Friday, July 30, 2010

I promise this won´t be as long as the last one...unless thats what you want....because I can make up a story or tell you about every Transmilenio adventure I have had since Ive been here. Today I saw a huge fight start which I am pretty sure ended with some sort of knife-bearing.

But anyway, a little update about tonight. The day started out kinda boring with meetings, but after that I had planned to attend Salud en su Barrio--a health program out on by the city of Soacha which basically brings health care to the neighborhoods which are far from the center of the city. So cool, I was gonna see a positive side of health care in Soacha. False. I went to call my contact at the Secretary of Health who said that there was no such thing that day. Either it got cancelled or they never planned it. So, not wanting to waste the day in the office, I decided to head to El Hospital Gaitan Yanguas, a public hospital in the center of Soacha. Luckily, I called one of the women I had interviewed and she said she actually had to go too. I got there a little early and looked around. They would not let me in as I did not have an appointment and was not bleeding from an orifice or missing a limb, so I waited outside. I ran into a girl I had worked with in Altos de la Florida, odd enough, waiting for her cuñado--brother in law, who was currently in the hospital. I was able to sit down and talk to her about the care there--since most of the people in a situation of displacement are attended to at this public hospital. She said it basically sucks and that they dont have what they need to help people and that family and friends have to wait outside--like in the street to hear about their family and friends. This was pretty frustrating, but has also become all too normal here in Soacha. I then went to wait for the woman I was going to meet and ran into another woman from Altos who had just come from an appointment. She had to wait 3 hours just to be seen since it wasnt an emergency even though her appointment was supposedly in the early afternoon. She got lucky and soemone cancelled an appointment, so her friend got her moved up. I cant imagine what it wouldve been like if she didnt get lucky with that other appoitnment.

I finally met up with Ana Adela who needed to go to the emergency room since she had been feeling chest pains all day. Chest pains, with referred pain from her back and shortness of breath. Thank God they let me in with her. She referred to me as her accompaniment because I am pretty sure they wouldnt believe we were we went in and still had to wait about an hour to be seen. Finally she got seen and her bloodwork taken which didnt actually take that long. The problem was having to navigate ourselves through the hospital and all the different testing rooms. As we did this, we were granted access to the emergency room and the triage centers. I have never seen an ER so packed and full of people holding their own IV bags, sitting on the floor, bleeding everywhere. It was quite the scene. The facility was nothing to be proud of either. As they are doing construction in the middle of the triage center, the smell of toxic fumes fills the air. We walked past the pharmacy and Ana got the drugs she needed...but only for the day. There is a drug that she needs to take everyday(I dont know what it is right now) but she cant because she cant afford to buy it and the one that she can afford (or at least is covered by insurance) isnt available at the pharmacy. In order to have her insurance cover that drug taht she needs, she has to go to the Secretary of Health and explain why its in the law that this drug be covered (since she needs it for health maintainance, they should cover it) she needs to present the papers of the law which state that she is in need of this and then go again to the pharmacy to inquire if its there. this is all about a drug that she should be taking every day. So in the waiting room we met a lot of people, thanks to Ana as she is very outgoing and generally curious about everything. People waititng there for hours...some since the morning. Oh and when she went to get her drugs, we had to walk to the kitchen to get water so she could take them. seriously though I have never seen a dirtier or more ugly hospital. I wanted to take Ana and run somewhere else, at least to a private hospital. Hopefully Ill be able to see how those function this week. So we got her labs back and got clearance to leave and we were able to talk about how she can better take care of herself so that she doesnt wind up back in the emergency room. Its hard to tell her that she needs to eat better food when the money for this kind of food isnt there. But we were able to talk about small things and small goals. Increase the walking, decrease the fat and the salt. She seemed to understand and was sincere about wanting to feel better.

We walked in the ER at 4 and finally left around 730, not horrible I guess, but in an emergency I do not trust that facility.

So we walked back and she introduced me to her beautiful family and I got to hear some music from Chocó, a region here in Colombia. Her brother in law showed me a dance that I probably couldnt learn if I had a year and a new set of hips.

Got home a little late tonight, so I think I´m gonna stay in tonight and see whats on TV since I havent watched anything for weeks. One thing that I am sad that I am missing though, well 2 things....the new season of Jersey shore and Shark if anyone can record either, that would be wonderful...

I hope you all have a wonderful weekend and find something small to be grateful for.. I will be watching TV and debating going to the Daddy Yankee concert here tomorrow night.

Oh and other big news! There was an earthquake here yesterday afternoon and we were about 60 miles from the epicenter!!

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