After a successful first day of surgeries, our team was determined to perform even better on day two, with a larger goal of 7 surgeries to complete. We met for breakfast a little earlier this morning, at 6:30am, while Dr. Powell and Dr. Lee briefed us on the patient cases for the day. Dr. Manuel Avila, who has been joining us each day at breakfast and spending the day with our team at the hospital, shared his thoughts about yesterday’s cases and inspired us with more heart-warming gratitude.
We packed up and trekked to the hospital, ready to deliver as much help and support as possible to the patients waiting for us. We found yesterday’s patients to be happy and comfortable, thanks to the wonderful staff at the Santa Ines hospital, who took excellent care of them overnight.
One patient scheduled for today was a young girl (we’ll call her ‘S’) who suffers from cerebral palsy in addition to hip dysplasia. S was seen in clinic last year (2015), but due to the complexities of her medical condition, the True North surgeons felt most comfortable consulting with other specialists at home in Calgary before moving forward with her case. The mission team was excited to see her return to this year’s mission clinic for care and was able to schedule her for surgery.
She was accompanied to the clinic and the hospital by her sister (C), who shared their unique and touching story with us. The sisters, abandoned by their parents at a young age, live very meagrely here in Cuenca with the C’s infant son. Supported by very little income, earned by C through the sale of fruit or goods on street corners, they don’t always have food for everyone to eat. Usually, C goes without when there isn’t enough to go around. With S’s serious physical limitations, the family has an added obstacle: it’s difficult to move quickly when the street becomes dangerous or when the authorities show up to evict them. Given her condition, S needs a caregiver and C says she is more than happy to provide for both her sister and son- she loves them both very much. But it is difficult to manage and she knows her sister suffers daily. This surgery will not only relieve some of S’s pain, stress and immobility, but, says C, it will bring S more confidence, allow the girls to live with a little more freedom, and will prove to the world that they are strong and capable. With tears streaming down her face, C thanked the True North Missions team from the bottom of her heart and wished God’s blessings upon each of us. This was a truly humbling moment for those listening.
After 7 surgeries today and successful physiotherapy with yesterday’s patients, the team wrapped up their duties in slightly staggered shifts, many staying late into the evening again. Another inspiring day gone by, another to come tomorrow.