Blogger’s note: This is the last of three entries about my recent travels during a Palmer Clinic Abroad trip to India, abridged from my journal.
Our first day of clinic at Al-Arif Hospital had been advertised as a “free chiropractic medical camp,” and anyone could register. We saw a huge variety of people, from old to young, and rich to poor. It was a lot different seeing adults than it was seeing children. As efficient as I tried to be, people had so many complex issues that it was impossible to move quickly.
I saw many bilateral, radiating pain cases that I referred to the medical doctor. I don’t think he did anything for these patients other than prescribe pain meds, though. I only ended up seeing 13 patients this day. We were instructed to hand out our clinic cards to lots of patients, and to encourage them to come back. I was hopeful of seeing some of them again.
Day two of the hospital clinic went a lot better than day one. I adjusted 32 patients. Some were repeat patients, and I was pleased to see that many of them were holding their adjustments.
Some of them were getting relief, but some of them were not. That was frustrating. A lot of the people had chronic problems that one or two adjustments probably wouldn’t help much. I gave them home exercises they could do and told them which activities to avoid.
Day three was supposed to be all repeat patients, although we had some new ones, too. I continued to see improvement in some of my patients. We were able to get some boys from a local Islamic school, and they were a lot of fun to adjust.
Now that I have spent a couple of days doing adults, I realize how quickly you can get through the kids. I wish we had saved the school for last, because we could have cruised!
I think a lot of the boys thought I was pretty because they would giggle and blush around me. One brave little boy of about six looked up at me and said, “You’re beautiful!” It was pretty cute. I’m definitely not anything special, but they think anyone with white skin is beautiful. It was a good boost to my self-esteem. I adjusted 31 people that day, for a total of 134 for the trip.
When I went on clinic abroad, I had hopes of changing lives with my adjustments. We all hear the miracle stories of children being carried in and walking out, or patients with a lifetime of pain that is reduced in one adjustment. Of course, while those things do happen occasionally, they are rare cases. I was able to help some people, but many I was not. And the majority of the people I adjusted, well, I will never know whether my services helped because I won’t have a chance to follow up with them.
What I didn’t expect was that the person I would help the most would be my interpreter. She had confided in me that her family abuses her. I reported it to one of our trip coordinators, who looked into the situation more. I found out she has a mild mental disability, and that she had made some choices that her father and grandmother don’t approve of. These choices re big “no-no’s” in their culture.
I hope she is able to regain their confidence in her and have a better future. Based on her progress while I was with her, I think she may be able to do so. She ended up being such a good assistant. She matured so much during the week we were together. She went from being shy and nervous about doing a patient history or exam, to being able to do pretty much everything on her own, except the adjustment. She also improved her English immensely and was much more outgoing. She was so helpful, always willing to assist when I needed her (“Yes, ma’am!”), taking initiative, and never complaining. I realized how important this experience was for all of the interpreters, and how much more prepared they will be for being nurses. It was very hard to say goodbye to them.
The day after our last clinic day we left for home, a trip that took over 32 hours from the hotel in India to Palmer in Davenport. Coming back to the United States made us realize how many blessings we have here. Even the dirtiest places of Davenport seem very clean now, compared to the nicest places of India.
I am so glad I had the opportunity to experience another culture in such a personal way, by getting to know the people there and contributing to their health. It was an experience that has helped me to become not only a better chiropractor, but also a better person. I will never forget it.
9th trimester student, Davenport Campus