Roca Blanca Update

Posted by on Feb 4, 2022 in Members, Missions | 0 comments

Roca Blanca Update

Mission in Mexico

During our second full week here, the work week dragged into Saturday to accommodate the Pastors’ conference ending at 3. By now, we have had a little experience in on the diagnosis of COVID. We were hampered somewhat by the lack of COVID tests in the clinic. We were having to send people to Rio Grande or Puerto Escondido at the cost of $300 pesos or 500 pesos. Laura, our nurse here, drove many people to Rio herself, sometimes more than once a day. We did eventually buy some tests to do in the clinic, but those were used within 2-3 days.

We certainly knew that there were other respiratory infections besides COVID, but we also knew that COVID could be difficult to ferret out. And the frequency of false negative tests was higher with omicron. Finally we received about thirty rapid tests to help. COVID we found in the music school, the Bible school, the Spanish school, some villagers, some teams from USA, some from an hour and a half in either direction. Sometimes the test band was as quick to show up as the control band, and twice the color. Sometimes the COVID test was surprisingly negative and we made the clinical diagnosis anyway. My Saturday ended with a group of four from Ixtapan, brought in by their pastor. The first one came in with a fever of 39, sweats, chills, headache, sore throat, and dry cough—all in the past twelve hours. I didn’t know there were three to follow, and got a negative COVID test. Then when I saw there were three more from the same village I decided to get the history and exam, and hold on the tests. Turns out the weather had been cold alternating by hot and many people had been sick. I did one more test on the one who had been sick since Wednesday; it was negative. With some modicum of clinical confidence I diagnosed influenza. The treatment is about the same except for the recommendations about isolation.

One of the consequences of finding so many COVID patients on the Base is the “mini-public health” problem of where to “isolate” them. Many live in dorms or share apartment space with others. Laura is often the one deciding how to do this, and the one who follows up on how they are doing, getting groceries for them, getting medicine for them, keeping track of when they may leave isolation. This has made it difficult for students in the Spanish School. We know from experience that these classes are intense and move along quickly. One can feel like they are drowning after missing a week; that leads to more time and effort by the teachers to do some helping after class, arranging curriculum and getting it to students who are isolated. At the same time, these students often have severe headaches and fatigue that interferes with learning at home.

We have not spoken or heard much Spanish since we were last here 2 years ago. So we anticipated that it would be challenging to interact with patients, take a history, explain a diagnosis, and describe. But the additional challenge, especially for Mary Kay (with hearing loss), is that we are wearing masks and the patients are wearing masks. At times, we truly have no clue what they are saying. Thankfully, we usually can find someone around to help translate, or even just to help clarify (in Spanish) what is being said.

Our prayer requests at this time include: a slowdown in the number of COVID cases, more availability of the tests and the medications used for treatment here (Ivermectin, and vitamins, zinc, and analgesics), and protection for us and the rest of the staff here from COVID.

Thank you for your support, and blessings for all.

Dave and Mary Kay Ness

PS – I had hoped to attach some photos, but am not having good luck at this time. Will continue to try and will pass them on when I succeed!!

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