Kauai residents are grateful for Tropic Care services

ELEELE — For Suzanne Pearson, getting services from Tropic Care staff is a blessing.

“They’re fun, professional and nice,” she said. “They’re taking time out of their life to help us for free.”

On Thursday, Pearson, was waiting to get dental work at the clinic at Eleele School. She arrived at 7:30 a.m. to get a good spot in line.

“I got a checkup, got my blood pressure checked and got X-rays taken,” she said. “Now, I’m going in for an extraction.”

Pearson, who lives in Koloa, said she’s coming back later in the week to get a filing and pick up a pair of glasses.

Kolohe Kapu got his wisdom teeth removed Thursday.

“They did a really good job,” the Kalaheo man said. “The surgeon said it was the most difficult procedure he’s done.”

Maj. April Perrimon-Mills, who runs the Eleele site, said Kapu will come back to get his stitches checked and for a teeth cleaning before the clinic packs up.

Between Monday and Wednesday, 1,661 patients visited the clinics, and Tropic Care provided 8,015 procedures. Those numbers already surpass those from last year, said Lauren Guest, public health preparedness planner for the Hawaii State Department of Health.

“We are very happy that so many Kauai residents have made it out to the clinics,” she said.

On Thursday in Eleele, the Tropic Care staff had five stations, including a pharmacy, available. Residents had the option of going to all of the stations or going straight to a specific one.

The dental and vision stations had the most lines. And, as of about about 1 p.m., 62 people were registered at the clinic.

Vilma Lastimosa said she hasn’t taken advantage of Tropic Care services in about a decade.

“There’s more services here than the last time I came,” she said. “There’s teeth cleaning and you can get filings.”

Lastimosa and her sister, Levi Regodos, both from the Westside, were impressed by the level of care and attention they received.

“They’re such professionals,” Regodos said.

Lastimosa added: “They have awesome services. They’re so nice and detailed.”

Both women came to Eleele School for dental work.

Clare Balley-Domine of Hanapepe was waiting in line for a dental appointment.

“Most people have health insurance, but they don’t have dental coverage,” she said.

Tropic Care Kauai, which started Monday, offers medical services, including physical exams, physical therapy, dental exams, a limited number of dental cleanings, dental fillings, tooth extractions, eye exams and single focus eyeglasses until June 21.

Kauai residents can go to Eleele Elementary School, the Kauai Community College and Kapaa Middle School, and bus service to each of the clinics are free.

Perrimon-Mills expects it to get busier during the weekend.

“There’s been an ebb and flow of crowds today,” she said.

Nina Medeiros, of Kalaheo, was also was in line for a teeth cleaning.

She said it’s important to support Tropic Care.

“If you don’t use their services, they might be gone,” she said.

Medeiros, who had been waiting in line since 8 a.m., said Thursday was her first time at a Tropic Care clinic.

“I wanted to check out their services,” she said.

Madeline Dickens, of Lawai, was in line to get her eyes examined.

“Getting old is hard, and my biggest fear is not being able to see,” she said. “I want to be able to drive for at least one more year.”

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TGI reporter, Dennis Fujimoto, contributed to this report.

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