Trip 146, Post 2

Posted on: 02/27/2007

Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Dear Friends-

I am happy to report the team’s energy level is at an all time high today. As we suspected, the triage process and yesterday’s first day of surgery were both record setters for our team. Dr’s Peters, White, Greebon, and Fox together performed a total of 18 surgeries and plan to have an even busier remainder of the week.

Currently there are a total of 75 surgeries on the books. Christina Tomczak and her administrative team are singing the praises of the fourth operating room! With these new facilities our doctors can provide care they could not two years prior. Everyone is ecstatic at the thought of being able to treat more patients and safely take on more complex cases. One of the more touching cases yesterday was that of a little boy who grabbed a motorcycle muffler and severely burned his hand. In the photo at the link below you can see Dr. Peters performing a skin graft. This procedure will allow him increased mobility in his fingers.

Hearing Paige Litterer retell this story to me late last night reminds me of the packing party we held on the 18th. I can remember watching my husband and brother-in-law, who are not even members of our team, help move trunks from my garage to Willow Bend Church. They were both dressed for Church and were wearing suits. I think of our Doctors work so hard to get our supplies donated and Christina Tomczak who works tirelessly to keep us all organized. These seemingly small efforts all came together perfectly (as God’s love always does) in the moment that Dr. Peters gave the handsome young man in the photo better use his hand. WOW! The same thing happened time and time again yesterday within the walls of the Obras. Also photographed is a woman who received a much needed surgery for her clubbed foot.

The dental team also had big numbers yesterday-13 on Sunday while the medical team was doing triage. And, on Monday they treated 36. Jill Gill reports that they "had kids hanging from the rafters." The dentists and hygenists only had two dental chairs to work with. It seems a fairly sophisticated system was organized in an assembly line of sorts with Dr. Stewart numbing the patients, then moving them to the next stop. After a while they had so many numb patients in process, lost count, and had to write their treatment on their hand with a SHARPIE!

Dr. Stewart also did a frenectomy and a lip shave on a patient who appeared to have cancer of the lip. The procedure was preformed in the pre-op area under local anesthesia. Thankfully she left smiling in spite of the sutures and a fat lip. Our amazing dental is planning to see her for follow up Thursday. We are all praying for a speedy biopsy which normally takes 15 days to get back in this area of the world. As the dental team left the clinic yesterday afternoon they passed many of the patients they had just treated. The patients were being loaded into on a very old trunk with an open trailer. They all waved and smiled and the whole team felt God’s presence during that moment. They seemed to be saying well done servant.

There has also been an increased emphasis on training this year. I learned from Dr. Runyon just a few days ago that several local Guatemalan physicians will be going to Orlando for the American College of Foot and Ankle Surgeons Seminar for lectures and workshops in a few weeks. As the care we provide here increases, the team is also providing local doctors with more training in 2007. Dr. Rynyon says, "We are very excited to host them, and show them that the podiatrist is the specialist of the foot and ankle in the US and in Guatamala. So we can help as many of their countrymen as possible and help to train the surgeons in Antigua."

Whitney our cook and recent culinary grad is doing well and keeping our team well fed. Gay has assumed the role of "Sous Chef" and is proving to be a huge help in feeding our tired and hungry group. We all appreiate your support and encouragement as we continue through our mission.

Be sure to check the photo link daily, as I’ll be routinely posting photos.


Lori L. Exline