~After a few minor hiccups and adjustments, we began our sugery day at the hospital. Understandably, most patients expressed anxiety about their procedures and what was to come. The surgeons and nurses rounded with them in pre-op and reassurred them. The spiritual team of Daneen and intrepeter Elizabeth, prayed with them. The post-op and ward nurses held their hand, stroked their brow and made them as comfortable as possible.
We met Bernarda, a very sweet woman in her 50's, during triage on Sunday. Like all of the women who came to us this week, Bernarda had quietly suffered in pain for quite some time. She only used Tylenol or perhaps not even that to help ease her discomfort. She met with the surgeon, and was told she would be scheduled for surgery the next day. Bernarda and her husband Antonio were very fearful and reached out to Daneen, and Elizabeth who prayed with the couple. Bernarda and Antonio left to attend a mass that their grandchild was participating in, and returned early the next morning for surgery. The people of Guatemala are very devout and there were many prayers offered up for Bernarda, and the other patients who were treated, as well as their families. Soft pleas of healing, hope, and gratitude could be overheard throughout the week - in the chapel, PACU, wards, and waiting areas. We were very fortunate to be able to share this experience with them. The amount of compassion and empathy shown by our team members was extraordinary. After surgery, Bernarda's surgeon delivered the news that she had a prolapse, common to many of the women here this week. She was able to repair it, and after a few days of recovery Bernarda would soon return to a pain-free future with her family. When Antonio received the good news, he fell to his knees in relief and praise to God. He and his family were overwhelmed with gratitude, and several times during Bernarda's recovery, they showed up with mangos and fresh sweet bread for the team and hospital staff to share. We were all struck by Bernarda's tranformation over the next couple of days. She was always beautiful, but an undeniable light began to shine from her face and there was a radiance we had not seen before.
Later, during dinner, we honored our teammate Emmalee. Emmalee is a scrub tech and was missing her own RN graduation to come on this mission. The other nurses presented her with a homemade nurses hat and read the Florence Nightengale Pledge.
Beautiful things are happening, as we establish our routine for the week and learn and grow in this shared experience.
Today was a good day for a good day.