Saturday, February 12, 2011

Dr. Stolee's Surgical Mission 2010 - A Photo Journal

Dr. Stolee's Surgical Mission 2010
A Photo Journal

Click on Images to Enlarge

Our Perham based surgical mission headed for another mission in Guatemala. We started our planning in February in order to have smooth travels now. We found team members from Fargo, Moorhead, Pelican Rapids, Fergus Falls and Perham.

We drove down to the Twin Cities Wednesday October 20th. We got up at 2:30 am Thursday to get to the airport on time. As usual, we had to pay for every bin over one per person.

We had more than the usual hassles in customs. It took 2 hours for them to look through every bin and check every bottle of meds that we brought. It is very frustrating that people get in the way of helping other people.

We drove to Antigua and checked in to our hotel. We then took a brief walking tour. This gentleman gave us a tour of the original cathedral. The cathedral was first built in 1545 (just 53 years after Columbus sailed the ocean blue). It was destroyed and rebuilt several times over two centuries before the city was abandoned.

We gathered for a meeting and supper at Frida's. Everyone was excited to get going.

Bev Wirth (a member of our team last year who could not make it this year) made scrub caps for us this year including this special one for me that was presented at dinner.

Pat Glynn (our anesthetist from Fergus Falls) made a friend.

We took a tour of Common Hope. For half the team, this was the first time.

Gina Nelson (Pelican Rapids) got to visit her sponsored child.

This is where he normally sleeps. The hole in the wall was created by a boulder rolling down the mountain during the recent heavy rains.

This is the group hiking up to visit Betty's sponsored child.

This is the view from the trail.

Our men's group at church (The Fishermen) sponsors a child. This is the family of Josue. Josue was working in the city and could not attend the visit (this is their summer school break). Josue is 15 years old and going into 9th grade. Most boys in Guatemala don't even finish 6th grade.

This picture of their microwave reminded me of the back of our microwave after we moved from Los Angeles.

This is the contents of the bags of food that we brought to the families on our visits.

We ate lunch at Common Hope. Brenda (nurse from Perham) met this little girl there.

Later, someone in our group saw this group of kids being moved from one school building to another.

Brenda got a kick out of this: she paid for a pop and she was given this bag and a straw and they poured the pop in the bag.

We needed to do some shopping for our lunches for the coming week so we got a taste of Guatemalan grocery shopping.

Saturday morning we headed to San Juan Sacatapequez where our surgical suites are set up. We unpacked the bins and got to work right away.

These are some of the people waiting to be examined by the surgeon. They have been previously checked by triage teams closer to their home towns but need to have their surgery confirmed and scheduled.

Amberlee Jackson is a nurse from New Mexico who volunteered to serve as our translator. Sometimes there was an additional translator from Qi'che to Spanish. I would then approve the surgery and discuss the risks and benefits with the patient or family.

Pam (left) was our administrator. She used the information I gave her from the triage to set up the schedule. She did a great job and tailored a schedule that started ridiculously hard and got progressively better through the week.

Meanwhile, the rest of the team unloaded bins and set up the preop, OR and recovery areas.

This one is not happy to be at the clinic.

This little one has an umbilical hernia. I was showing him how I could make it go away.

Pat Glynn loves the little kids, even when they are scared of him.

He would sing to them as they went off to sleep. Most were soothed by his calming voice.

Every hernia in Guatemala is bigger, more scarred and more difficult than we see in the U.S.

Upon awakening from anesthesia, the kids were usually happy. The parents were always grateful.

I saw all the patients each morning on rounds in the Alberge (patient shelter).

This little girl does not look frightened at all.

Pat is explaining what will happen back in the O.R.

He walks her to the O.R.

Since she sees Pat as kindly, she doesn't mind taking the anesthesia.

After a successful surgery, she is in the able hands of Brenda.

Felipe (right) is the director of Partner for Surgery in Guatemala. He made all the arrangements for our transportation, hotels and food while in country. His wife (Dr. Lopez - left) was the Guatemalan doctor responsible for our patients. The medical school that runs the clinic we were in wants a Guatemalan doctor to supervise all surgical activities. She was very helpful.

At night the clinic has armed guards. They look imposing but Pat was able to make friendly. Note the height difference.

We were doing 10-13 cases per day so I was one tired hombre by the end of the day.

Another cutie at the clinic.

This child is one hour postoperative a hernia repair.

Pat gives the kids a stuffed animal before they go off to sleep and that is the first thing they ask for after they wake up.

Some were entertained by books after surgery.

In attendance of this child are parents and gerentes/promotores (these are part of the Partner for Surgery team - they help the patients get signed up and find their way to the clinic).

Another happy child going off to sleep.

Yes, there was an operating team there.

The whole team worked seamlessly together to provide compassionate care. This is the recovery room team.

Juanita (right - now the manager of environmental services at Perham Memorial) resumed her prior role as our sterilization tech. Rick came along with Pat Heaton and functioned as Juanita's lackey.

Corin Boese and Sara Bergeron are ICU nurses that adapted well to their roles as circulating nurses in the O.R.

Here is the whole team wearing the hats made by Bev (who couldn't make this trip).

Here is the cap in action.

Pat and Pam at the end of a hard day - still smiling.

What do you think has this group so captivated?

They are watching me take this off (sorry to disappoint but I am omitting the gross pictures).

I made sure all the patients were doing well before we left. They departed for home the day before we did. They had up to 17 hours of travels ahead.

We finished the week by packing up the remaining materials and taking inventory.

Our hosts at the clinic put on a short ceremony for us after we packed up. Pat gave a nice toast. They gave us each a small gift to remember Guatemala.

This is the whole team with the Guatemalan nurses and doctors as well.

After closing up shop, the ladies went to the market to shop.

Some rode the Tuk Tuks back to Casa Damasco (the retreat center where we stayed - more or less a hostel).

San Juan Sacatepequez is the center of a large kite festival November 1st. Unfortunately we missed the festival but we got to see lots of people making or flying kites. This one was the cutest.

Right before heading back to Antigua we took one more group shot.

Once back in Antigua, everyone got right to shopping.

Being it was Halloween weekend, a few superheroes turned up.

The colors of the market make an interesting contrast to the colors of the Guatemalan mountains and ruins.

We were invited for drinks to the house of Linda Peterson. She is the wife of Frank Peterson, the founder of Partners for Surgery. We had cheese and crackers on her roof and watched the volcano puff away.

Thar she blows.

We had our last meal together at a nice restaurant called El Arco. We had the best filet mignon ever for the price of regular steak.

Linda Peterson joined us for the dinner.

I will include a couple last miscellaneous photos from the trip. Here Betty gets her brow wiped after heating up in the afternoon.

This would be typical transportation for people (and our patients) in Guatemala except there usually isn't a railing.

Pat Glynn and I have been quite a team the past two missions. It is a lot of stress and time to put together a team like this. Pat is going to take at least a year off to focus on his family.

Goodbye Guatemala for another year.

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