Day 16: Island Clinic!

Island day!!!! Today clinic was across the Mekong river! At 7:30am we had all our stuff loaded onto the boat and ready to depart. I immediately jumped on the roof of the boat because you get the best view from there (And it is quite the thrill when you tilt left and right)! When we crossed the Mekong River we docked onto another boat.. lol. So we walked from one boat, to another boat, and then to land. Since it is dry season here there is a longg sandy beach in between the water and island. They have 3 tiny planks of wood leading up to the island. Last year I was like OMG (scared) and this year I was like “YAYYY” (so excited)! Lisa and I were driven up together and it felt great to be back.

The Island is like no other place here in Cambodia. It is small with farming fields in the center and all the homes are around the edge.

We arrived to see the tent already set up with tons of patients all seated and waiting to be seen. It was my turn to do education in the morning and I had a blast! Almost all our patients were returning from past years. They remembered us 🙂 They were so grateful for our care and thankful we returned.

After doing some education I found out Rachael was sick. We had the same vegetable pizza last night… And so did megan (But we felt fine). Something got to her because she was out the rest of the day. Cheryl instructed me to put an IV in her to replenish fluids as well has deliver meds. She wasn’t keeping anything down and just kept throwing up. I put an IV in her all my myself without Megan watching over in case I needed help. After fluids, meds, and a nap Rachael was feeling better but at lunch time Sarah took her back home.

Most of the patients today were return patients from last year; needing some repeat education or more medication that they couldn’t get refilled.

Dustin and Megan counted out more meds to hand out at this clinic. We gave out 3 months supply of blood pressure and/or diabetes meds since they don’t have an official clinic here on the island to dispense meds.

In the morning (when we had a majority of the pts) I gave everyone soap, toothbrushes, and toothpaste. I also did education on diet, hand, foot, and mouth care. The Chief of the village lived right across the path from our clinic and he kindly let Rachael lay down in their since we didn’t have any room in our building. I ran between the house and clinic several times to check on Rachael and then return to educating patients.

I was filling meds for one patient (who had already seen the provider) and then she all of a sudden starts complaining about foot pain. She removes her sock to show me this large diabetic ulcer forming on the bottom of her foot.. Merp. So I removed her old dressing she had on it, cleaned it, and placed a nice new clean dressing on it.

After the very busy morning it was finally time for lunch! I had my usual dragon fruit, mango, peanut butter, and bread. Yummaayyy. Then (like last year) we took motorbikes around the island! Anna and Megan road together, I road with Emily, and Lisa and Daneth road together. We had a blast taking photos/video on the bikes. The lady driving Emily and I was the same lady Rach and I buddied up with last year! She had the facial wound from a motorbike accident we cleaned up last year. She was super nice and took us to her friends garden with several different types of food growing. Long green beans, lettuce, tomato, mint, and other greens were everywhere! It was beautiful and we got to walk through it. We also saw the floating village on the Mekong river. So cool! During the wet season the houses float up closer to shore.

While on our ride we stopped by the same hotel we saw last year (with the beautiful pool). They had an awesome gift shop but no one had any money on them. So after our ride everyone gave me money and I went back with my buddy to retrieve the items we all wanted.

Once I returned it was around 2:00pm and we only had a few more patients left. I entered the clinic and was scared by a “snake!” The green bean I had left there was colored with a sharpie to look like a snake! For the rest of the afternoon we all were passing around this “snake” scaring everyone. Even Mama Sophal scared a patient on accident. After some education, wound care, and laughs we decided to end clinic early because no one else was showing up. Also since the green bean was our biggest source of entertainment we decided it was time to go.. lol.

I miss the island so much! I loved every second we were there. Everyone was so kind and eager to learn.

Once back at the hotel, I found Rachael had just woken from her nap and was feeing much better. After skyping my boyfriend; Megan, Lisa, Dustin, and I decided to go get $8 oil massages for 1 hour. We walked down a couple blocks to this place where Lisa and Sophal go often. Originally they wanted all 4 of us in the same room together but we convinced them to let Dustin get a separate room. For some reason they love putting everyone together in the same room lol. So with 3 mattresses on the floor Lisa, Megan, and I shared a room. We undressed and layer under our towels waiting to begin. Now what makes these massages so different from American ones is that the ladies giving massages all chat and laugh the entire time. Of course we have no idea what they are saying but at times we all laugh together about silly things that happen during the session. For example, my lady noticed my insulin pump and dexcom and started pointing at them. I attempted to explain it and also said the word diabetes in Kami. They all laughed were fascinated by it being inside me. Another hilarious moment was when they told us to rotate onto our bellies; Megan’s lady was chatting away and just kinda pulled the towel off of her to expose her boobs! lol Megan was quick to cover herself but everyones reactions were priceless. We laughed about that for a decent amount of time. It is hard to explain the humor behind this entire experience but trust me.. It was awesome and I wouldn’t change a thing hahaa.

By this time we were starving and walked over to our favorite place, the Dolphin. Rachael and her mom had dinner along because this is the only time they have together before Rachael goes back to school. The rest of us went upstairs and played crazy 8s with some beers. It was a fun night 🙂

This has been such an amazing trip. Only one more day of clinical left and then the long trip home begins. I love Cambodia ❤ I wish I could have stayed longer to enjoy your beauty and hidden treasures.

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