Vail nurses find a world of need
VAIL, Colorado ” In eight days, thousands came to Jennifer Davis for help.
People walked for hours to the isolated Nepali village where she was. One man carried his sick father on his back for four hours.
The list of ailments seems endless: wounds, rashes, ringworm, gastrointestinal problems, cancer, malnutrition, irregular heartbeat, cataracts, back pain.
But Davis, a nurse at Vail Valley Medical Center, knows there is much more need there than she even saw.
“We’re just touching the tip of what we can do,” she said.
Davis and Autumn Outslay, both nurses at the Vail hospital, recently returned from helping the poor in Asia.
Outslay, an Edwards resident, went to India, where she worked in orphanages, leper colonies and slums for two weeks. Outslay traveled to Manali and Dehli last November through Glenwood Springs-based Nurses With a Purpose.
She changed bandages, treated infections and taught people about things we consider basic, such as good hygiene. She gave out medicine, books, crayons, toothbrushes and soap.
Some of the people she saw, including lepers, are so low in India’s caste system that it’s hard for them to get medical care.
Davis, also of Edwards, went to Nepal last fall through a program that’s run by the owner of Narayan’s restaurant in Avon. For her, the trip combined two passions: traveling and nursing.
“Just being able to offer assistance, to be able to help people is something I love and how I try to live my life,” she said.
She spent a couple of days at a clinic in Katmandu and then headed to the mountain village of Phalebas. It took a 10-hour bus ride and a four-hour trek to get to the mountain village, which had just recently gotten electricity and a well.
Some of the ailments she saw, like cancer and heart conditions, were very serious ” too serious to treat fully at a clinic.
“You know these people need so much more than you can offer,” Davis said.
Everyone wanted a pill, for all kinds of problems, she said. They wanted a pill for their grandfather because he talked too much. They wanted a pill for their child who had poor memory.
Davis pulled lots and lots of teeth, too, and gave lessons on the importance of brushing. Villagers were amazed when they put on donated eyeglasses that Davis and her fellow volunteers brought.
Both Davis and Outslay said they want to go on another medical mission trip.
“It definitely opened our eyes,” Outslay said. “We have so much and these people don’t have anything.”
Staff Writer Edward Stoner can be reached at 748-2929 or email@example.com.
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VAIL — The lift operator in the maze at Vail Village’s Gondola One tilts his head back and hollers: “Masks up please!”