Jungle Medic - Dennys Beach

Wednesday, January 26, 2005

015-29.400 N
089-0.660 W
Marine forecast for this location

Ahoy from Denny's Beach, which is a resort on Lake Izabal which is at the head of the Rio Dulce!

This report is from day 3 of the Jungle Medic Dental Team's mission.  By far this is the nicest location that we've been in.  Denny's Beach is a popular destination for the back-packing crowd and the cruisers who wants to get out of the Rio and hang on a hook without getting the boat salty.    I'd guess that Denny's Beach is about 15 miles up the lake from Fronteras.  Due to Bryan's launch getting stolen (the launch was recovered without the motor), Denny sent his launch to pick us up.  That was wonderful!  Thanks!

Once again we packed all of our gear into a launch for a 1/2 hour ride to Denny's Beach.  What was unique was that we now had 3 dentists!  Eric Mandelbaum and his son, Josh, had finally made it out of the snow bound Boston area and were ready to do some dentistry.  Sue had also recovered enough to make the trip.  I think that even if she had been on her death-bed that she would have made the trip!  The trip along the lake is beautiful, with mountains rising on all sides.  This is a beautiful location!

Denny's Beach had just constructed a new water sports dock and we were going to set up our gear under the small hut at the end of it.  While this was a scenic location to work in, there wasn't a lot of shade.  This definitely called for lots of sun screen and hot working conditions.  The pier leading out to the hut was 2 boards wide, and made for interesting navigation by the people coming and going.

We'd gotten a system down fairly well.  Every family which came through was numbered and each person within the family was assigned a letter which was written on their hand in permanent ink.  Thus family number 4 had 4A, 4B, etc.  Since many of the patients were children, we wanted to keep them together.  Eric provided the initial diagnosis and anesthesia.  He also would write the tooth number(s) needing work on the hands so that when they arrived at the other dentists, the dentists could quickly tell what to work on.

Sue's goal was to keep all of the instruments sterilized, syringes filled, patients organized and to keep things running.  I was Pam's assistant and once again got an eyeful of dental procedures.  Pam offered to let me extract teeth on patients where it would be very easy to do so, but I declined.  I could handle all being an assistant, but pulling teeth!  Yuck!

Most of the people who came were from a village several miles away.  Many of the men from the village are employed doing construction at Denny's Beach.  They're building a house there, and the quality of the construction is amazing considering that they live in thatched huts. 

We had a constant stream of people coming through, and we finally stopped working at around 3 PM.  Late in the afternoon the drill hand-set had frozen up and we couldn't get it running.  As a result we only could do extractions.  Bryan only has one handset, so that is a major single point of failure as well as being a single shared resource.  If anyone knows a dentist who has hand-sets that they're no longer using, I'm sure that Bryan would love to get them.

Denny's Beach was a wonderful host.  They bent over backwards to pick us up, feed us a great lunch, and were just nice people.  Thanks a lot!

-- Geoff & Sue and all of the crew to the right

Log ID: 626

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Photos/Video: Photo Album Jungle Medic at Denny's Beach 

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