First Day of Surgery
6:00 am breakfast. So early, but today is the day we start the surgeries. Morning devotions focused on self-meditation to reduce anxiety and apprehension. As a first-time volunteer, I had my anxiety level a bit high. As I listened to Joanie lead the meditation, I realized the capabilities and confidence of our medical team. They would be performing 15 surgeries among 3 surgeons and a team who have the skills and expertise to handle each and every patient.
After a great breakfast, the bus took us to the hospital to start the day.
The process was very organized and smooth running. I met the patients in pre-op, and photographed the operation and post-op. After a few hours patients were escorted to the convalescent ward for recovery. Pt’s will be discharged home tomorrow and the process starts all over again. The team worked steadily and diligently all day. They managed to complete 15 successful surgeries without all the modern technology we have back home. It was unusual to see all the paperwork and handwritten signs needed to keep track of the patients. They are so awesome and I commend their time and dedication to the work they are doing for Faith In Practice.
As the patients walked into the operating room, each person was so very happy to finally be getting their long-awaited surgery. For most, it has been years on the waiting list. Now finally the day has arrived. Their hearts were filled with gratitude and love. One patient was a pastor and he spent time praying with all the patients in the waiting area. One witness said everyone was in tears. God’s presence is in this place, evident by the attitudes of the team and the aura of love surrounding those present. You can definitely feel the presence of the Holy Spirit moving in this hospital.
The patients today ranged from age 13 to 85, most with hernia surgery. The major occupations in Guatemala involve heavy lifting or strenuous work. Kevin is a 4th-year medical student and fascinated by the way things operate at Hilario Galindo. He has 2 more years of med school and may someday be one of the doctors here at Faith In Practice.
David works in a chicken processor plant and needs a hernia repair. His coworkers (who have experienced surgery at Hilario Galindo Hospital) encouraged Davis to visit the medical clinic and get on the waiting list. David expressed how pleased he was to be accepted and very happy to be here today. He told Joanie (our chaplain) that we are famous and that Faith In Practice is a blessing to Guatemala.
Another lady Maris lives 3-4 hours away and made the trip to get her hernia surgery. She is very hard of hearing and Faith In Practice will set her up with an Audiologist. What a blessing it will be for her to be able to hear better.
In talking to the Director of Operations, Luis Flores, he explained how some of the patients are so grateful, that they become volunteers. It is important to have contacts in the villages to help identify patients, make referrals to the clinics, and assist with transportation to/from the hospital. It is their way of giving back. The village people may be poor and lack many of the modern luxuries/conveniences we have to enjoy but they are rich in faith, love, and happiness. There is a presence of humility and gratitude that permeates the whole hospital. God is working in this place and touching the lives of all involved. It is life-changing. I know that I have been impacted by what I have seen. And I am sure most everyone else can say the same. Tonight we will rest and prepare for tomorrow.