Saturday, October 12, 2013

Medical Care Made Easy in Chile

Possible Squamous Cell Carcinoma? Basal Cell Carcinoma? We sent this photo to a dermatologist in the U.S. and he said it could be squamous cell carcinoma and it needed to be excised (removed). Within a couple of weeks it had grown rapidly and was very inflamed. It wasn't prudent to wait until we finish our mission.

Of course I am thinking about Luke 22 -
49 When they which were about him saw what would follow, they said unto him, Lord, shall we smite with the sword?
50 And one of them smote the servant of the high priest, and cut off his right ear.

So we need to find a dermatologist not named Peter.
We went to the best clinic in Chillán. We had previously helped to set up a contract with this clinic so they could treat our missionaries. I felt reasonably comfortable receiving medical care there. The facility was fairly modern and up to date.

We went to the clinic to make an appointment to have my ear checked. At the check-in desk they told us that we had to make the appointment by phone. That was disappointing. Chileans are not easy to understand and it is especially difficult to understand them on a cell phone. Nevertheless, I stepped away from the check-in desk, called the number and made an appointment for the following week. The appointment was with Dr. Miguel Torres, dermatologist.
The following Thursday we arrived at the appointed time. We went to a waiting area by the check-in desk. Soon Dr. Torres came to look for me. I don't suppose I was difficult to find - a bald gringo. When I saw his haircut I immediately felt at ease. He escorted us to his office and looked at my ear with a magnifying glass. As I struggled to understand him,(my Spanish vocabulary outside of gospel principles isn't very good), he confirmed that the lesion needed to be removed. He told us that he had a private clinic where he does these procedures or he could do it at the Clinical Chillan.  We would be able to do it the next Thursday at his private clinic. I opted for the private clinic as the lesion was growing and becoming more uncomfortable. He told me it would cost $90,000 CLP (that is about $180 USD) and that he would send it to a pathologist to get a diagnosis which would be a separate charge. I could call or go to his clinic to make the appointment. The clinic was only a block from our apartment building so we went there immediately to make the appointment. We found the address.
Calle 18 de Septiembre 325. We walked through the gate to the building at the end of the walkway.
When we got to the reception desk I asked for Dr. Torres and was told that his office was down the hallway. We went down the hallway and found another reception desk. It was in a common waiting area for many doctor's offices. Each doctor had his name on the door. I told the lady that I wanted to make an appointment with Dr. Torres.  She picked up a little notebook where she had handwritten the days, went to the following Thursday, and wrote 6:00 pm and my name.
The following Thursday we arrived shortly before 6:00 pm to the same area in the building. I checked-in with the receptionist and paid the $90,000 CLP. Within 10 minutes Dr. Torres came out of his office to get us.
His office consisted of his desk with 2 chairs in front of it and another small separate area with a fixed gurney and a place to store his supplies.  We sat down in front of his desk and he went over my medical history, or at least that was what I thought he was going to do. He asked me how to spell my name, my Chilean RUT (ID number used by everyone in Chile) and how old I was. Then he invited me to lay down on his gurney. He cleaned me ear with some betadine and gave me some local injections with lidocaine. They stung a little bit but not too bad. He used a radio frequency surgical unit to remove the lesion which hurt a little. He then bandaged up the surgical site.

I got up from the gurney and sat down with Sally in the chairs in front of his desk while he wrote a prescription for some topical medications. He told us that the lady at the desk would give us the information we needed to send to our insurance company. Here the insurance form, I guess.
And here is his note to go with it.
He had placed the biopsy in an unlabeled jar of formalin which he put on his desk in front of us. I thought, "Good, he is going to send this for evaluation to a pathologist." He then put the jar inside a glove, tied the top of it, gave us the address of the pathology lab, which was on the other side of the plaza and wrote a note to go with the biopsy. He said they were open until 8 pm, and we could take it right then. So that is what we did. Here is the biopsy being delivered to the pathology lab along with his note.
We had no trouble finding the lab. 
Many homes and businesses do not have addresses but this one did. We could also tell it was the right building because it had a picture of a microscope as our clue.
We gave the lady at the desk the biopsy along with the note written by Dr. Torres. She told us that it would cost $45,000 CLP (about $90 USD). Here is the receipt she gave us that we can send to our insurance company.
Why did I pay so many people to process insurance claims all those years in my dental practice? Anyway she told us the results would be ready by next Thursday.  I hope someone labels the jar or maybe the glove serves as the label.

So there you have it, medical care made easy in Chile.

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Home Teaching - What Chile Needs

The greatest need for the Church in Chile is Home Teaching and Visiting Teaching. The following story of my parents is a great example of what can and did happen because of Home Teaching.

Charles Clyde Pulsipher is the grandson of David Pulsipher (b. 1828 - member of the Mormon Batallion). His great-great grandfather, David Pulsipher (b. 1776) and his brother Zera Pulsipher both joined the Church in 1832.

Melba Eilleen Ottley is the granddaughter of William Charles Mellor (b. 1851) who was a 5 year old member of the Martin Handcart Company. William Charles Mellor's mother, Mary Ann Mellor (b. 1817) was portrayed in the movie "17 Miracles" as the woman who refused to continue the trek until her daughter miraculously found a pie on the trail. William Charles Mellor later server a mission to New Zealand
William Charles Mellor

Clyde Pulsipher and Melba Ottley both migrated from Utah to Los Angeles in the 1920's. Notwithstanding their pioneer heritage they were both inactive young adults living in Los Angeles. While Clyde was working as a conductor on the "street cars" they met and were married in 1929. By 1934 they had 4 children including twins. In his own words Clyde describes what happened in 1934.

“While we lived on North Avenue 67 we received our first real contact from the Church since our marriage [five years previous]. The two Robinson brothers visited us each month inviting us to attend Church. One evening Brother Hill, Ward Clerk of Garvanza Ward, visited us and asked me how I would like to be a ward teacher. I hesitated for a moment and asked when he wanted me to go– and he said “tonight”. This was quite a shock. But before we had time to think about it, Brother Hill said we should have prayer and he was down on his knees by the couch. This was the beginning of our activity in the Church.”

They had been "rescued" by Ward (Home) Teaching. What would have happened if the Robinson brothers and Brother Hill had not put forth the effort to help bring them back?  What would have been the fate of their posterity? 

They were sealed together as a family with the 4 young children in the Salt Lake Temple in 1935. They had 6 more children including triplets. They remained faithful to their covenants for the rest of their lives. Clyde & Melba were always faithful in the payment of their tithes and offerings. Clyde's wages were meager. He never made $10,000 a year working as a delivery man of dairy products for Knudsen Creamery for 37 years. He was making less than $4 per hour when he retired in 1969. They raised 10 children on those wages. After receiving his paycheck Clyde would first pay their tithing and Melba would have to "make do" with what was left. She was a master at making things stretch. 

What has happened to Clyde and Melba's posterity nearly 80 years after being "rescued" by Home Teaching?

Total Descendants - 349
Active in the Church - 325  93%

We believe their posterity has been blessed because of their faithfulness and especially because of their faithful payment of tithes and offerings.

There are many Clyde and Melba Pulsiphers here in Chile and everywhere in the world, just waiting for someone to care enough to make those visits. Someone who will get down on his knees and say, "tonight."