Saturday, January 31, 2009

No diesel, No brakes........a sad day :(

Today Lisa, Juan, Gaspar and I drove to Chuchipaca for clinic. We had a small clinic with only ten patients but some interesting ones. One lady has had difficulty having a second pregnancy so she will be getting some lab work done. On exam, Lisa found an unexpected problem so she will return after she also has an ultrasound done. Another patient was three months pregnant and began bleeding last Saturday. We will follow-up with her again on Wednesday in Lemoa.

The most pleased patient of the day was an elderly gentleman that has had difficulty walking for many years. Sarah and I saw him two weeks ago and he returned today to let us know he was better. He was so excited and thankful. He wanted to show us how much better he was walking and wanted some more of that wonderful medicine. Good job, Sarah!

Ok, I hesitate mentioning this because as soon as I do, I will jinx myself. We met Mr. Coke Man on the road home today...........he had run out of diesel and his brakes had stopped working. Notice the wooden blocks behind his back tires. That is just double bad luck! We offered him some of our diesel but we did not have a way to transfer it. We were lucky we did not have a long wait and thanks to Lisa, we had snacks to enjoy...............but Mr. Coke Man did not offer us a Coke :(

No clinics for two days. I will head to Antigua tomorrow morning after worship and visit with a few friends and return to Santa Cruz on Monday evening. Have a great weekend!

Friday, January 30, 2009

New clinic in Chusiquel....on the top of the world!!

Today nine of us left Santa Cruz at 0630 for Chusiquel. It took us about 2.5 hours to get there and it was a beautiful drive.....up, up and up!! I had three co-pilots with me. Juan sat in the front and he managed the radio so we had great driving music. Francisco was in the back and he asked directions from the right side of the truck when we needed some guidance. Manuel was also in the back and he would ask directions from the left side. I had great assistance!!

These views were from when we first pulled up and then walked down to the area they meet for worship.

When we first arrived they served us coffee and bread. We then had a time of worship together and it was a time of encouragement. There were only a few people there and I was not sure how many patients we would have........if we had any.

Then they pulled out the megaphone and then started announcing the clinic.........and then the patients arrived. We ended up with 50 patients and everything went well. We saw many of the typical illnesses that we have when we start new clinics.

The children were precious and were a little reluctant of the camera at first........but then they warmed up a little.

The ladies served us a bowl of hot soup and tortillas. There were fresh hot peppers for those who were brave enough to try them. One of the ladies was 9 months pregnant and saw Lisa for a consult. Lisa encouraged her to go to the hospital because her blood pressure was very high and she is a high-risk delivery. She would not go because she said she needed to serve us lunch. All we can do is pray that she changes her mind and her family takes her.
It was a great day and we saw many patients who are not Christians. The two men that went with us, Fransico and Tomas prayed with each patient after their consult. We hope that something was said or done that will cause them to think about spiritual matters and reconsider their relationship with God.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Celebration for Aury

As I have mentioned a few times, Aury will soon be moving to The City and starting dental school. We will really miss her. From time to time I have told her that I have received an email from the school and her classes have been cancelled. The first few times she had a worried look on her face and now she just laughs at me.

We wanted to do something special for her so we created a money tree.......something that is nice for any new student. We grabbed a branch from behind the clinic and attached money to it. Lisa tied the money on with yellow string. We blindfolded Aura and led her outside.

I think it meant a lot to her and we just wanted her to know how much she is appreciated.

A tradition here is when someone gets a cake, they are suppose to take a bit out of it.......and usually someone pushes their face into the cake. Manuel decided this would be his job so he gave her a gentle push.

Martina, Maury and Aury enjoy the cake and sun.

Manuel eats in style as he grabs himself a footstool.
Tomorrow we will go to a new area, Chuisiquel. I will meet Kemmel, Lisa, Juan, Manuel and Maury by the gas station and we will make the trip. I hope that we are an encouragement to The Church and that there are some patients who are interested in hearing more about the gospel. I think it will be a good day.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

New Clinic in Mactxul III

We started a new a clinic today in Mactzul III and we had a wonderful turnout. The clinic was held in a community building near a school. Before we started I met the teacher at the school. His name is Carlos and also lives in Santa Cruz. The little girls from his class were just giggling as we talked.

There were many members of The Church there to help us. We had a feeling that we would have many patients and it is not thought highly of if you do not see all of the patients. It is almost a no win situation because no one wants to turn patients away yet you don't want to travel home too late.

