Our anesthesiology team has been working with all the patients at Las Obras this week to prepare each person for surgery. They work across all teams, and they usually see around 100 patients by the end of the week, according to Dr. Terry. “Our goal is to make people comfortable,” he said.
In addition to helping patients get through their surgeries comfortably, our anesthesiology volunteers have also been taking time to reflect on what brought them here this week. Some of them have had their own battles in the hospital that got them involved in medicine, and others have come so many years that they’ve made special connections with people that will last forever. This group has set an example of humility and kindness since the week began.
“I do this because giving back to others is the simplest and purest form of humanity,” said Nick, a CRNA. “This trip reminds me that no matter where you live, we all face challenges and can help each other in one way or another.”
After a horrible car accident at age 16, Nick spent a month in the hospital recovering three broken limbs and a torn aorta. “I was given a second chance at life, and I always have said I wanted to use that opportunity to give back to people, just like those who cared for me,” he said. “I hope to be a good example for my children and teach them that our lives are less about what we have and more about what we can give.”
Rachel, a volunteer SRNA, also had her own fight in the hospital. She was just 19 years old when she was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s Lymphoma, a type of cancer in the lymph nodes. After being in the hospital and not having a very positive experience with her nurse, she decided to pursue nursing to help people like herself be more comfortable during a difficult time. Now she’s working toward becoming a Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist at KU, and the 10-year anniversary of her remission is coming up in February.
Dr. Terry is here for his eighth trip to Antigua, and he and his wife, Becca, have made some strong connections with the people here. Every year, Dr. Terry and Becca meet with their friend Claudia who they met at Casa De Fé, a guesthouse for recovering patients. Claudia had been living in Casa De Fé for six months when they met. She was there recovering from a car accident that paralyzed one of her arms and left her without a leg. Now when Becca and Dr. Terry come to Antigua, they always take time to visit Claudia and her children.
“Coming here energizes you, and it reminds you why you work in medicine,” said Dr. Terry. “It’s very rewarding.”
Photos by Matt Bene