Monday, July 5, 2010
Diabetes Testing in the Leprosy Colonies
(I will add pictures when I get my camera back) We pulled up to the leprosy colony that is next to the bindu art school just as the occupants of the old folks home were starting to gather outside, awaiting Dr Kumar. Summoning up all of the courage that is within my freckled soul I decided to do the diabetes testing. Blood has been somewhat of my arch nemesis, but that day it was different. Rather than thinking about how I was pricking them with a needle and squeezing blood out of the small wound it left, I focused on the people. They were scared just like I would be and have been before getting pricked. I thought about how lucky I was to hold the hand of all the people in the colony as I tested their blood. These people have stories to tell, you can see it in their eyes. I tried to talk with my facial expressions and let them now that I did not want to hurt them but that this would be fast and help them in the long run. I didn’t test one patient because she had dementia and would have tried to bite me. I was pretty scared about that, even though she didn’t really have any teeth. My days are starting to run into each other. I feel like there is a collage of events at the leprosy colonies from last week in my mind. Early in the morning one man from the first colony we went to was taken to the hospital because of a heart attack. When Dr Kumar heard this news he was very worried. He walked back and found the man’s wife sitting in the opening of her hut, with her head in her hands. She got up and walked to Dr Kumar and started crying. She looked so nervous and sad. Dr Kumar said he had never seen her not smiling. I cannot imagine my husband being taken to a hospital after having a heart attack and not knowing what would happen to him. She put her head to my chest and hugged me, and she did the same to the other girls that were with me. Having her that close I could almost feel her sadness. I never found out what happened to her husband. The patients at the Colony with the Bindu art School seem to be in much better shape. One of them is a Yoga master; he showed me some pictures of his poses, very impressive! The others told me about the Austrian photographer that put forth the funding for the Bindu art school. What an amazing man he must be. He has made such a difference to not only these people but the people that see the paintings they create. At the colonies we wash feet, check blood pressure, check blood sugar levels, put new bandages on patients and paint fingernails. I checked the blood sugar levels at each colony. At one colony a woman walked up to me and sadly said, “Sagayamary?” Someone mentioned that her daughter was at Rising Star and I made the connection. I pulled my camera out and went to a picture I had taken a few nights before of all the girls in the room we are in charge of. Her eyes lit up as she saw her daughter with a huge grin on her face in a group of young girls. She wanted me to show it to the others at the colony. They all recognized her and smiled. Dr Kumar told me to make sure I put gloves on when I tested Sagayamary’s mom and dad. They are both HIV positive. I wonder if Sagayamary is as well. They are going to test the children and the staff at rising star because HIV is becoming a real problem. I cant see Sagayamary in that place, living in the colony, but that is where she was born and grew up. It will be exciting to see Sagayamary’s mom hugging her at the dedication of the High School.
Posted by McCall at 9:57 AM