Maria Teresa Salasar, her daughter Guillermina Isabel Salasar, and Guillermina’s young daughter Arianna pack into a tiny, bright yellow waiting room below a painting of a butterfly with the words, “The faithfulness of the Lord endures forever.” Diane Ramirez, a medical assistant with a fluffy hot pink bow in her caramel hair, translates for the Salasar family. But when she asks them what help Covenant has been giving them, Ramirez doesn’t have to translate their initial answer. Maria Teresa and Guillermina together exclaim, “Mucho!”
Maria Teresa sticks out her left foot and points to the spot where her big toe used to be. She explains through Ramirez that it was amputated two years ago, a result of the diabetes that Maria Teresa couldn’t get treated during the years she lived in Texas. Then she points to her right foot, at the big toe and ankle, which have been carefully bandaged. Through Ramirez, she explains that her right foot, which was severely ulcerated, has been saved from potential amputation through the care she is finally receiving through Covenant.
Maria Teresa’s husband is insured, but his insurance doesn’t extend to her, and he makes so little that there wasn’t enough left to pay for her treatment at clinics in Texas. Even now that he and Maria Teresa live in Michigan, $600 of the $800 he earns every month goes to rent. Guillermina Isabel discovered that Covenant, of all the clinics in the area, would see her mother. Maria Teresa was living in Texas and going on periodic trips to Mexico for care, including the amputation. No one would see her regularly. Now she is getting regular care at Covenant and through a dermatologist to whom Covenant referred her.
The doctors at Covenant send Maria Teresa to low-cost pharmacies that charge minimally for insulin. When she needs care from specialists, they have referred Maria Teresa to specialists who do not charge. The nurse at Waterman has taught Guillermina and Maria Teresa how to clean and bandage the ulcer on Maria Teresa’s foot. The care she has received over the past four months has possibly, so Maria Teresa and Guillermina believe, prevented a second amputation.