Message 7

Wow, what a week. From arriving and finding that as many physicians that want to come would be welcomed to work in NOLA, to the adventure of finding a place to work and stay, to the shock of caring for patients who’ve lost everything. I want to go back. A week is too short. It’s just in the last day that I felt like I could start to understand what they’re physically experiencing by going into the rubble of a building. It takes seeing the mourning in the pastor’s eyes looking at his church, then the striking contrast to awe in the hope he has in Christ when he’s leading the young volunteers serving hot meals, giving out cleaning supplies, offering clothes, and hope that they can rebuild. Only in that last day did I understand that these folks are suffering severe physical ailments without the typical signs of sickness.

Hundreds of patients without signs but relating significant symptoms of conjunctivitis, pharyngitis, bronchitis, and contact dermatitis from exposure to the mold spores in their homes, and accidental contact with the shin-deep mud left by the flood and the oil slick that spread.

Many received their medication in the shelters a month ago, but I heard over and over: I have 6 pills left, I have 4 pills left. I had nothing to give many of them but a prescription, instructions to go to the nearest indigent health clinic to where they were living, and prayer and compassion. SO FRUSTRATING, but a realistic problem for these people who’d lost their health insurance with their jobs.

We are thankful God has given us this opportunity to serve and we now pass the baton on to our next team, who will be arriving this weekend. We pray that God will continue to give them hope in their great lost.