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August 05, 2004

Pharmacy - Redefined

I have been watching the numbers come in from Rio das Pedras over the last few days and I am amazed, gratified, humbled, and honored to have even been around the medical team. They are all doing what I would consider heroic work... you just have to see the conditions where this team is working to understand that.

I visited the makeshift pharmacy that has been dispensing many hundreds of prescriptions each day and want you to know what that really means. First of all, imagine a cement plastered room about the size of a walk-in closet, one door direct to the outside, a small window facing a swamp, and a single light bulb in the ceiling. Next add temporary shelves all along the walls of three sides and jam them full of medications of all shapes and descriptions. Mix in three people to the space, one missionary journeyman named Jennifer (a Samford pharmacy graduate) and two assistants, who must hit the floor running each morning and remain engaged with patients long after the last doctor has made a diagnosis. The smell from the poluted water of the wetland, you just get used to after awhile. At the door is a constant crowd of moms with babies in arms, the elderly, the sick, and children...lots of children; all waiting to have their prescriptions filled...and filled with compasionate care. It is a picture that has to tug at your heart.

By all means, please pray for the entire medical team. Medical care is not only improving the lives of many, but saving many from pain, suffering, and shortened lives. Today, pray particularly for Jennifer and the people who work in that little space called a pharmacy. At the pace they have been running, fatigue has to be overcome in order to remain effective. They may be hidden behind the scenes, but the work they do completely redefines pharmacy for me... I may hug my pharmacist the next time I see him. I hope that he asks me 'why?'.

Posted by Paul Chenoweth at August 5, 2004 05:09 PM