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May 2013

                A 32 year old woman came in mid-April for family planning, perhaps a little late.  She only has three kids, so she has managed pretty well.  But her latest family planning had come from one of the groups of visiting gringos who go around to villages handing out medicines.  She had gotten two packs of birth control pills from them … in early January.  By taking them irregularly, she managed to stretch them out till the end of March, then (surprise!) had a day of very heavy vaginal bleeding, which prompted her to present to the clinic.  A pregnancy test at the clinic was positive, so Juvencio sent her on to Iquitos.  If she is lucky, she will have miscarried, and will have another opportunity to try birth control again, hopefully this time with better follow-up. 

June 2013
               The Flood of 2013 turned out, happily, not to rival that of 2012.  When Jerry came to visit here at the end of March, the water was a couple of feet deep around our house on Yanamono Stream, and we parked the canoe at the front steps.  However, during the week that he was here the water rose only very slowly, and it continued that trend until it peaked roughly a meter (three feet) lower than last year's record-setting water level.
Thank goodness. 
While we were in Wisconsin, word came from Edemita in mid-May that the stream was back within its banks, so by the time I returned to Peru at the start of June, the mud was pretty much dried up.  Just barely … it was still quite clear where all the mush had been, and off the walking trails, the earth was still soft enough to press easily into shape with my foot.  But along the paths, it was mostly firm enough to walk on, AND I had a huge advantage in coming downriver with David Longhofer and his group of 90 students from Missouri and Kansas.  In preparation for their arrival, the workers of the Lodge had shoveled the loose slop off of all the paths, and laid down tons of sand from the Lodge to the river's edge.  It was practically a paved highway. 
                So much for Mud Season this year.  Fine by me. 

08 junio
                Rain last night, rain the night before, rain today.  Much of it during the days has been light, but we had quite a little downpour this morning, and in the nights it has been torrential.  Thank goodness for all that sand laid down over the mud.  Of course, now sand gets tracked in instead of mud, but the sand is a little better, I think.  And the rain has kept the temperatures pleasant. 

12 junio
                Woke yesterday morning to the sound of NO rain falling, for the first time in 5 or 6 nights.  The morning was overcast, but we got through the entire day without rainfall, and last night, too.  Hopefully this means we are entering the next phase of weather, and will get a few days of sun.  Lindomira, who washes my clothes, brought back laundry this a.m. that she had picked up only yesterday, and most of it is actually dry. 

                While doing my morning yoga mini-routine yesterday, I felt a sudden sharp stinging on my right hip.  Well, it can't be any more than my imagination, I thought -- I was just out of bed, and if there had been an ant or other beastie it surely would have bitten/stung me while in bed.  I felt certain that nothing had fallen from the ceiling, either, and I still had on my nightgown, so it was not someone who had been lurking in my clothes.  Had to be my imagination.  But the feeling persisted, and when I looked a little later, by gum there was a small red punctate area.  Something had nailed me, after all.  And later, when I went to take a skirt off a hanger, a small frog peered nervously at me from his perch atop the hanger.  Welcome home.

We've had too many patients to tell you about them all, but they have been many and varied.  The first two days of June were Saturday and Sunday, and were pretty quiet.  Monday, however, brought nineteen patients, including six for family planning, one with vaginal candidiasis ("yeast infection"), an elderly woman with pneumonia, a twelve year old who was throwing up, a woman with an infected wound on her foot, an Explorama worker who had gotten bonked in the head when a pole came loose from the roof where he was working, and a collection of fungal skin infections, viral syndromes, and a couple of patients whom we vaccinated. 
                The next day, a man came from a neighboring village after having caught his pinkie finger in his pequi-pequi motor when another boat collided with him.  Dr. Gregorio thought that although the tip of the finger was partially amputated and the bone was broken, the finger could be saved.  We got him to Iquitos, and a day or two later he came back, with his damaged fingertip held in place by an external stabilization device.  In the US, this would be a costly titanium pin inserted into the bone.  Here, it was an ordinary IV needle, the hub protruding from the tip of his finger.  We have been cleaning it periodically (and we gave him his first tetanus vaccine), and soon we will remove it and his bone will have healed. 
                On the 7th, we had another busy day, with nineteen patients in all. There were four more malaria victims, two each of Falciparum and Vivax, four children under a year old with various respiratory ailments, one woman for birth control, a 10 year old boy for tooth extraction, and an assortment of other problems.  The next couple of days, we just had a few more of everything. 
                On the 10th, we had our third day of 19 patients, three more with malaria (two V, one F), five cases of acute diarrhea, several more kids with respiratory illness, and a 32 year old woman who was in the third trimester of pregnancy, with high blood pressure and swelling in her hands and feet.  Uh-oh.  Fortunately, she was already in a boat on her way to Iquitos, so Dr. Gregorio gave her a few medicines and sent her quickly along. 


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