Medical Mission Update from Rita

I do not know one day from the next they seem to run together going from one hospital to another and one clinic to another and one home to another.

You are left emotionally drained at the end of the day to see all the suffering of the people.  I am not sure what I excepted to see but I know that this was a shock to me to see all these people and what they are going thru and what they still need to go thru.  This is not
over – the war or the lives of the Syrians.

People gathering in the clinic for medical help
People gathering in the clinic for medical help

They will have to change to a different lifestyle and a way of thinking.  The architects of the country will have to educated them selves in how to build homes for all the different
disabilities that have come out of this.  From wheelchair ramps in the streets and in the official buildings, homes with handicap facilities in bathrooms.  Bigger bathrooms to facilite two people – the injured and the caregiver, everything that can be imagined.  The number of people injured, amputees, blinded, etc. We will need social workers, and that
is a profession that Arabs do not go into much, but they will need it – we will have to learn from the west and their disabilities act and try and incorporate that into the Syria way of life.  Work with families to accept the disabilities so that some of these young people that have been really injuried will still be able to lead a normal life and get married, and not think that if they are not whole, or that they will be left to live with their parents and never experience life.

The children are the most damaged in what they have seen around them.  We and other groups and doctors are taking care of their physical needs but their emotional needs and mental needs are something that has been left out.  So much work.

Children outside the clinic.
Children outside the clinic.

When we get into a clinic that the doctors are meeting with the local doctors to assess their needs within a short time the Syrian American doctors are starting to see patients and then before anyone knows it (8 hours later) and we have missed the other appointments.  I go around and talk to the people in the clinic and find out their stories and what area they are from and when they came and how they came.  So I do not get so emotional, and I try to tell stories and try and make them laugh, since I believe laugher is another form of therapy.  It does work, I have gotten smiles on their faces and a lot of them thinking who is this crazy woman that is speaking a broken Arabic (like an Armenian) I am handing out candy and cookies and everyone takes, some people say no, but I say if you are from Aleppo – it is impolite to refuse , etc etc, and then the conversation starts of what they left
behind, but they all state that they will be going back.  Their home is in Syria and they want it – they are so proud of their sons and fathers who are fighting for their safety.

Doctors meeting at the clinic.
Doctors meeting at the clinic.

One young man, about 20, was seen by the doctor and he his a parapelgic and had no medicine or anything and the family did not know how to help him.  He told us that he goes into spasisms and his legs are flying all over – he has to tie them to the bed at night so he can sleep.  He has been in a bed for the last nine months and he is not taken out of his little room – the family brings him the food and helps to wash him, but he is like in his own
prison.  He has no idea what life will bring – he was at the University of Damascus at the time that he was injured. He was not demonstrating or fighting, just in the wrong place at the wrong time.

Another patient that the doctors saw had lost his leg at the knee. I asked if a prosthetic leg could be put on, but the doctors said no since the wound had healed wrong and they would have to do major surgery and he might never be able to use it.

All of these people we met were being seen at the Irbid Clinic, and are from Deraa. They are farmers, and now they will not be able to work their land. What will they do to support their families?  The women took care of the children, but now they will need to be reeducated/trained to go out and work to support the family.

Doctors meeting with the injured.
Doctors meeting with the injured.
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