This morning the team got up nice and refreshed, ready to work. We ate breakfast and went straight to the hospital, to begin unloading the supplies and equipment. Some of the luggage was delayed from the airport yesterday, so the Porters (Dr. Charlie Porter, Cardiologist and his wife Dr. Susan Porter, Anesthesiologist) volunteered graciously to remain in Guatemala City overnight, in order to receive the bags and drive back with them today.
Many of us chose to walk the (approx.) mile up to the hospital through the streets of San Lucas, which is a wonderful experience. You get to see the people of the town, smile, say “hola!” and be genuinely greeted by smiles and waves. What a great way to start a day, yes? Others of us, some of whom were toting bags and suitcases, hailed a tuk-tuk and rode to the hospital. A tuk-tuk, in case you are not familiar, is like a moped with a backseat. This is also an experience, as any one of us will tell you, and the drivers and their vehicles have amazing character. They personalize their “cabs” in various ways, with stickers, radios, and other decorations. I saw one today that had a Jaguar emblem on the front of it. I could not get a photo, however.
Once we arrived at the hospital we were greeted by the friendly, smiling face of Pablo. He unlocked the hospital and rooms for us, and even brought us water bottles. We moved the supply suitcases that were brought to the hospital late last evening into the hallway and began to unload them. Dr. Alley gave everyone the grand tour, and briefly explained some of the basics of how things are run. He also showed them the dry-erase board they use for the O.R. schedule, with his daily “Q.O.D” (Quote Of the Day). Each day, he puts up the schedule and a Q.O.D. for everyone to read. He says, “I like to put quotes that make you think.” Dr. Alley then showed everyone the Operating Room and Pre-Op, and the team went right to task. All able bodies pitched in, from stocking supplies and setting up patient stations to making robes from paper gowns. All had a job. While we were working the van arrived with Charlie and Susan Porter and the remaining luggage, which were brought in and unloaded as well. We’re so thankful for the Porters for their assistance with that situation, and thankful for their safe arrival.
After lunch, several of us went on foot and by tuk-tuk to Panajachel, which is a local town on the lake of about 15,000 people. It is a very beautiful, fun, touristic town and fun to visit. We had dinner this evening and planned out the day for tomorrow’s first official work day: Operating Day 1. Cases have been reviewed, schedules gone over, questions answered, and everyone is ready to greet the friendly faces of the patients in the morning. We look forward to sharing it with you.