The children were ready for the camera. These little boys had been practicing some English with Juan and Kemmel as the patients were being seen.

This boy did not want to come in, he wanted to peer through the window to see what was happening.
More patients as they wait to be seen.

This little boy wanted his photo taken with his brother.

This was our entertainment group between patients.

We had a total of 65 patients. Lisa, Josefina, Tomas and Aury were kind to come and help us out...........or we still might be there :) There was a wide variety of patients and the men from the congregation helped a lot. After the consult, the church members would pray with the patients. It kept things moving along real well.
We returned to Santa Cruz close to 7pm. We were not sure if Aury would be able to get a van home so I drove her. It was just to late for her to be out alone.
We will return to this community in February and I hope to have the opportunity to follow-up with some of the patients. The people expressed their gratitude many times and together we give the thanks and glory to our God.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Education Day

Today was an education day for all of the health care promoters that help us in different communities. There were 25 of us today and I think everyone enjoyed it.

We started the morning with a short devotional. Juan led some songs and Manuel read scripture concerning the Good Samaritan. Kemmel talked for a few minutes about Health Talents and it's mission. It was a good review for everyone and to help us remember our objectives. The physical aspect is only part of the work. We want to focus also on the spiritual, social and mental components of the patient.

Lisa broke the group up into 4 smaller groups and they practiced taking temperatures, blood pressures, pulses and counting respirations.

Gaspar helped his group by donating his blood pressure.

Kemmel is making sure everyone has the equipment that they need.

It took a while for them to see the mercury in the thermometers......just a small challenge.
Maury seems to be doubting herself :)
Lisa is teaching the guys that they have to clean and shake down the thermometer between patients.

Josefina helping Juan as he is leading his group.

Tomorrow, we will start a new clinic in Mactzul III. Kemmel, Maury, Juan and Gaspar and I will be there for the day. The truck is packed and ready to go...................

Monday, January 26, 2009

Monday.......a day of rest

Today was a good day to get more things and clean. When I walked to the market, I saw my little friend. She was yelling, "doctora" and I finally heard her. She told me how much better she is doing and has not fallen anymore. She really likes the vitamins and Tylenol I take her. This is a photo of us in her court yard. She is a very kind lady and I still hope that she will go to church with me one day. She invited me to return on Thursday at 5pm for that is where I will be.

OK, tomorrow is an education day so we will all be in Clinica Carris tomorrow.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Sunday in Santa Cruz

Today was a day to catch up on many things. I signed up for two new classes online, bought firewood, answered emails, loaded some programs on my new laptop and then headed down the street for worship at 4pm. Two weeks ago, I was 30 minutes late because there are so many different times that congregations start. Today, I was talking online with Brett at 3:30 and told him I was sorry but had to go because it was not good when the gringa was late :)

I know another thing I will try my best not to do........... to fall asleep during the service. Today there was a strict patrol man.......we walked through the aisles jolting people awake if they nodded off........then made them stand up! I felt terrible for this one older gentleman......he had his eyes closed, practically got knocked off his chair and then was told to stand. Not in my eyes is this the best way to encourage people to attend.

Many things changed in Santa Cruz while I was at the coast last week. An appliance store is now selling motorcycles, an internet cafe has turned into a construction store and a paint store sold out to a small cafe.

I heard today that Baby Diego will see Josefina in clinic tomorrow. Josefina will be expecting him and I am looking forward to the clinic in April.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

First Clinic in Mactzul I

We started a new clinic today in Mactzul I........and what a fun day it was! We had a great first clinic with 51 medical patients. I met Lisa, Kemmel, Juan and Gaspar at the Iglesia de Christo. Juan met me on the main road so I would know where to go. Everyone was very friendly and wanted to help with the clinic. Juan, a member of the congregation, helped translate K'iche' for me.

We had a wide variety of illness which is good practice for me.......I have a lot of reading to do this weekend. I need to study the anatomy of the inner ear and and as always, obstetrics. This couple, Tomasa and Juan, found out today that they are pregnant. He really wanted the photo until he stood next to Tomasa and then he gave me the "Guatemalan look."

The children were outside of the clinic flying home-made creative they can be! They used plastic bags with some sticks..............and up they went! This one flew the best.............

We enjoyed a lunch of soup, chicken, tamalitos and two types of fresh salsa............some that burns and some that does not burn as much :)

This little girl was playing outside when we left. The wheel-barrow and plastic chair were bigger than she was.

