Monthly Archives: January 2013

Meeting minutes Wednesday night 1/30/13

Agenda 1/30/13
Attendees – Benjamin, Andrea, James, Jerry, Karen, Donna, Jill, Leigh, Sue, Brooke
-Clothes – We have to reduce our clothing donation collection. It is becoming an obstacle to care. We will now only accept warm, clean outer clothing such as coats, gloves, hats, and new, warm socks. Other donations should be sent to Catholic Community Services who give clothes away to those in need.
– last Sunday debrief – Patient code named “Badger”, challenged the group and came out of the Occupy Medical system doing much, much better than before. We saw 26 patients total. Many of the patients were seen by different practitioners.
– Reality Kitchen – The Friday Clinic will be better used if we advertise it better.
– Friday Clinic – Sue and Karen will need to work out how to get the records to the Friday Clinic. Donna, Brooke and Jill offered to help organize the supplies and get a supply list together.
– Electrical update – James says that we are electrically sound as long as we have enough extension cords. We need more industrial extension cords. We need an official cord cover so no one will trip and sue us.
– Volunteer safety guidelines – We consensed that we keep a professional but friendly boundary between the patient and the provider. We do not take our patients home with us. We also do not give out needles. Ever.
– HIV/Alliance – We are not able to loan out our bus at this time. Needle Exchange is welcome to send patients for wound care to Friday clinic.
– Heat – Leigh has a heater with a fan to offer for Sunday Clinics. Donna and Ben did not think a small ceramic heater would be adequate for the tent. The group declined to try closing off all or part of the tent. Insulated panels for the tent are pending volunteers to sew them. Contact Sue for details.
– Feb. 4th Rally – We are circulating names and numbers for getting together to carpool to the rally.
– Emerald FEAST – The FEAST is tomorrow night at 6. Arwen and Sue will be presenting a powerpoint on behalf of the group.
– website update – No more calendar on our site (Google calendar did not play nicely with WordPress). We now have a contact page. We have a google gmail account, receiving emails as well as voicemail transcriptions. Expanded our website wishlist.
– Womenspace – Womenspace is strapped for cash and volunteers right now but we need to team up with them to form an alliance.
– new volunteers – Brooke was a new volunteer in intake. Donna approved of having her back as a trained volunteer for this station. A formalized volunteer intake protocol is up each individual station manager. Brooke volunteered to help us with communications. We need more volunteer bus drivers.
– Communications Liaison – OM consensed that we will open a position to take control of electronic communications. Nurse Donna volunteered to keep the PSAs on KLCC going.
Dental Extraction – The White Bird Clinic is talking to us about getting together for the next dental  clinic. The next meeting is Saturday at 9am.

The New Bathroom

A typical shift at Occupy Medical is pretty serious business. We work long hours, without pay, in all kinds of weather with people who are suffering from sadly neglected medical conditions. For the last year, we have done all of this work without access to a bathroom. Imagine our delight, when the city offered us a free porta potty. Obviously, we are grateful.774565_193986244077694_697280682_o

 OM’s sparkly, new alter-able bathroom

The bathroom was huge hit. Our practical volunteer Benjamin’s 1st thought when he saw this big, blue wonder was, ” I could’ve had another cup of coffee.”  The luxury of a clean bathroom was not wasted on our patients either. Now we can give urine based tests such as pregnancy tests. This is the start of even better service at the Sunday OM Clinic.

The girls in the nurse’s station organized a grand opening. Susan suggested a toilet paper cutting ceremony instead of a ribbon cutting ceremony.  As you can see by the photos below, we loved it. Good call, Susan, good call.774462_193986324077686_987077852_o

Meeting Notes – 1/23/13

Meeting notes at New Day Bakery – 1/23/13
Attendees – Andrea, Elliott, Sue, Leigh, Karen, Jerry, James, Char, Joe and Ambrose
Info line stats – White Bird gave us an example of their stat collection sheet. Bill reminded us that since we are discussing collecting data,
Information needed – gender, housed, insured, employed,
Volunteer behavior agreement – Elliott suggested that our discussion based on compliance to the mission of the clinic. We agreed to review the orientation information and make written suggestions for its evolution.
exam tables – Dr. Leigh and Karen asked that the red blood draw chairs to be taken out. Group consensed.
Remodel – Joe proposed walls and doors for the bus. We discussed partial walls and vinyl curtains.
quarterly report – Sue passed out the quarterly report for approval. Consensus achieved.
locksmith – James fixed the back door lock. Much happiness.
policy manual – Dr. Leigh brought up the policy statement. The needle stick protocol is part of this policy. Need to have a plan for getting a positive result on HIV/AIDS.
Friday Clinic – Karen presented the updates on the Friday Clinic. Currently, we have more staff than patients. We need to get the word out about the clinic. Ambrose agreed to advertise the clinic. He would like to have a flyer to send out. The bus will be driven by Karen.
Vaccines – We gave 23 vaccines out on Sunday. LCPH was happy to have the chance to get their stuff out there.
Egan Warming Center – Consensus for taking Egan up on their offer to share part of their grant from the city and in exchange for up keeping their 1st aid kits and offering a foot care clinic.
Station titles – Instead of a numerical system, we are called by our titles: Intake, Triage, Doctor, Nurse, Treatment, Mental Health, and Dental.
Donations – Please take the donations to back room. Sue will send Terry McDonald from St. Vincent de Paul an email asking for access to the Coburg clinic to use as storage.

