Apr 7, 2022
Some team members gravitate towards the babies and children in our clinics, but elderly patients always hold a special place in my heart.
During our recent trip to Haiti, our medical team met in four different clinic locations. The first clinic day was held in a very rural area. Many people grew up in the same hilltop town with little interaction with other larger and more-populated areas of Haiti.
The local church leaders shared that people in these areas are often forgotten and have very little access to healthcare and other assistance.
During this first clinic day, I noticed that our patient registration was taking longer than usual. When I investigated further, I learned that many of our elderly patients were unsure of their ages.
They never learned their birthdays, and the girls from the local church registering the patients helped them guestimate. A patient would think back to the first president that they recalled as a child. The girls had a list of the years that the presidents were in office and would guess the ages of patients based on this first memory. We had patients in their 70s, 80s, and 90s based on these estimates.
These men and women led difficult lives. They were strong-willed, determined, and respected. Their lives were measured with hardships and joys rather than birthdays and calendars. It was a privilege to be involved in their care this week!