San Lucas Toliman 2015, Tuesday
Today the Medical Missions Foundation San Lucas team performed another thirteen surgeries. Many more hernias and gallbladders, primarily. One walk through the streets of San Lucas and you can see why there are so many hernia surgeries performed. They carry huge bundles of wood on their backs and large amounts of harvested food or goods to sell; men, women and children alike. Our pre-operative process runs so smoothly, thanks to the efforts of all the nurses that prepare the patients for surgery. Patients are greeted with smiling faces and a kind, gentle touch as they get ready to go on to the next step. Edna Talboy is from Colombia and helps interpret as they are greeted in pre-surgery. It is wonderful to be able to have someone who can communicate with them on a cultural level. The patients are well cared for as they wait for their surgeries. Some of them are very playful and smile and laugh with us.
The same is true when they are taken next to meet with anesthesia. Dr. Porter and Dr. DeRuyter are able to communicate with them and prepare them for the transition into surgery. They consult with them, explain things, and put their fears to rest. I watched many of the doctors and nurses try to calm the nerves of a very worried patient, who has been here before but still was very frightened. Everyone was great with him, and ultimately once medicated and helped onto the gurney, he was comfortable and ready for surgery.
Dr. Alley and Dr. Talboy and the team of nurses, anesthesiologists, nurse anesthetists, and students all keep the O.R. running smoothly and perform surgery after surgery throughout the day. After surgery, patients are greeted by the warm faces of the post-operative recovery team. They see to it that patients wake up to friendly faces and receive great care. They then transfer them to the hospital rooms downstairs, via the hospital volunteer staff.
This afternoon, Cindy Rudolph entertained (and thereby educated) a group of family members on the grounds outside the hospital with a puppet show. Chicky the chicken helped Cindy and Jonathan, one of the young men who volunteer at the hospital as an interpreter, educate the men, women, and children about the spreading of germs. She does this by performing a short skit about how Chicky sneezes without covering his mouth and sprays “germs” (aka water from a spray bottle) onto people around him. Chicky “sneezes” and sprays “germs” all over Jonathan, and also coughs. Then Chicky is shown how to cover his face with a “wing” or elbow. It was a darling puppet show, and whether age 60 or 2, the crowd was entertained and seemed to understand how germs are spread and can be contained by covering their mouths.
Judy and Katie also did artwork with the families on the lawn. After one of Dr. Alley’s surgeries, they called for him and he went down and sat with the group and took some photos with them. It’s a great thing for them to see the team of doctors and nurses outside of the O.R.. It puts their minds and hearts at ease, being able to see those who are caring for their loved ones, and see the people who came to help and love them, and who are so happy to be here serving them.
I was given a special opportunity to interview a very important person. Pablo Santizo, who is literally the man who runs the hospital and is a jack-of-all-trades, sat with Carmen and myself while we asked him about his involvement with the San Lucas Toliman Hospital and Medical Missions Foundation. I am excited to share my afternoon “Meet and Greet” moment with Pablo in a later post. Watch for it soon!