There is a great feeling of accomplishment across the team as we begin packing up the equipment in the core – the storage and office space that Santa Ines has set aside for us for the duration of our stay in Cuenca. Just because we are packing up does not mean the team is done our work here. Tomorrow, we will continue to load up the trucks with our equipment, put together an appreciation lunch for the Santa Ines staff who have been very flexible and accommodating hosts. As well, the TNMS group is running a CPR training course for coaches at a local sports complex.
As outlined in prior year blogs, there is an ongoing project with the local doctors as well as the local and global rotarian organization which supports a hip dysplasia and cervical dysplasia screening program. We understand that there is a need to support the efforts of the Ecuadorian physicians to help with these somewhat under serviced patient groups. Our mission not only aims to perform surgical interventions on patients who need it most, but lay some of the foundations for programs and treatments that many of us take for granted at home.
During the course of the week, many of the team members were relegated to working in certain parts of the hospital and do not have the opportunity to interact with the patients and their families in the ward. This morning, we conducted a “ward walk”, where members of the team such as OR nurses and our processing team had the opportunity to learn a little more about the surgeries performed and the patients that we cared for. Using X-rays, Dr. Martin explained a couple of the surgeries that were performed this week, and what those treatments would do for our patients. We then visited those patients in their rooms and gave them the opportunity to tell everyone their story in their own words. The ward walk can get emotional as the patients get to meet everyone involved, and conversely our team gets to see first hand the positive effect they have had on someone else’s life.
One part of our team that does not get the chance to see patients during the majority of the mission is our processing crew. These 3 ladies often begin work the day before our first surgery, and can be the last to leave the hospital at night after the last surgery. They clean, organize and sanitize all of the surgical instruments that are used in the ORs. On days where we have 3 ORs running and limited tool sets, that can be a very stressful and demanding job. We have a precious few days in our mission where we have access to ORs so every hour is valuable and delays in processing can put everything on hold. This crew works hard, many times without the same levels of gratification that the rest of the team receives. For this reason, we would like to salute our processing team for such an amazing job done this year and for selflessly contributing their skills and expertise to the mission.
Tonight, the Yanuncay Rotary Club hosted an appreciation dinner for the team where they shared their thanks for all of our continued work in Cuenca, and the celebration of this years successes. We were treated to cultural food, music, singing and dancing. Our relationship with the Rotary is one of the many things that makes the mission possible and tonight was a great way to bring our two teams together.