April 7, 2016
Today, we served a non-profit clinic in the city of Amman. The clinic was built with aid from the United States (not sure if it was private or government). 4 docs saw about 147 patients. I shared an exam room with another doc. When I say we shared a room, I don’t mean we took turns using it; I mean we used it at the same time. He’s a pulmonologist, I’m a cardiologist. Or as he states it “We’re peanut butter and jelly.” I started the day as a cardiologist with that ‘special machine’ (referring to my echo machine). As the patient flow picked up I turned into a general internist. By the end of the day we were swamped with more families with children and I became a pediatrician too. The charge nurse was wearing a traditional white outfit from head to toe and she wore it proudly. She works very diligently and takes enormous pride in her clinic. She is affectionately known by the docs as ‘Boss Lady’.
I’ve shared many touching stories of the refugees. Today I saw mostly local Jordanians. This is a goodwill gesture to repay the Jordanians for giving the Syrians a safe haven from the war. On a side note; I can’t speak Arabic. Initially I was intimidated, however the translators provided have been excellent. I’ve worked with one particular translator for many of clinics,Moayad Kousa, I refer to him as my Syrian brother. He makes my job extremely easy on many levels. He is extremely intelligent, he is educated as a pharmacist and speaks perfect English. He could be hired in any hospital in America. He is working with me as a volunteer. His hometown is pretty much destroyed. We have a pretty good routine.
Patient- 70, y/o male.
– Chief Complaint: “I like women, I want to make sure my heart will be healthy enough to get married.” He’s been widowed for 5 years.
– Vital signs: BP 200/110.
– On no meds
– Smokes a pack a day
Me: “Moayad, ask him if he saw the girl of his dreams before walking into our clinic to explain why his BP is so high.”
Pt starts laughing. I check his BP again; it’s still too high.
Me: “Moayad, please let him know his BP is too high and he needs medication.”
Moayad starts smiling when the patient responds.
Me: “What’s he saying?”
Moayad: “He wants to know if he can still get married.”
Back to the refugee camp tomorrow.