"And when He had taken some bread and given thanks, He broke it and gave it to them, saying, "This is My body which is given for you; do this in remembrance of Me."
As usual, we started our morning off with a wonderful devotional. Flavio began by having us reflect on our challenge from yesterday. Almost everyone in the group was able to spend time with another team member, seeing what work was being done in different areas of the hospital. We were encouraged to take time to savor this encounter, for it is times like these when we plant seeds into new experiences. Flavio also encouraged us to take time to remember these stories and patients. He taught us that in the Hebrew language, there is no word for “history”. Instead, they use the word “memory”. In Spanish, the verb “to remember” is “recorder” which translates to “ to pass through your heart”. We should take time to allow our memories to pass through our hearts, to study them as if we would history, and to know that these memories are growing seeds the Lord has planted within us. At the end of devotional we all wrote down a memory from yesterday, put them in a bowl, and took 30 seconds of silence to reflect on them! Next we ate breakfast and then headed to the hospital.
Every morning after we arrive at the hospital, Neal (one of our team leaders) and I take time to frame photos that he individually took of all the children before their surgeries. We then distribute them to patients that had surgery the previous day, before they are discharged home. To see the gratitude in the mother and patients eyes after getting this simple gift is overwhelming. Often times, this is the only framed photo the families have of their children. One of our young patients named Matias Augusto had been extremely fearful before his surgery, eyes full of tears. After his surgery was the same, clinging to his mother, tearful and scared. When we arrived to the hospital this morning and began distributing photos, we walked into the room to a, yet again, upset Matias. The moment we pulled out his framed photo, his frown turned into a smile that lit up the room, mesmerized by what he was looking at. His mother was staying by his side grinning ear to ear. Giving this simple gift is a way our team can tell their patients and families that they are more than just a patient and we are caring for them with the faith, hope, and love that the Lord had instilled within our team.
I spent part of my day with a patient from the time she was called to pre-op, to when she entered the recovery ward. The patient was an 18-year-old girl named Jackie. She was a mother of a young child and had brought her mother with her to the hospital to take care of her child while she was in surgery. Because of this, she went through the hospital alone, while her mother was outside entertaining her daughter. She entered the PACU trying to be as confident as she could be for her family, but it was obvious to see her nerves hiding behind a smile. She was put into a gown and given a gift bag full of soaps, tooth brushes, toothpaste, toys, and shoes. Jackie sat patiently and quietly in her bed, watching a movie and observing other patients coming in and out of the PACU. Saying few words, her face slowly became more anxious as time went by. First, anesthesia came by to introduce themselves and explain what would happen when she went into the OR. This was followed by a visit from her surgeon describing the procedure and recovery. When it was time, Jackie was rolled into the OR for her procedure. Her nerves had fully settled in, yet she continued to remained calm. After her surgery had finished, she was brought back to the PACU until she was fully awake from her anesthesia, monitored by her anesthesia team and nurses. When she woke up, her confident smile slowly returned and she began conversing with the nurses, laughing and telling stories. Through all this, she has not seen her daughter or her mother. Once awake and ready to be moved to the ward, she was reunited with them. Jackies determination to be strong and independent for her family was inspiring. For a young woman with littler interaction with medical providers (like most people here in Guatemala), coming to the hospital can be a scary experience. Jackie remind calm and did what she needed to do in order to get the medical treatment she needed to continue being the best mother she could be at home.