There’s something about singing How Great is Our God in the presence of volcanoes that stirs the soul to rejoice in the power of the creator of all things. There’s something about singing that draws people together as we prepared our hearts and minds for the day in the cool of the morning. Mornings in Guatemala are unlike anything I’ve experienced elsewhere. Every morning as I walk out of my casita in shorts and a t-shirt the first thing I notice is the comfortable air and the smell of the life springing around us in the garden de las flores. The first thing I see though is a pluming of my breath before me. Something about the makeup of the atmosphere makes me a mirror the puffing life rising from the volcano that looks down ominously over Antigua. Whereas the sulfuric breath of Volcan de Agua threatens death and destruction, the humid breathing of our team brings life because of the life that has been breathed into us. To reduce the life that has been breathed into us as something merely physiological would reduce each other to something solely physical and reduce the work we are doing here to something with only temporal benefits. As Reverend Silvero walks us through our passage in Proverbs this morning, he hammers home the privilege that it is to be chosen to do the work we are doing this week. As we look around the open-air room at each other we are looking at a bunch of Isaiah’s who upon hearing the call to serve responded with “Here am I; Send me.”
I have started a dictionary of puns specifically related to our urologist Dr. John Boon. Here are a few of the entries:
Boon – Common nickname formula of referring to someone by their last name.
Boon-dog – What all the cool kids call him.
El Boonerino – A The Big Lebowski enthusiast nickname.
Dr. Boon – This one is pretty incognito because most people think you’re just referring to Dr. Boon like normal but in reality you are thinking of the evil “Dr. Doom” from comic-book fame.
Daniel Boon – For those who know the good Dr. as a man of the wild frontier.
Boon-doggle – When you kill time chatting with him.
Boon-shot – Like a moon-shot but with the aim of growing a beard like Dr. Boon.
Boony-tunes – The music that plays in his OR.
A Boon-town – What the OR turns into when he finds 13 bladder stones in a patient.
Boon-buggy – All vehicles turn into one of these when he is inside
Boon-Duggie – When Dr. Boon does the dance called the Dougie.
Boonerang – When the good doctor leaves the room and comes right back in.
Boon or bust – An admonision to follow Dr. Boon’s example or face the consequences.
Stay Booned – When you’re watching TURP-TV* on the monitor in his OR and they go to commercial break.
Boon-doc-saint – A reference to the movie The Boondock saints as well as being three words that describe Dr. John Boon.
In the world of this week’s residence at the Obras, Dr. Boon, his scrub-tech, Candace Daniels, and all the nurses and anesthesiologists that work with them, are vital parts of what we are doing this week. Over the course of the week they will have completed a circumcision, the removal of 13 bladder stones (all from one patient), a radical Orchiectomy (which is the extraction of a cancerous testicle that could be fatal if not removed), a vesicovaginal fistula repair (google it, or probably don’t), and eight TURPS. These are procedures that completely change the lives of those who are being operated on. Whether being able to urinate naturally after 12 years of using a catheter or the reduction of extreme distress, the quality of life for the patience that visit Dr. Boon increases dramatically. The best part about it all is the Joy that is so obviously present on El Boonerino’s smiling face. He might have the dirtiest job of the week, but it’d be hard to find someone who loves what they do more than Dr. John Boon does.
This morning Rev. Silverio reminded us of the many people in the world who share all of the talents that the members of our team have, and that what sets us apart is not our skills in an OR or our ability to organize, cook, translate, or even write, but what sets us apart is our answer to the question God presented to Isaiah. Everyone here has said, “Here am I; Send me.”
*TURP stands for Transurethral Resection of the Prostate and involves a camera that is used during the procedure - hence TURP-TV