MiSSiON TRiP: RAM-Bristol, Tennessee

This past weekend I attended my very first mission trip! This trip led me to Bristol, Tennessee… a very rural area faced with high poverty rates and in great need of medical care. This was my very first solo adventure; I planned and booked the entire concept independently, but I wasn’t alone for long as I was very happy to work with the Remote Area Medical Volunteer Corps agency; this is an amazing company founded by Stan Brock, I highly recommend you read more about himย {here}ย he is an incredible individual with a amazing vision.

RAM travels all around the United States setting up free clinics, run 100% by volunteers, their focus is rural medicine for Americans who have found themselves in difficult circumstances, and who do not have health insurance or receive regular medical care. There are many services available, dentures, x-rays and hearing aids were the first to go!

The clinics run Friday through Sunday, 5 am to 5 pm and numbered tickets are passed out at 3 am the day of the clinic. (some patients waited outside for over twelve hours for a pass?!) It was well worth their time though, once they arrive through the gates, paperwork is completed, vitals are taken and and services are selected: Dental, Medical or Vision.

The clinic I attended was at Bristol Motor Speedway!
~Such a fun location to work, it was a state of the art facility and an iconic southern landmark,
a very cool place to get behind the scenes access! We even got to take a couple laps around the track ๐Ÿ™‚

This is my OMGOSH I’m really alive and working at 5 am selfie?!
I had never intentionally been awake and ready to go at this hour before, so it was kind of a big deal. I hear this is the “magic hour” for successful people to get ahead, so I would like to become more familiar… we’ll see…ย 

DAY ONE: I worked registration and triage; completing paperwork and taking patients vitals.ย After everyone was logged in, I assisted MDs and PAs with the general medicine station

DAY TWO: I assisted at the dental medicine station. I’ve always been fond of going to the dentist, so I thought this would be fun! I had never seen SO many teeth extractions and infections?! The dentists were wonderful to work with and the patients were more than appreciative for their work, some patients extracted entire rows of their teeth?! There was a lot of blood, a lot of drilling and in most cases more mouths full of guaze than teeth… After the long day I made sure to floss and use mouth wash after I brushed! ๐Ÿ˜‰ Dental medicine was the THE most in demand station, and after the long wait, we were happy to see so many people leave pain free!

DAY THREE: I worked at the Vision Center. I helped to measure patients for their perscription strength and then assisted them in picking out their frames! “Shopping” with the patients was really fun, there was a huge selection to pick from and I enjoyed holding the mirror while they each analyzed their look. After selecting the perfect frames, their custom lenses were created in the “vision lab,” which was set up in one of the 18-wheeler cabs. I cannot imagine going a day without my glasses or contacts and I’m so happy the patients don’t have to either now, thanks to RAM.

3 days of work at the RAM clinic was very different than 3 days of work at the urgent care clinic
to say the least!

A weekend filled with great weather and awesome service, proved to be an amazing opportunity. I am so thankful for my very positive RAM experience! My fellow volunteers were so friendly, fun and gracious and the patients were incredible, each was so appreciative and grateful, it made everything SO worthwhile. I can’t wait for the next clinic!

Here is the official report from our time together:

To schedule your own RAM trip, go to theirย {website}

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