Deep January clinic. (by Dr. Leigh)

Dude. Winter is here. Winter is here, and we’re making it – most of us.

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One patient said, “Remember, you told me to quit smoking a few months ago? Well, I did it.”

Another said, “The blood pressure medicine you gave me last time? It’s working.”

Another said, “I ran out of refills last week. I thought I was just S.O.L.” ["Seriously out of luck."] (I changed their dosage by a few milligrams, and saved them $40 a month. In other words, I made it possible for them to have any medicine at all, since they didn’t have $40.)

One patient needed, in my estimation, a “simple” skin surgery – simple under normal circumstances, but here? They came back after 2 hours, as I’d asked them, to get a second opinion. In the meantime, they got a tetanus shot. The second-opinion doctor examined them carefully, and finally said, “You should just come into my office, and I’ll do it for free.” Like I said, simple.

The Public Health Department nurses were there, giving free tetanus/pertussis vaccinations, and hanging out with us. We had new nurses. We had a full Triage team, like a well oiled machine. We had new volunteers helping keep track of patients and their medical records. (We take health-record privacy very seriously.)

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Over in the tent, we had a big crock pot full of hot vegetable bean stew; hot tea; home baked bread. Donna said, “I’m still trying to give away these boots,” indicating a large pair of insulated leather-and-rubber winter boots. I got my hair cut in the tent, chatting with a friendly social worker while Benjamin made me look stylish. Food Not Bombs came and set up next door, with more hot soup and bread for everybody.

We have pretty earnest, good-hearted fun at the Occupy Medical clinic. I had a student with me, and I was telling her, This clinic is for everyone, for free, every Sunday. We see a fair number of people who are unemployed and unhoused, and don’t have many resources other than their wits and good looks, but it’s mainly because of where we park the bus, downtown.

If we parked the bus in the Wal-Mart parking lot, we’d still be super busy all afternoon, with people who might have houses to go home to, but they mostly would still lack proper health resources, such as insurance that pays for doctor and dentist visits, lab tests, x-rays, and medicine.

And If we parked the bus at the health-food supermarket, where people go to get their fancy French cheeses, organic blueberries, and herbal toothpaste – we’d still be busy all day. Just because you have $10 to buy a gluten-free frozen pizza, doesn’t mean you have $250 for a single doctor or dentist visit – or $600 a month for health insurance.

No matter where we go, there we are! No matter where we park the Occupy Medical clinic bus, we’ll always be busy, because injury and illness happen in every social class, and people are falling through the cracks in our broken social system at faster and faster rates, as service budgets are cut and insurance premiums rise. This is why, at Occupy Medical clinic, we don’t ask people to prove they’re poor enough to deserve our services (or rich enough to “make it worth our while”). Health care is a human right, not a scarce commodity.

Meanwhile, since we are parked downtown on a Sunday afternoon, we see a lot of folks who’ve been getting really cold. And we get cold, too. It’s cold! When I got out of my nice warm bed this morning, the online newspaper said it was 28 degrees with “freezing fog.”

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We’ve had freezing fog for a week now. I’m seeing more people with bad asthma attacks from it. One guy called it “cold smog.” Today I saw one person with pneumonia. She called it “Occuplague,” after the terrible bronchitis people got last winter in the Occupy camps, nationwide, from living outside. I told her, your lungs sound like a teakettle that’s boiling – they’re gurgling. My little pulse oximeter showed she wasn’t getting a normal amount of oxygen into her blood.

The shelters generally kick everybody out, every morning, no matter what the weather, so people have to basically walk around all day, if they don’t have a job or school to go to. Last week I took a photo of the view out the window, where I work on the bus. The ornamental pond across the street, with the metal fish sculpture in it, was covered with little icebergs. It’s so cold, and folks are obliged to just kind of walk around all day. So they get sick.

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Did you know that the other local do-gooder low-income clinics are now over-full, and can’t take new patients? One administrator came and visited us a couple weeks ago, to ask, hopefully and apologetically, if we will be able to handle the patients they can’t.

But it’s not all bad news. There’s a lot of good news. I get patients coming back in to show me that they got better, with care. Also, after months of wrangling, protests, and peer pressure, the City has provided the Clinic with a porta-potty. This makes a huge difference! For example, it makes life much easier for our volunteers, who stay on the site for 4-6 hours at a time, often coffee-fueled and unable to stop their work to hike down the street and buy something in a coffeeshop, for the privilege of using a bathroom. It’s also a service to our patients – can you imagine what it’s like to try to get to the doctor for a severe gastrointestinal ailment, or to take small children downtown to be seen, and there’s no bathroom? We can also do pregnancy tests and simple urinalysis now. It’s just incredible. It’s practically “first-world.”

