Today was the first day of surgery and the hospital was alive with movement. Team Morgan has five doctors performing surgery, and they each performed 5-6 surgeries today. It was remarkable to watch the cooperation and the efficiency in each room as the doctors and nurses worked to significantly improve the lives of their patients.
Some of the women we met earlier this week were scheduled for surgery today. We spoke with Annalique and her mother yesterday, and today we ran into her as she waited for her mother, Lilian, who was currently in surgery. Annalique was with her sister, as well as aunts and uncles, who had come to support Lilian during her surgery.
One of our anesthesiologists, Rene, has traveled with Faith In Practice the better part of a decade. He said the reason that he comes to Guatemala every year is to remind himself of the reason he became a doctor in the first place. In the United States, the joy of healing people can sometimes be overshadowed by patients accustomed to a society that thrives on immediate fulfillment. However, in Guatemala, the patients at Hilario Galindo are so grateful for the support they receive despite traveling many miles or waiting many days for care. Rene loves the gratitude and relief he witnesses in the patients he treats.
The wheelchair team was exceptionally busy today. A larger crowd than Sunday gathered outside of the building to await new wheelchairs or walkers. Olivia was one of the women who waited. Olivia came to Hilario Gilado from Paraje Nil with the hope of getting a new wheelchair because she has been experiencing severe pain in her upper leg for many months. Amerita is Olivia’s only surviving daughter, and she accompanied Olivia on her trip today. Our wheelchair intake doctor, Alex, worked with Olivia and determined that the best plan was to provide her with the wheelchair she needed. Olivia was a joy to visit—she blushed when she smiled and her laugh was contagious. Visiting with her after she received her new wheelchair was one of the highlights of the day.
We also met Alberta at the wheelchair clinic. Like Olivia, Alberta traveled from Paraje Nil with her family. Alberta has lost several toes as a result of diabetes. Two days a week, Alberta was supposed to travel to a clinic for treatment, but the wheelchair she had was not in good condition, so she often missed appointments. Alberta originally heard about Faith In Practice from another medical organization. Today she received a new wheelchair that will allow her to move about more freely. Alberta has seven grandkids, four of whom live with her, so being mobile will allow her to fully enjoy and help with her grandkids. Watching Alberta’s husband, Sebastian, smile at his wife as she was wheeled outside spoke volumes about the happiness her new wheelchair will bring to three generations of her family.
Life-changing events are happening everywhere at Hilario Gilado. Thanks to Faith In Practice, the lives of entire families are changed with the gift of a new wheelchair or the miracle of surgery. It’s a marvelous place to be this week.