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Sunday is the day for doctors

Jan 18, 2016

By Laura Sumner Coon

As long as there has been a clinic, there have been people turned away at the end of the day. There is a limit to how many teeth a dentist can pull, patients a doctor can treat and glasses the group can dispense.

It’s human nature to want a place in line. So when the clinic opens Sunday, a day when no one needs to work, it is flooded with families. Temperatures don’t help. The mercury has stayed in the mid-90s. Nurses have triaged more than 600 people, and many are returning for the second or third time to be seen.

Occupying time is the most challenging task. Children crowd to the coloring table while parents sit in line. Suddenly, Barbara O’Connell stands in the courtyard and explains that she is a retired Spanish teacher. She knows a couple of verses to two Spanish songs, and begins to sing, , swinging her arms in a motion to encourage the patients to join in. Her idea is a hit. People laugh and sing with her.

When she repeats the show on Monday, a gentleman stands and says in Spanish, “We would like to sing to you.” He and a number of older patients begin singing about people with good hearts, and he motions to members of the team nearby, indicating the crowd’s thanks for their service.

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