The City has also allowed us to plug into the park’s power supply – after we took out an extra-large insurance policy protecting the City from any lawsuits – the kind of insurance policy that would be appropriate for a giant rock-and-roll show. Oh, well. At least we have lights – and a wee space heater, at the chilly doctor’s elbow.

We’re feeling pretty fat and sassy, now, in fact, with our fancy electric lights, and our porta-potty, and our hot drinks and pot of soup. Benjamin, the guerrilla hairstylist, can even run clippers and a blow-dryer, as I found out myself today. Stay tuned for the Friday clinic, staffed by a heroic team of nurses – a dedicated Wound Care Clinic. By golly, if elected officials can’t figure out how to provide health care as a human right, we’ll just have to do it ourselves! We could be heroes, just for one day.

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Occupy Medical clinic is tremendously excited to welcome any new volunteers who can offer any skill. Particularly needed are additional primary-care doctors, nurses, pharmacists, caring-profession students and trainees, dentists, dental hygenists, certified herbalists, veterinarians, pet groomers, licensed bodyworkers, counselors, social workers, mechanics, engineers, bus drivers, roadies, bouncers, organizers, fundraisers, statisticians, publicists, printers, artists, photographers, seamstresses, group facilitators, workshop teachers, friends, neighbors, cheerleaders, and people to help set up and tear down.

About the Public Health Department vaccine programs: http://www.lanecounty.org/Departments/HHS/PubHlth/Pages/lcph_immunizations.aspx#adults

About Food Not Bombs: http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=_jZKjBVXGJI#!

Meeting Notes – 1/16/13

Agenda 1/16/13
Attendance – Andrea, Donna, Bill, Elliot, Jerry, Joe, James and Sue
Passed out mail and signed thank you cards to donors.
We have been sending out thank you cards for donations unless the donor declines contact. (anonymous donors)
The Church of the Resurrection grant was approved and they sent us their check.
Egan Warming Center – We may be best suited to provide and restock the medical kits. Egan has a wonderful collection of medically trained volunteers.
Vaccine clinic this Sunday from 12-4pm. We have spread the word through the community. Bus Retrofitting the bus – the shelves that James and Jerry put in were fabulous and we look forward to more shelving to fit more wound care equipment
Electrical problems with the bus. Joe says that we can run another plug out of the other electrical outlet for heating hot water for the wound clinic and hot water for tea for patients. We need more heavy electrical cords.
February 1st meeting with Saturday Market permit administrators. James and Jerry will attend this meeting.
We need a bus driver for the Friday clinic
Storage – We could use the Monaco Couch Clinic for storing the extra stuff that is currently at Jerry’s house. Jerry will contact Terry McDonald to confirm. Monacare is the name of the clinic that is available to us.
501c3 – The group agreed to help Sue with the 501c3 status paperwork.
Parvo shots for “saving puppies in the park”. OM has consensed on paying for 10 more parvo shots so that we can have another puppy day. Each shot runs about $6.

Meeting Notes – 1/9/13

Meeting agenda – 1/9/13
Robert, Ed and Melissa from Egan Warming Center, Andrea, Gerry, Karen, James, Arwen, Bill, Sue, Donna in attendance
-electrical updates from Jerry. Working out the kinks of plugging the bus to an outside source.
-Should be able to plug into electrical outlet at Park Blocks this Sunday
-Needed to change the outlet covers
Egan Warming Center opportunity
-Call Michael Wist on coming through with the funding for port-o-potty
-$5000 grant opportunity to support the Egan Warming Center
-Nurse Robert discussed some of the scenarios that they encounter at the Egan Warming Centers
-Downtown site is the main site (1st Christian Church)
-May activate tomorrow night. Activation goes to 1st alert email and facebook sites. This gives volunteers a few days of warning.
-Next volunteer training is January 16th from 6-8 and January 19th from 9-11 at 1st Christian Church (Oak and 14th)
-most of the medical issues are respiratory, wounds, trench foot, withdrawal issues (DTs), and hypothermia
-ask to speak with the site lead when we come by to visit the centers in our neighborhoods. The Center opens at 7pm.
dental clinic- Dental clinic is full. Dr. Peter will handle the medical side of the clinic. We need another 1st Aid kit for the clinic.
-Donna suggested working with White Bird Dental Clinic to host the next dental clinics.
vaccine clinic-Still need printouts on vaccine clinic
Friday clinic- This clinic has 2 options for parking the bus – Reality Kitchen or CALC.
February 4th rally-Invited by the Democratic Party of Lane County to show up at the Salem Healthcare Rally. Consensus on sending OM up to represent and we will also ask them for gas money. We are also invited to speak for 5 to 10 minutes at the rally.
speaker panel – Democrats invited us to participate on a panel on healthcare. More information later.
survival center- Invited to put together a workshop for Survival Center as part of their healthcare series. They offered compensate us. Bill, Sue and Arwen expressed interest in this project.
Written and posted by Sue Sierralupe