Today in OKlahoma City
- We had our first day of medical missionary work today.
Many times during the day I had to go outside because I was about to
These four people have come from Hutchinson, Kansas, Dr. Tom Smith and
his wife Lois, Dr. Doug Ball and his wife Becky. Dr. Tom is an ear,
nose, throat specialist, and Dr. Doug is an optometrist.
They started at 9:30 this morning, and finished up at just after 9 PM,
more than 100 people later. We started at Positive Tomorrows, a
public school for homeless children (pre K through 12). It's next
door to Epworth Methodist, which has a free clinic on Saturdays, and
that's the space we used for the exams.
Then we went to Catholic Charities, and saw patients from Afghanistan,
Iraq, Iran, Lebanon, Vietnam, and Latin America. About 1:30, we went
to Holy Angels parish, which is located in an impoverished Hispanic
There were about 25 people waiting. Lou Ann Batey, a member of our
local CW community, who also goes to my parish and is an RN, also
volunteered and did blood pressures all day. Sister Melania, a
Carmelite novice, translated and registered people as they arrived,
figuring out whether they wanted to see Dr. Tom or Dr. Doug or both.
Joan Woolley, also from Epiphany parish, helped Sister Melania and
also helped with the many kids, while her husband Pat went from place
to place to find a replacement bulb for one of the optometry tools.
Lisa from St. Charles parish helped with the registration and also
with the translating. I had to go up to Epiphany for a while, and
when I got back about 5:30, I counted 55 people in the church hall.
About 6 Sister Melania started telling people who were still coming in
the door to come back tomorrow. Becky helped with the eye
examinations and frame selection (they brought a lot of frames with
them, and made an arrangement for lens, so those who need glasses are
getting them). Lois was Tom's nurse and did some hearing tests.
Anyway, back to my several quick trips outside.
Watching all these people work together for this common good was
almost too beautiful to describe in words. And some of the situations
that we came across! An elderly couple, legal residents, not eligible
though for Medicare, she needs a hearing aid pretty bad, and he has
diabetes and is blind with cataracts. He went to the major Oklahoma
eye institute (Dean McGee), and when they found out that we he wasn't
eligible for Medicare, they weren't interested in him as a patient any
I spoke with another man who has been injured on the job twice. The
first injury, a broken bone in his arm, he didn't get any workmans
compensation treatment, even though he reported it to his boss. He
said he ended up going all the way back to Mexico and pay a doctor.
Now he has an injury to his other arm, and what he described to me
seemed pretty minimal medical treatment. He's worked on this job for
You'd get tears in your eyes too if you were in the middle of all
Tomorrow we start at 8:30 at Catholic charities, and then at 1 we're
going back to Holy Angels and then on Thursday morning we go to the
Jesus House homeless shelter, and in the afternoon drive out to
Tahlequah for a free clinic that evening; Thursday night we'll be at
the monastery at Clear Creek. And then on Friday we're back in
They arrived Monday, just in time to help me plant the elderberry,
blackberry, dewberry, strawberry, rose and currant bushes, plus a few
kale plants. Late that afternoon we checked out the Jesus House, and
did the first 10 social justice stations of of the cross. We had
supper with Art and Marianne Mertens. Then that night about 9 PM we
went downtown and did the 11th and 12th stations, the latter between
the Oklahoma City National Memorial. And yes, this morning we prayed
the Divine Mercy novena before starting the day's activities.
No doubt the devil was up to no good across the world today, which
just goes to show the need for more days like today at Holy Angels in
Oklahoma City. Please keep us in your prayers, especially our medical
Oscar Romero Catholic Worker House
- Thanks, Robert, for the inspiring report. Our new house--the Jeannine
Coallier Catholic Worker--is going well but we're not doing nearly the
wonderful outreach you are. Rosalie Riegle
[Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
- Day II went much smoother than Day I, in that we were more organized,
and more than 100 patients were examined, including people from India,
Pakistan, Iran, Iraq, Bosnia, and Latin America.
I'm glad to hear your new house is doing well, but I remind you that
we are still making this up as we go along. The reason we are having
the clinics is that the doctors found us through our web page, and
persevered even though I was dubious at first and tried to suggest
that they go to some other Catholic Worker house that was "better
organized than we are". (I actually said that to them. Are sounds of
laughter drifting up from the other list members?)
This has also been good for the growing number of folks involved here.
A bunch of them showed up yesterday and today, and asked me, "what
should we do?" I replied, "You know as much about this as I do." so
they invented, on the spot, a sign in procedure, designed a form
(which we drew on blank paper the first day with a pencil) for the
people to sign, figured out the Spanish words for eye, ear, nose,
throat, the docs got set up and we started doing a land office
business, as people round here say.
On Day II, one of the volunteers brought in a printed form he had made
from our pencilled forms, and we started our second day. I and others
learned how to take blood pressures and do an eye exam with one of
those paper charts (having one of us do that part of the eye exam
speeded things up with the doc).
I also had a chance to practice my Spanglish, scraping the back
corners of the brain for vocabulary and verb conjugations from high
school and college Spanish.
Today we are heading out to eastern Oklahoma, and will do a clinic in
Tahlequah, and spend the night at the Clear Creek Monastery. when we
get back, we decided last night to put noticesin the bulletins of
parishes to recruit local doctors to do this at Holy Angels maybe once
Oscar Romero House inOKC
From: Rosalie Riegle <riegle@...>
To: email@example.com <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: Wednesday, April 03, 2002 7:38 AM
Subject: Re: [cathworker] Today in OKlahoma City
>Thanks, Robert, for the inspiring report. Our new house--theJeannine
>Coallier Catholic Worker--is going well but we're not doing nearlythe
>wonderful outreach you are. Rosalie Riegle
>[Non-text portions of this message have been removed]