise or purchase locally grown vegetables, fruits or tree leaves than to pay expensive prices for an imported vegetable you don't know how to use.
Even better-plant the chaya bush starts from Cory and grow your own green veggies.
Better to try some home remedies for itchy skin that persists despite medical treatment than suffer doing nothing.
Better to learn to use aloe gel and massage to ease the pain than to suffer with only occasional relief when pain medications can be purchased.
Better to learn how to reduce stress, make better nutritional choices, improve resistance to illnesses, and prevent sores/illness than to have to go for expensive tests and treatments.
So we chatted a while about practical ways she can help to manage her problems and she received chaya starts that same day.
A few days later I headed down and talked to the doctor who was very understanding. But I felt I needed to do more and so this week I've started walking down to clinic and chatting with the patients waiting to be seen.
Both days so far I've enjoyed connecting with people and talking about ways to improve and protect their health. The first day a few people arrived after I'd discussed helpful information for acid reflux, so I asked a young teen who already heard my talk to give some advice.
His detailed answer showed how well he listened. The young doctor walked by yesterday on his way to see patients and enthusiastically noted how helpful my talking to patients could be for their health.
I'd gotten discouraged in the last few years trying to connect with a couple different groups of people but I think this could really work!
Health issues already motivated these people to spend money on health care and they really don't have anything better to do while waiting... a motivated, captive audience! They return home with new, practical information that can treat their problems and help them avoid other problems. Win, win.