Monday, November 15, 2010
Friday, November 12, 2010
Our clinic room... looks just like your OB/GYN's office, right? (Well, maybe except for the fact that they usually change the bed covering there more than once every two days or so...)
"Meet the Team", continued... (Sorry, these keep kind of posting in random order and I'm scared to mess with them once I finally got them up successfully!) This is Pat with Dr. Calvin Williams, his wife Latrice and daughter Brittany, from the St. Louis area.
Another couple of views of the operating room, for those who haven't seen it before...
The next one was supposed to be posted last Sunday or Monday, as a "meet the team" picture... Heidi Bell, Cyndi Lawton, Keith Nelson, and Pat Peabody (with a little cameo appearance by my three-year-old, Isaac, there in the front)
And an "action shot" in the operating room-- fairly modern for local standards, but it probably looks a little bit different than any operating rooms any of our readers have been visiting lately!
I will report briefly that all of our patients were doing very well at my last checks on them, and I am grateful to Dr. Nelson and Dr. Lawton for finishing up rounds on them in the morning and likely discharging them all since I have come out to the Fickers's farm to fly out to do a little bit more jungly-medicine in the morning.
Also some quick follow-up on our cervical cancer lady-- she did go home yesterday after receiving a bag of blood from a family donor and feeling a bit stronger for it. Thanks again to God for her supportive extended family, which is all she has right now... may they continue to be a light to her in a way that we can not as we walk in and out of her life ever so briefly during such a difficult time. She really personifies many of the struggles of very short-term missions and it hits hard emotionally, but I thank God still for the constant reminders of how very, very blessed we all are to live such wonderful lives with our health, our homes, our supportive spouses, and our medical care system in the U.S.
Now I'd better get to pictures before waxing too political or being too completely cheesy (After all, it is 3 am and a blogger is NOT to be trusted at this hour!) so here goes... Enjoy!
(Okay, four hours later here... the internet connection is NOT cooperating for posting pictures, so it appears as if I have lied and let you all down again... SO sorry! Will try again this afternoon...)
Thursday, November 11, 2010
The first picture is of a couple whose mother we operated on earlier this week and sent home yesterday. She did great post-operatively, and the family was very supportive and gracious. They were also very nice to let us take some good pictures of them... I explained that I wanted the picture because the "traje" or traditional dress that they wear-- from their hometown area near Solola-- is my favorite in the whole country! Especially since the men are more likely to wear their traditional dress there. I wish we could see more of the men's traditional dress from other areas, but they have mostly been converted to used clothes from the U.S., sadly.
The next picture doesn't do the scene justice, but we really enjoyed a few minutes of watching these young Guatemalan kids playing with bubbles and Isaac. They were waiting on their mother, who I think was waiting to be seen by the local doctor, and had been sitting perfectly still and stone-faced for at least an hour before we remembered to break out the stash of dollar-store wedding bubbles that we had brought down! That certainly livened things up in the courtyard of the hospital, and brought quite a bit of joy to both us and them. They went through every bottle of bubbles I brought before the end... then it was on to Play-Doh! (Thanks, Tana, for sending down your Halloween leftovers...) I had almost forgotten how much fun-- and how cheap-- it is to give small playthings to children here. It is ridiculous to think that Isaac has more toys in his little backpack that we traveled down here with than many of these children will ever even see...
Yesterday's OR cases went very smoothly-- Three vaginal repair surgeries that Dr. Nelson and Dr. Lawton really did with minimal help from me (My favorite kind of day in the OR, for those of you who know me!)-- I learned some new tricks from watching them, and got to take care of paperwork and checking back in on patients and organizing and tying up loose ends and such, which was a huge blessing to me.
We also were asked to do an inpatient consult on a lady that one of the local docs had admitted the night before. In the interest of time I will spare the details, but suffice it to say that telling a 30-year old, mother of four, whose husband left her for another woman during her last pregnancy, that she has inoperable cervical cancer is NOT one of our favorite things we have had to do... Please pray for Juana to be able to get the care that she needs to survive for a while to take care of her children. She has accepted Jesus Christ as her Lord and Savior, thank God!, but her struggles here on this Earth are very significant right now. We are also grateful that she has a supportive family here with her. They were looking for family members that could donate blood to her to help with her weakness from anemia when we left yesterday without any complaining or arguing, which is a minor miracle down here... so please be sure to also thank God in your prayers for them and ask for their continued support and patience.
Now it's off to the hospital to see what else the day holds in store for us... We hope that the patients are doing well and that a few are ready to go home, and will continue to pray for their recovery and salvation.
Tuesday, November 09, 2010
Sunday, November 07, 2010
Today was our typical looooonnng travel day from Greenville, NC, to Chichicastenango, Guatemala— praises always to God for safe and smooth travels! Today ended in a special treat for me, of course (that would be Heidi, for those of you whom we have confused over the years with mixed blog authorship!) in that I was reunited with Matt and Isaac after being away from them all week! They’ve had a great week out at the Fickers which I am very jealous of, but I am really looking forward to getting to work with Matt again a little more closely in here in Guatemala! It is sure to bring back many amazing memories…
So our group this time is a little bigger than usual, and I am feeling very blessed to be a part of it. I am travelling with Pat Peabody, who regular readers have come to know by now and who will be running anesthesia for us again. She is joined this time by a special surprise in the form of Dr. Calvin Williams, who joins us from the St. Louis area (a friend of the Ficker family and from their home church) with his wife Latrice and daughter Brittany. Cal is an anesthesiologist with a long-term interest in medical missions, and we of course pray that he has a great trip and wants to come back and help out with anesthesia plenty of times in the future. As most of you know, providing anesthesia for surgeries is a major expense if we don’t have someone with us to provide that service, so I continue to stand in awe of the way God provides in this and so many other areas.
Also travelling with me this trip are Drs. Keith Nelson Cyndi Lawton, both co-workers of mine in the OB/GYN Department at ECU. Dr. Lawton is in her last year of residency with us and will be joining a practice next year in her home town outside of Charleston, SC. Please pray especially for her as it is the first time she will be spending any significant amount of time away from both her husband and her one-year old son, Beau, since he was born. Dr. Nelson is a member of our faculty who has quite a bit of experience leading mission trips of his own, mostly to the Dominican Republic over the last several years. He and I work together on medical student education in the department, and he is also very involved in surgical education and administration of the residency program. He is highly regarded as one of the best surgeons in our program, and I look forward to operating with him this week! Many thanks to his wife, Megan, who is once again graciously staying home with their two children while he travels the world to help those in need.
Tomorrow we will start seeing patients in the afternoon and set up surgeries for the week, so we will see what the week brings our way! We will continue to pray that God sends those our way who we most can help, and that we are able to help each and every patient that comes through our doors even if they don’t need our specialized medical care specifically. We are looking forward to a great week, and will keep you posted! Pictures to follow, of course… We were all feeling a little more travel-weary than photogenic today…