"Last month, my husband Lee and I had the privilege of serving at the clinic in Patchakan. I started writing my original blog on the return flight from Belize and was nearly finished, when, as luck would have it, the computer battery died. Then LIFE hit when the plane landed in Indianapolis. Busy, busy once again. When people ask how my trip was, how can I summarize all that happened in a few sentences? Impossible. I have formulated my "elevator story", that which can be told in less than a minute, to give others a glimpse of our trip, but it still doesn't give it justice.
I can share that the Belizean medical needs are not so different from those in North America. I saw diabetes, HTN, sinusitis, depression, and vomiting kids, just like a typical day in the States. There were also cancer patients, tongue lesions, venous stasis ulcers, schizophrenics- things that I would likely have referred out to specialists in the States. I wish I had access to wound care, physical therapy, cardiology testing and the like, but it was just me. The closest services were often in Chetumal, Mexico (across the border) or Belize City- 90 minutes away. Many chronic illnesses in Belize are not treated adequately for poor access to healthcare, both geographically and monetarily. This is where the clinic is trying to fill the gap.
The clinic patients were charged $10 Belize ($5 US) for the doctor's visit and up to 2 medications (one month of each). I think that the patients truly valued the services they received. They viewed the clinic as their primary care home. I went on a short term medical trip last year that left me quite unsettled as I knew some patients would not be getting any care after our team left. In Patchakan, I was able to formulate a follow-up plan and knew that patients could come to the clinic to get their meds refilled long after I was gone.
I would encourage anyone reading this blog to pursue this venue for a medical mission trip. The need is great, the workers are few, the harvest is plenty. I am so blessed to have been able to serve God at His clinic in a small village in the middle of Central America.