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Voices from the field: Señora Maria

August 03, 2011 - Peru

by Jana Siu

I got to know Señora Maria over her prescribed 5 day course of antibiotics. Everyday she’d shuffle in around 2pm, hand over her prescription and give one large sigh before I gave her an injection into her hip. Afterwards, we’d have a little chat about the importance of getting the whole course of antibiotics. I always fear that patients won’t come back because of the pain. On the contrary, I’ve found the patients here to be very diligent on coming in day after day, whether for an injection or excruciating wound care. When I asked her about this, she told me that in spite of the pain, she was very grateful for the attentive care she was receiving from Dr. Erika and the staff. Prior to the Policlinico, her healthcare consisted of rare visits to “la posta”, the government funded clinics for the underserved and the poor. Her disheartening response to what was problematic about it said it all, “They treat me badly.”

On her last day of antibiotics, Señora Maria was disappointed to hear that my stay here was coming to an end. And in good Peruvian fashion, she asked whether or not I had tried the 20 or so Peruvian dishes that she rattled off. I thought I had done well, but she was still shocked at the few I had not tried. She rubbed her injection site and clucked her disapproval as she shuffled out the door.

The following Monday, Señora Maria arrived with her daughter bearing two bags containing “arroz con seco de pollo” for the entire staff. We were over the moon; a piping-hot home-made delivered meal! She chuckled when I thanked her for helping me complete my Peruvian culinary experience. I was moved by Señora Maria´s gesture of appreciation and felt very proud of our staff that made her feel cared for…and then got distracted by the delicious food.

More information and reporting about our clinic in Peru can be found here.

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