Saturday, December 11, 2010

December 11th

December is typically a month of extreme high ocean tides and morning fog in Lopez Mateos. Unfortunately for many the fog didn't lift until eleven o'clock forcing the six Flying Samaritan planes to divert to Constitucion until the fog lifted. Combined with the short days of winter this only gave five hours of the Samaritans on the ground in Lopez Mateos before needing to head back to Mulege. But that didn't dissuade our Los Amigos providers from treating 152 patients today. And we break those numbers down to 16 general medicine and 15 OBgyn followed by 17 pediatric consultations on the medical front. Our local eye doctor helped 15 folks walk away with a better view of the world we live in while our chiropractors helped 58 folks walk a little easier. Our dental team repaired or extracted teeth in 15 patients and another 10 left with brighter smiles. Our prosthetic department attended to 6 additional patients and of course the pharmacy was kept busy the entire 5 hours. This is a huge demonstration of what gets done by those dedicated folks that give up their entire weekend and end up battling the elements of mother nature as well. WAY TO GO SAMS!

Saturday, November 20, 2010

November's El Movil

San Luis Gonzaga rests about 60 km Southeast of Ciudad Constitucion, B.C.Sur, Mexico. Being founded in 1740 by a Jesuit missionary quickly proved that the Church wouldn't have the last word on lands in Mexico.
This Missionary Juan Jacoba Baegert spent 1753 to 1761 building the two steeple temple only to have a Judge transfer it in 1768 to a Soldier named
Felipe Romero who turned it into a cattle ranch. The area remains a farm community to this day with some 100 family farms and ranches within a circle of about 30 km of the mission. There is no commercial electricity in the region so most of the ranches are powered by solar panels feeding lights, refrigeration and water pumps connected to underground springs to irrigate their crops. To arrive here one needs to leave the paved highway and travel 40 km of washboard road winding its way to the foothills of the Baja coastal mountains. Here begins our report of El Movil's activities for today.

El Movil's arrival

Arriving after a 3 and 1/2 hour drive we found the best place to park and set up clinic was in the shade of the mission ruins themselves. Of course this being our first clinic there were a good number of folks waiting in hopes of seeing a doctor.

More than a few arrived on what we might not consider your more common mode of transportation. But the only thing coming out of this mode of transportation's tailpipe is fertilizer.

Todays crew

Todays crew was headed by Dr. Teresa Moraila and supported by our nurse Edmundo and yours truly taking on the pharmacy as best as possible.
Our first remote clinic may not have shaken any lottery numbers but we were quite content to be able to attend to 35 patients before the time arrived to begin the 3 and 1/2 hour return drive. We were actually able to see folks for 4 and a half hours and left behind a very happy and smiling pueblo. Thanks again to the Flying Samaritans and our Mexican care providers for making today possible.

Of course we wouldn't want to leave out one of our very content patients from todays photos!

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Food of course

Crayfish taken from the local spring fed water supply. We would not be allowed to leave before dining on local machaca and hand made tortillas.

Getting in the act

Once installed everybody wants to get in the act by having their blood pressure taken. This is a capability not previously had in the pueblo.


Our host "Dr. Moraila" has the final say as to where to install the blood pressure cuff which the Flying Samaritans also provided.

As one can see, the central health care center is rather sparsely accommodated upon our arrival. The villagers were quick to jump in and help change that. San Luis Gonzaga is home to about 40 permanent residents and is the center for the surrounding family farms of about 100 families. On Monday mornings each of these families bring their k through 9th grade children to the school in the pueblo where these eager young students live until being collected by the parents on Friday afternoon. The three teachers in the school teach besides scholastics, community respect and the responsibilities of getting along with their fellow residents. This is truly back to the basics education. I might also add that this extended farm community is powered by solar panels to provide lighting, refrigeration and irrigation installed at each farm.

Expecting to see Clint Eastwood, Rooster Cogburn or Pancho Villa coming over the hill anytime, required a quick finger on the camera trigger. This town is very near three hundred years old. The yellow trading post seen in the background was last painted in 1900. I'm just amazed at how well the paint has lasted.


In order to add our newly donated dental chairs there is some construction to do. As well, a bit of equipment needs to be relocated. With that in mind, Dr. Moraila requested the next available exam table be given to the health care center in San Luis Gonzaga which is a 300 plus year old mission site about 40 miles Southeast of Constitucion. The Samaritans pretty much all agreed so yesterday was a trip to deliver this piece of equipment to the charming little pueblo. Some 30 km off the paved highway, our route took an hour and 15 minutes driving across the Baja dessert dirt roads. The first thing visible upon entering the pueblo is the little white community clinic.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

New Season

Wow! What a great way to begin the 2010/2011 season of Flying Samaritans clinic in Lopez Mateos. 7 planes made it to Lopez including one on Friday to get the place cleaned and put in order after almost 3 months of being closed up. We saw quite a few new faces climb out of those Saturday landings. As well as some faces we haven't seen in a good while. All of the warm hearted care ended up with 236 consultations of people arriving with the hope of getting help with their health needs. That breaks down to 15 OBgyn, 45 General Medicine and 18 pediatric folks seen on the medical side. 10 dental cleanings and 21 other general dental care as well as 22 consults with our eye doctor. Rounding that out with 105 chiropractic adjustments, who know how many prescriptions filled and some great food served up by our friends from Constitucion. All in all it was simply a great way to start off the new season of 2010/2011. Hopefully we will be able to make some modifications to the building before the next clinic and add two more dental chairs to the clinic.
That's our story and we're sticking to it.