Our next clinic there will be 21st of February. I hope many patients from today return so I can follow-up and see how they are doing.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Thursday......last day of surgery

Sarah and I made it through our last night with our patients and the Guatemalan staff. Every night this week we have worked with Cata. She is great to work with and she taught us some more K'iche'.........even though she giggled a few times at my pronunciation. The patient that had us concerned looks much better this morning. She even told me she was able to sleep a little last night..............I am not sure about that with everything we needed to do with her through the night.

Michelle spends some time with her patient Aura and Fredie her husband. Aura spent 2-3 nights with us and then went home feeling better.

The final count of patients for the week was about 67-68.......I heard the number of procedures but did not write it down.

One father spending time at the bedside of his son.

During the week, the recovery area is busting with activity...........then by Friday morning, there is silence.

We always have our last devotional outside around the fountain in the courtyard. It is a time for people to express how they have felt during the week, what has touched them and share moments that many say will change their life. The people that come down and serve have no idea how many lives they have touched during this week...............the number is countless. Even after we leave, the patients will continue to talk about Clinica Ezell and how their physical lives have been changed. We also pray that their spirits have been touched and they have a better understanding and knowledge of our God..........

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Wednesday at Clinica Ezell

The week has been progressing well. The team has remained very organized and staying focused. The patients are doing well and it is exciting to see them feel a little better each day.

Juan rode with me to the clinic on Sunday. In the past he has always worked in the recovery area with the patients but this week he is working in the registration area. He welcomes the patients and their families, collects information and performs others tasks as needed. He is very patient with people and is well liked.

This lady was very sweet and always remained positive. Her husband would visit in the afternoon for the one-hour visitation time. This is Ana and her husband and they have been married for 23 years :)
As I have mentioned in previous posts, we pray for the patients every night by name. We know that God hears and answers those prayers. Rick is writing the names on the board before our devotional.
Sarah and I head back for our last night. He have heard that we will have a lady that was in surgery for four hours and had a very large hernia removed. She is doing well but has raised a few concerns.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Tuesday at Clinica Ezell

I slept a few hours this morning and then a few of us headed back to Chicacao. It is a small community near the clinic that has a park, a market, a music class that sometimes will perform for us and most important............a Sarita's. Today, Shawn and Terri enjoyed icecream with me :)

When we got back to the clinic, all was going well and Julie had everything under control. She has been spending a lot of time in the operating room and has grown accustom to her French hair cover!
Tina and Michelle spend some time with one of our patients who primarily speaks K'iche. He had a large hernia removed and was feeling much better in two days.
A total of 13 patients had operations today and everyone did well. We continue to pray for them in the evening and thank God for their progress.
Sarah and I will head back to the recovery area for our second night........Sarah is hanging in there!! :)

Monday, January 19, 2009

Full day of surgery

The day began early with completing 17 cases. All of the patients have done well and we are thankful for that. Tonight we again will pray for each patient by name and ask God to continue to heal them.

We are all working different shifts so a few of use went to a nearby town before our shift began. We walked around the market and bought zapote, mini bananas and popcorn balls. I realize that is an odd assortment but it was entertaining........then we went back and tasted everything.

We had to stop for icecream at Saritas..........Lindsey (OK), Carolyn (VA), Michelle (VA), Sarah (KY), and Tina (VW). This is Sarah showing us the zapote.....the right hand is the inside. Most people think it tastes like pumpkin or sweet potato............
Jeremy liked the mini bananas.

I took the zapote through the clinic letting everyone taste it. Emily was with this patient, Eva. Eva can speak English we enjoyed talking to her.

I talked to Josefina and she said they had around 15 patients at the pap clinic today in Clinica Caris. She said they thought they would have about the same number tomorrow. It is a wonderful opportunity to be able to offer more preventive treatment.

Last night we had a special prayer request for a 4 month old baby that needed a heart transplant. Tonight as the devotional concluded, someone received a call saying that a heart had been found and the baby and was in the process of receiving it....................God does answer prayer.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

The week begins in Montellano!!

Sarah, Juan and I drove early this morning to Clinica Ezell in Montellano to begin our week there. The only problem we had in the roads were the excessive number of speed-bumps or tumulos we had to encounter.

It is great to see many people that have returned and it is always good to meet new ones. Rick and Julie are both on this trip and will do their best to see that everyone has a safe and productive week.

The worship was great with enthusiastic singing. Carlos led the congregation in both Spanish and English songs. Afterwards ,we met for a brief meeting to review information, we ate lunch and then the surgeries began.

