by Linda Kilpatrick
I am just a mom of two kids. My eight-year-old is a budding hockey star and six-year-old is a budding hockey starlet. My life of working part time, driving kids to hockey practice twice a week, hockey games on weekends, piano lessons and driving to school was interrupted by 2 1/2 weeks of serving the psychiatric patients and nurses at the psychiatric hospitals in two cities in China.
I am a part-time dental hygienist in Vancouver BC. In November 2015 I went on a medical trip with EMAS China East to offer dental hygiene for psychiatric patients in Xieman and Kunming, China. I was part of an amazing team of 40 professionals among them were doctors, dentists pharmacists, dental assistants, nurses, hygienists and Mandarin speaking translators.
We set up a make shift dental clinic and started seeing patients. In these two weeks I saw things that I have never seen in 20 years of practice in Canada. In some cases, it broke my heart to watch the 20 year residents at these hospitals, with no access to dental care, being led back to their rooms because there was absolutely nothing I could do for them. Their teeth were rotten and broken and overcome with advanced periodontal disease.
At first I had reservations because I do not speak Mandarin, but what amazed me was the fact that although I could not speak, I could still show compassion in many more ways without language. In giving a friendly smile, demonstrating kindness and gentleness as I cared for their mouth, in doing what I could for people who are the forgotten ones, those institutionalized and locked behind doors, unseen.
Consider joining an EMAS team. You can serve, even though you may feel as though you are “just a mom”.
To find out more about our upcoming trips, or to join us in loving the forgotten ones contact Justina Chan
You can support us by helping purchase dental supplies for these patients. Your support will make a difference.
Help provide essential medical training and healthcare services in eastern China:
• $100 helps purchase dental supplies for psychiatric patients at the hospital
• $200 supports a mental health patient’s rehabilitation for one year
• $200 enables a local healthcare worker to attend a medical conference
• $300 provides essential medical support for chronically ill patient