Thereís lots of news to report on the ambulance, some of it good and some of itónot so good. First, weíve been the beneficiaries of a few fundraisers lately; Bare Bones Theater, Helping Hands Bookstore and the Christmas Tree Festival donated 20,000 pesos to the ambulance fund. Weíve used some of that money to order a new battery for the defibrillatoróabout 3500 pesosóand to continue to stock and replenish supplies for the ambulance. |
Our ambulance team, Francisco, Bolas, Pancho and Juan, have all recently received hours of EMT training from Terry Kadel, certified EMT instructor from Alaska. Many thanks to Terry, who spent 30-40 plus hours of his vacation time training the guys in how to handle heart attacks, strokes, diabetic emergencies, blocked breathing, starting IVs, anaphylactic shock, birthing babies, and just about every medical emergency we might encounter. Two of team are now certified drivers, and everyone has been trained. Our team is now ready to serve the community on a much higher level than ever before.
Many of you have been asking, ďBut where is the ambulance?Ē Thatís the bad news. Over the holidays the vehicle developed engine trouble on the way back from a run to Manzanillo, and the drivers had it towed to Cihuatlan. From there, mechanics from La Huerta took over, towing the ambulance to their location. Of course, since it was the middle of the holiday season, not much happened until people returned to work around January 6, and the mechanics are now working on that problem. We should have the ambulance back very soon, but remember, folks, the wheels can turn very slowly here when it comes to fixing things. Cruz and Pedro, our Delegado, call just about every day to check on progress. Once the ambulance is fixed, oxygen, IVs, the defibrillator and all other equipment will be reloaded onto the ambulance and weíll be back in business.
In no particular order, here are answers to other frequently asked questions: Noami is no longer part of the team, so we rely on Cruz to serve as a translator. Bolas, Juan and Pancho all speak some English, and they can call on Cruz to translate as needed. If you speak no Spanish, it is always wise to have a translator to help you in many situations. Additionally, you need to know how to tell the drivers your address, preferably in Spanish. They canít get to you if you canít tell them where you are. Be prepared. Know your address, and have the number for the ambulance posted somewhere prominently in your house. Refrigerator magnets with the number are still available at Helping Hands Bookstore. The emergency number is 315-212-4048.
While the ambulance is being repaired, we have been using everything from SUVs to pick-up trucks to try to get people to the hospital when necessary. If you have a severe medical emergency that Central Salud canít help you with, it might be a good idea to call Melaque, as suggested by Mayama on her post on January 18th. Even when the ambulance is back on the road, please be aware that it does not substitute for a taxi. Weíve had people call for rides to doctorsí appointments, or for rides to the hospital when in normal labor, for example. If you can use your regular vehicle or a taxi, please do. It is very expensive to keep the ambulance on the road, and weíd like it to be used for true medical emergencies. We want to be there when you need us.
I also get a number of medically technical questions. Unfortunately, I canít answer most of them because I have no medical training. I began this project over two years ago because I could clearly see that there was a need for the services of an ambulance. I set about to raise funds to buy an ambulance for the people of La Manzanilla, and with your help, I have done that. Of course, now I realize the project is much more complicated than that. Equipment is difficult to find and costly. Itís expensive to keep the ambulance on the road. I will probably need to be raising funds for the ambulance until I canít do it anymore. Some people have used the ambulance and donít even think of how much that care costs, or they canít afford to pay anything. Iíll keep trying to see to it that this valuable service remains available.
If you have more questions, ask me when you see me on the street, or send me an email, and Iíll do my best, in my role as fundraiser, to answer them. I appreciate all your support. As you can imagine, there are many frustrations to this project, but if we can help some people and maybe save a life, itís all worth it.
Be sure to visit www.lamanzanilla.info