Friday, September 3, 2010

Into Mexico

Leaving Yuma around 8:00am put us at the Tecate border crossing near 11:00 in the morning. Normally a good time to make this border crossing as it's usually an hour or so of good paved road to Ensanada. We hadn't taken into account that the Mexican government might be in the process of rebuilding the highway. On these detours of 20 or 30 miles across nature paths our arrival to Ensanada didn't happen until 5:00 in the afternoon. A good part of this distance we were actually able to get our speed up to 10 MPH! While it had been our plan to make it to El Rosario Ensanada was about our limit for the day.

Monday, August 23, 2010

On the road again

Sunday brought an end to a wonderful visit to the Vancouver area. Watching the Columbia river disappear in the mirror El Movil was as full as our hearts over the time spent there. On to a night visiting Dale and Trish from San Bruno, B.C.Sur in Florence, Oregon on the Pacific coast where we had to bring out even warmer clothing. I needed to use the heat in El Movil in the morning before setting off to points further South. Traveling from Florence back towards I-5 brought a few herds of elk in view rather up close and personal. Our goal today was to reach Beale Air Force Base to take advantage of the military RV park on the base which is home to the U2 high altitude plane. I tried to take some pictures of the U2 directly overhead of El Movil but for some reason the plane didn't show up in the digital photography. Go Figure! We stopped to see Mt Shasta from a rest stop en-route and couldn't resist the photo. The little red VW we are taking to Loreto for one of our dental providers/pilots. Now on to San Diego via Lemoore Naval Air Station. A couple days in San Diego for doctor appointments and we're off to Phoenix to load more equipment before crossing the border South again.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Way Cool in all ways

As more instruments showed up the music moved out on the deck. A fire and warm clothing kept the guests warm and the music was even hotter. Patrick said the cold made it difficult to finger the guitar.

Friday, August 20, 2010

A little relaxing

It seams that these kind of road trips can actually take quite a bit out of a person. We have such wonderful friends and have met some really cool folks on this trip. John and Eileen have been extremely kind and suggested a pot luck dinner at the floating house as a sort of send off. "Well, maybe send off was my concept but it was a lot of fun in any event. So Friday evening John, Eileen, and 9 or 10 folks who know John from one place or another came to the floating house and we struck up the bar-b-que followed by stricking up a little music.

A friend of John's is a guy by the name of Brent Baldwin. Brent has several irons in the fire on any given day or night and had a good quantity of exam gloves (over 5000) and disposable exam gowns as well as 12 gallons of Banicide, a case of powder feeding tube product and various other medical supplies to donate to the Flying Samaritans. Added all the other items John and his many friends donated to the Flying Samaritans, Vancouver literally opened their hearts to our friends in Mexico with the Flying Samaritans. WAY TO GO VANCOUVER!

Youth treatment

The big day has arrived to receive Patrick's new dentures. These were a collaborated effort by Dr. John Griffith of Vancouver, Washington who spent a lot of time with the prep and TENZ therapy in order to get the correct fitting. Scott Alvarez "Owner of Qualident Dental Lab also in Vancouver" donated the dentures and all lab work to make this happen. Because of the short time frame, Scott burned the midnight oil several times during this week allowing us to leave within 7 days of our arrival to Vancouver. Pictured is Scott, John and Patrick in Johns waiting room.
There aren't enough thanks possible in the world for the life these guys improved! Several of our friends have said Patrick looks 20 years younger and I agree! Now if we could find somebody to shave 20 years off me!

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Generosity continues

It's been a trip. Nothing like anything we've experienced before...Nirvana to Graceland to Eden and beyond. Each time, surrounded and touched by warm and caring gentle hearts and souls that have, each time, left us in total awe.
Now at this moment, we are at virtually complete repose in a floating house on the serene banks of the Lewis River, in sight of where it joins the mighty Columbia.
The unswerving generosity of good friends residing in Vancouver, Washington, who have opened not only their hearts, but their home as well, to share with us a piece of heaven that we did not realize could exist.
Their assistance with essential equipment for the Lopez Mateos clinic is going to have a profound impact on the lives of hundreds of people.
Their help with personal services we otherwise would never be able to obtain is going to have a dramatic effect on the rest of my life.
We will never be able to express how truly grateful we are. It takes somebody like Dr. John Griffith to be able to give dentures that will indeed serve the rest of my life. Thanks just doesn't seem to express enough. Patrick Malone

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Uncle Dan

The fellow known as "Uncle Dan" is Vancouver's foremost expert on motorhome and RV systems. Pictured as the jolly fellow with the brilliantly shiny hairdo on top. Dan had offered to donate some time and expertise in getting the leveling jacks functioning on El Movil. All of this because Dr. John felt it ever so important, also pictured above. Dan brought in a bright fellow who has a lot of experience with these type of systems. Pictured both prone and with the cooler of the day. CERVESA! Corona no less! How appropriate! I always find it fun to watch somebody who knows what they are doing go to work. "Four Eyes" or Rick, had the four leveling jacks working like a charm in 'bout 10 minutes. Now, our nurses won't feel as though they are aboard a heeling war ship as they move about during clinic. WAY TO GO VANCOUVER! Our heart felt thanks go out to these pillars of the community. Thanks

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

More to do!

One of the things we had hoped to do on this trip is to repair the leveling system on El Movil so our providers won't feel as though they are at sea during clinic. Dr John has arranged an appointment with "Four Eyes" who is the local expert on the BIG FOOT coach leveling system Wednesday afternoon. One more item we will be able to check off our "to do list" So enjoying the Lewis River which empties into the mighty Columbia River is the order of the week for El Movil, Patrick and myself.
That's our story for the moment and we're definitely sticking to it!

Monday, August 16, 2010

Monday Afternoon Aug 16, 2010

It's a rough job but somebody's got to do it