9.15.2008

Bare Naked

Two days ago I started writing this post, and it's sort of gotten out of my control. Here's how it started:


I'm learning that one of the nice things about having your own pool is that you can swim with no clothes on. Or at least your kids can, on afternoons when you are too tired to wrestle them yet again into tiny bathing suits.



But trust me when I say that Delaney and Hayden love it, despite being somewhat defenseless without any clothes on.


I, on the other hand, am not loving the feeling of defenseless that swirls around us in these first few weeks of September. I can't let all our friends think we are sitting pretty (clothed or not) in the Caribbean with no awareness of what's happening in the world, or back at home. In fact -- thanks to satellite TV and no way to go out since the babies' bedtime is 6:30pm -- we probably are watching more of the 24 hour news cycle than you are.


So, I am feeling overly exposed to the uncertainty of hurricanes, train crashes, market crashes, embassy bombings, Latin American drug cartels, and an infuriating political election. There doesn't seem to be much we can do from here, except watch TV and watch for the arrival of our absentee ballots.


Then I shifted gears to the exposure we feel with health care. I had to make a pit stop at the clinic, pictured here, on my way home from school. Here's that story:


This morning I was exposed in another way, at Miss Peggy's clinic. As my follow-up trauma to last spring's malaria, I have developed some sort of heat rash on my back and neck. I waited in the clinic for my "rapid care" appointment (it shortened the wait from three hours to an hour and a half) and eventually I was ushered, rapidly, to a back room. The dental room. Where an older gentleman was having his teeth done. "This is the only space available. Sit here," said the visiting volunteer doctor pointing to the undulating dental chair.


I did, and soon I was also lifting up my shirt and describing what medications I take, right in front of this other guy. I don't have alot to hide and, with two babies, not alot of modesty either, but still, my rash deserved more, and this guy deserved to learn less!


Then I tried to pull all this rambling together:

One of the greatest exposures we face here on a third-world island is health care, and health emergencies, and we are so grateful for Miss Peggy's clinic. Here is an individual who is making a big difference, whether it's a real crisis or a sunburn because your parents forgot to put your bathing suits on you.

It's hard to extrapolate the little life lessons that swirl around a woman like Miss Peggy. Her efforts humble me each time I step into Clinica Esperanza and see the hopes and fears of unknown neighbors that have lived entire lifetimes with no preventative care. Who am I to take up the time of volunteering medical professionals, surrounded by dozens of truly needy people, with an annoying heat rash. My exposure, really, is so very little.


But today I'm back to bare naked. Mike took a hard fall this morning on slippery stairs after a big rain storm. Thinks he may have broken a rib. The swelling has started to go down, but the extra-extra strength Tylenols don't seem to do much. I have a hunch we'll be going back to Clinica Esperanza tomorrow, humbled by how quickly your exposure can change.