Today is an exciting day for the surgical team; a rarity lies before them.
Dr. Alley, surgeon and longtime San Lucas mission veteran, was quite surprised; “This is special, I have only seen this in a picture in a book!” One patient’s appendix was found in his hernia sack! In medical terms, we call this an Amyand´s hernia, after the French surgeon who discovered it. “He had to have been very uncomfortable, the right side of his colon was in his scrotum,” Dr. Alley adds.
The patient, Felipe, is an 82-year-old father of 12 with 4 stepchildren and more than 60 grandchildren. He had been working as a fruit and vegetable bulk carrier at the central market of Santa Lucia Cotzumalguapa, a town in the South Central part of Guatemala, 36 miles away from the hospital in San Lucas. He had to take a 30-minute bus ride from his community of “San Pedrito” just to get to the main road; he still had another 2-hour bus ride to San Lucas. Felipe kept working until a month ago. He knew that his surgery day was approaching and the pain of 15 years had become unbearable.
Dr. Alley adds; “Besides getting rid of the constipation, there will be no more pain.”
I can tell you as a non-medical mission participant; you do not need a medical degree to realize that this case is not normal and Felipe is undergoing a life-changing procedure.
Don Felipe, a small man, with big courage and immense humility, hardly complained his daughter Maria said. She was the one that made the trip with him. She also added; “We thank God for the help; he knows the purpose of the doctors. I am grateful for what they have done. My father is still here, he will not work anymore and will live the rest of his life without pain.”
If that showing of courage, strength, dedication, love for his family and silence from Don Felipe is not a “lesson in humility,” I don’t know what is!