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Day three begins with a BANG! Linda Lorene Garcia used balloons in this morning’s devotional to remind us that making room for others is an important component of teamwork.  Lorene  has been on six prior trips, often as the team doctor. This time, she fills a new role as the team chaplain. Her talk was anchored on Phillipians 2:1-4, in which Paul was challenging the Church of Phillipi to be humble and work together. Her talk put us all in the proper frame of mind for the day ahead.

Once at the hospital, the first order of business is to round on yesterday’s patients, all of whom stayed overnight. They are all looking good. Nohemias, the bull fighter who had hernia repair surgery less than 24 hours prior, is walking around animatedly and asking when he can be discharged. In the pre-op area, 82-year-old Marta is being prepared for her hernia surgery.  Working together to put in her IV and get her ready are the Guatemalan hospital staff and new volunteer, Carolina Seijo.

Just as there are new volunteers on the trip, there are several team members who have returned to serve. Dr.  Ricardo Solis, a colorectal surgeon, is here on his eleventh mission. This year, the veterans have been instrumental in recruiting new members to the team.  Ann Sullivan, a physician assistant and co-leader, is on her third trip to Reu and convinced our pharmacist, Jessica Block, to come. She also persuaded Ginny Franks, CRNA, and Vanessa Lorente, interpreter.  This is one of the great pleasures of participating in this mission work:  the opportunity to do good work with cherished co-workers.

One unusual item on today’s schedule is that Dr. Vanderveen has a thyroid case. Usually the cases done by the surgery team are common general surgery matters such as hernia repairs, gallbladder removals, and removal of cysts and lipomas. But Dr. Vanderveen is a thyroid surgeon, and one of the patients that showed up in clinic had a mass on her thyroid. She has been unable to have it removed by local surgeon. Dr. Vanderveen quickly removed the offending organ as her first case of the day.

The team completed just under twenty surgeries today… We’ll be back again tomorrow!

-Lisa B.


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