This year the medical team was told to be especially vigilant for signs of Dengue since many Hondurans have died from this sickness. I had a patient who came in with a 38.1 C degree temperature. That is 100.6 F. In the US, we might take some acetaminophen, drink fluids and maybe rest for the day. In Honduras, I had to ask many questions to determine if she might have Dengue. Symptoms include a fever that isn’t relieved by taking acetaminophen, body aches, dehydration and being lethargic. The person might also complain of eye pain, ear aches, throat pain, stomach cramps and vomiting. Dengue can also cause bleeding from any orifice. This woman had most of those symptoms, but thankfully, no bleeding. We were blessed to have two of the most amazing physicians with us, Dra Gabriella Calix and Dr. Dominguez. Dra Calix opened the Dengue clinic in Pena Blanca and Dr. Dominguez is one of the doctors who works on the clinic. I requested Dr. Dominguez come to my medical station and provide a consult. As soon as he saw the woman he said, “this is the classic look of someone suffering from Dengue.” He said she was in Category B. Category C is when the bleeding occurs and is associated with hypovolemic shock. Category C should be managed in the hospital, but Category B can be managed in their clinic, or in the person’s home if they have someone who can help monitor the symptoms. Dr. Dominguez went into detail as to what this woman needed to do and encouraged her to come to the clinic.
This is my fifth mission trip and each trip brings something that sticks with me. For me, a moment that touched me and broke my mama’s heart was experienced in my medical station. I had a mom and two boys, ages 9 and 12, sit down for care. Starting with the 9 year old, I was told his main complaint was headache and joint pain. Turns out, that was the same complaint for the 12 year old. In speaking with the boys and their mom, I learned that the 12 year old didn’t attend school, but instead worked all day long harvesting corn and beans, or whatever harvest was ready. The 9 year old was in school til noon, then joined his brother in the field as well. When I asked about hydration, the mom said she sent a jug of water with her son to the field. When I asked him if the water was all gone before the end of the day, he said he knew he had to ration the water because he knew there was no place near the fields to refill his jug. I was struck by how proud this 9 and 12 year old were to be providing for their mom. My heart hurt knowing these boys know thirst. I provided what I could to help these boys with their aches and pains, and then prayed for them as they left my station.