Two patients were not done today because one has a fever and the other one is hypertensive. The gentleman with the fever is from our area, a community called Mactzul III. He is sad because he has traveled for 4 hours and was told he may have to wait to have his hernia repaired in April. Tonight after our devotional, Rosario and I prayed with him. Dr. Erik came by the bed and we began asking Manuel about other problems or symptoms and he turned out positive for a urinary tract infection. He has been started on the appropriate medicine and we will see how he responds.

We had 5 hernia repairs today and 2 hysterectomies. It was a short day but a good day to get everyone oriented to the clinic.

This is Bonnie and Shawn with a patient in the recovery area from the Santa Cruz. Bonnie is from Sch'dy, NY and has been coming down for clinics since 1993. This is Shawn' s first trip and she is from Florida.

This photo is of Lindsey, Emily and Tina. This is Lindsey's second trip and she is from Oklahoma. Emily came with Bonnie from NY and this is her first trip. This is also the first trip for Tina and she is from West Virgina.

This is the autoclave area and the HOT spot of the clinic. Leslie, Todd and Vicki assure that the instruments are sterilized and ready for the next case. Leslie has been coming down since 1998 with her husband Danny, who is a surgeon. Vicki has been involved with HTI since 1984 and for many years served on the board. Todd is her son and he has also made several trips.
We ended the evening with a devotional and prayed for each patient by name. Rick encouraged us to continue this practice, asking us to pause by the board with names and remember them in prayer each day. We also prayed for our families back at home and for our government as it transitiona into new leadership.
Today was the beginning of a great week. I hope that the pap clinic that starts tomorrow also goes well.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Beginning of Surgical and Pap Clinics

Sarah and I met Juan and Gaspar this morning in Chichi and went to Chuchipaca for our clinic. We saw 20 patients and it was a good clinic. Several patients are having problems within their families so we talked to them about how only the power of God can resolve these types of issues.

After clinic, Sarah and I went to Lemoa and unloaded the truck in preparation for going to Montellano tomorrow morning.

The surgical team flew in today and then drove to Montellano. The surgeries will begin tomorrow morning after worship.

Flying in with the team was also Kris and Jane from the Nashville area. While most of the group is in Montellano, they will be in the highlands with Lisa and Josefina conducting a pap and colposcopy clinic. Kris and Jane visited Montellano a few months ago and at that time began planning a return trip to this they have returned and we are thankful for that.

Sarah and I met them for dinner tonight at Casa San Juan in Chichi.........Kemmel, Lisa, Kris, Sarah and Jane.

Tomorrow morning, Sarah and I will meet Juan and drive to the coast. It will be a busy week but a good one. Please pray that all of the patients, here in the highlands and those in the coastal area will receive the physical and spiritual care that they need.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

ABC Clinic in Mactzul VI

Today we had a great clinic in Mactzul VI with 26 ABC Children, 10 non-ABC patients and 18 dental patients. It is so good to see the children growing and looking healthy. They had a lot of energy and as always, ready to smile for the camera.

Aura, Martina and Marcos stayed busy with their dental patients. This is Aura waiting for their next patient.
This group of children are all part of the ABC Program. They played the remainder of the afternoon after they had their consult. The little boy had some dental work done so that is why he is protecting his mouth with the white towel.
This little girl was sweet and enjoyed singing.
The last patient of the day complained of abdominal pain that she has been experiencing for a week. The pain radiated to her back and has prevented her from sleeping. I had a hunch of what it was but wanted Lisa to examine her too........I don't want to get over-confident. We gave her the papers she needed to get an ultrasound of her gall bladder. I prayed with her before she left the clinic and I hope we will get some more information on how she is doing.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

ABC Clinic in Xepocol

Today we had another ABC Clinic in Xepocol. We had 29 ABC children, 8 non-ABC patients and 8 dental patients. The children were doing well, growing and seemed to be very content.

I want to introduce you to Martina. She is being trained to help Marcos since Aura will soon be moving to Guatemala City for dental school. I always tease Aura and tell her that the plans have changed and she will not be able to go. I will really miss her but I am sure Martina will also do a good job.
This was our youngest patient of the day. Maria is only one month old today. Her mother wanted a photo and will return during the next clinic for a small gift that we give to all newborns.

Xepocol is Gaspar's community and he has started a new project. During the Christmas holidays he opened a pharmacy. The name of his pharmacy is El Buen Samaritano. His son, Tomas, is looking after the store during the day when Gaspar is working. We hope the pharmacy does well.