What a week in Mexico City taught me
2017 Mexico Outreach Trip
Let’s set the stage. 12 Doctors of Chiropractic and 6 students closed their doors and packed a bag and headed to Mexico City for a singular purpose…to change the landscape of health in Mexico. Doctors from London, Barcelona, El Salvador, and all across the United States came together to fulfill this promise.
My name is Dr. Rich Baez and I practice in Boulder, CO. The decision to close up shop and head to Mexico City was an easy one to make. This was the 5th trip I have embarked on in the past 4 years, spanning from India to El Salvador. These trips each hold a special place in my heart. There really is nothing like going to a different country where you do not know the language, where these patients are trying to tell you their stories, and in that moment the only thing that you can communicate back to them is that you have something special to offer. Something they have never had before. Something that you know will change their life. And the only way to convey that is the look in your eye, an open heart, and gentle touch. With this, language exits the equation.
I can remember vividly a husband and wife who brought in their 6-month-old daughter to get checked by us in India 2013. They were trying to explain how their daughter had a bad reaction to a therapy that was given to her 3 months previous. The little girls eyes were literally spinning in her head. The left and right eyes were moving independent of each other…something that should never happen. The amount of trust it took for those parents to hand that baby girl to my team is something I still think about to this day. How a parent can hand over this precious gem to complete strangers who can only communicate with their love and certainty. We checked this babies brain function and no surprise it was compromised. We gave her a specific Atlas (top bone in the spine) adjustment and the little girls eyes instantly stopped moving and focused on her mother. The level of emotion that came out of that moment is not something that can be typed here, it is not something that can ever be recreated. The mother broke down, picked up her baby, and shared a moment so precious it will never leave my mind. This is what we expect with every adjustment, every patient.
And so, here we are again, June 25th 2017, as I arrive at the hotel we will be based out of for the next 7 days. A few of us arrive around 8pm where the rest of our group is having a meeting in the hotel lobby getting everyone prepared for the week to come (well the best you can, especially for the new people). The level of calm I had sitting through that meeting was a new experience. Normally I’d be anxious or nervous about the day to come. The level of emotional drainage, pressure to perform, etc. would normally leave me trembling. This trip was different. My calm was not shared by all, looking out at the new faces who’s first trip was only hours away, I could see that level of anxiety in their faces. I knew they would need to lean on the veterans for support, and we were ready to be there for them.
Monday morning and we all gather at 7:30 to do our morning warm ups, check our equipment, and get our hearts and minds ready for what’s to come. The bus arrives at 8 am to bring us to our work site outside a market in Cuajimalpa. On the bus I keep waiting for that nervousness to come, those jitters I had come to expect. But they never did. Arriving at our site, we saw what they had constructed for us, a giant canopy, easily 100’x40’ with a few people waiting for us to get set up. This small group waiting would grow day by day. By Friday, there would be a line of 80-100 people waiting for us to set up for our 9 am start time. That level of excitement for the work we were bringing did not stop or change throughout the day. It got to the point where we couldn’t, although more like wouldn’t, break for lunch. Instead, 2 members of our teams of 4 would break for 10-15 minutes to eat, then rush back to continue working. There was no time to stop; the line of people never broke. In fact, the hardest part was having to tell people at 5 pm we were packing up and they’d have to try and make it in the following day. This blistering pace allowed us to see 5,368 people in our 6 short days. The best part though was seeing many of the same people coming back day after day to get checked. In fact, those who did return day after day came with their family, their friends.
I wanted to share one story with you quickly from a ~30 woman we saw from Tue-Sat. She came in around 4 pm and when we went to check her, she began to tear up. The slightest pressure on her neck caused her extreme pain. She was unable to kneel due to her full body pain so we had to adapt and use a different position. We made that specific adjustment and she immediately broke down crying. This caused her a tremendous amount of pain as you can imagine and we thought she would not return the next day. But lo and behold she was there the following afternoon to get checked. We checked her and she did not need an adjustment that day. She was thrilled! So much so that on Thursday she came with her son. We checked the both of them and both needed care. They came in Friday and did not need an adjustment. On Saturday, I decided to ask her how she was feeling, what was going on since Tuesday. She said to me that she had a small amount of neck pain and low back pain, however her full body pain was gone and the level of pain she had dropped from a daily 10/10 to 2/10. Besides that, she looked like a different person. She was smiling ear to ear. I adjusted her that day and told her that I’d be back in January to check her again. She was one of many similar stories.
There’s a quote by BJ Palmer, “You never know how far reaching something you think, say, or do TODAY will impact the lives of others tomorrow”. Yes, we helped this woman live a different life because of this work. BUT not only did her life change, now she can be a different mother for her son. His life is now changed. Her life will never be the same again, nor will anyone she comes in contact with. That is why I go on these trips. That is why I spend thousands of my own dollars to be there. That is why I close my practice to go. Her life will never be the same again, and neither will mine.
I have a vision to bring this work to all of Colorado. So many of us are struggling with our health, some more severely that others. My vision is to check every man, woman, and child in the Front Range and deliver care when necessary. Help me achieve this goal. It is up to us to bring this type of care not only to places like Mexico, but right here in our own backyards.
Yours in Health,
Dr. Rich Baez