Monday, June 20, 2016

Flying Samaritans Phoenix

Volunteers from Flying Samaritans

Flying Samaritans clinic.
I just returned from a weekend in Mexico, with the Flying Samaritans Phoenix chapter. This is a volunteer only group of healthcare providers, interpreters, and pilots who travel one weekend a month to the Baja Sur California region in Mexico to provide healthcare to an underserved area.
I flew with the very capable Philip in the largest of the planes going. 6 mostly long timers joined me on the flight. We got off to a late start out of Carefree due to a plane repair and when we finally left at 2pm it was HOT! Let's just say the heat and the bumpy trip out of AZ did not agree with me, but I couldn't have been with a better group of companions. Once I got my airlegs under me, all went well. Shout out to Reliefband, who donated a motion sickness device for me to try. I think it helped.
First stop was to land and clear customs in Mexico, then back in the air to Mulege, Mexico to land at our hotel. Pretty cool to actually land your plane at a hotel!
Saturday morning we all returned to our planes to fly the 45 mins over the Sea of Cortez and Pacific to the clinic. Smooth ride! There was already a large contingent of patients patiently waiting for treatment. Some of the services provided: dental, medical, pharmacy, optometry and chiropractic/acupuncture/PT.
To be honest, I saw none of these. I went straight to the chiropractic room and got to work as the only practitioner there for physical medicine.
I started treating around 9am, took a breath around noon to eat (a delicious meal being prepared right outside this window) finished my last patient around 3pm.

My treatment room came with a view and natural AC

I was told I saw 50 patients, although I really have no idea. I had 2 tables filled at all times and used a combination of acupuncture, laser acupuncture, mobilization techniques and stretching. Shout out to a company called Meridia, who donated a set of Qi lasers for me to take on this trip. They gave me the ability to treat acupuncture points quickly and cleanly.
The biggest challenge did not turn out to be the language barrier (my spanish was passible and several interpreters helped me out), but the fact that everyone was dressed in long sleeves and jeans! Two favorite patients: a young boy who burst into tears just from me looking at him, but left with a big happy grin (turns out he was terrified the laser was fire) and a little girl who announced "my name is..." in perfect English and floored us all. She left with a pen to practice her writing (which was also perfect). I was told later, by an interpreter, that I had received enthusiastic reviews by the patients.
I left with the feeling that often accompanies the act of caring for others, that you can indeed make a difference...and indeed you should.

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