Day 6

This morning we took another team picture – we needed a retake, not because early morning is not our best side, but because some confusion on the time resulted in some of the team being missed in the first picture.  Despite this I think some people still did not make the retake. – oh well there is always Photoshop.

Did you ever notice that in group photos, the shortest people always want to hide in the back.  We tried to prevent that, but it was a lot like herding cats trying to assemble the group.

Another amazing day of surgeries today. Two PAO’s and 9 hips —-11 procedures in total.  We are running out of stuff – masks, gloves and certainly implants but not the desire to help and we will go until we can’t do any more. Tomorrow’s surgeries will depend on OR space available as the holiday weekend is over in Cuenca—- the team doctors and support medical professionals would be more than willing to keep going if we could get the numbers done within our time on the mission.  Their stamina, gift of love, caring and support is unmatched in my opinion.

In addition to the OR space, the numbers completed will be based on the size of the implants. Depending on the size of the patient, and numerous other factors, the implant sizes required for each surgery vary.  Every year a huge range of implant sizes are transported down but every year the needs of the patients are a little bit different.  Sometimes larger implant sizes are needed, this year the smaller ones seem to be necessary and consequently the patients that can be done with our remaining supplies have to be a little larger.  The doctors do their best to template the patients based on their x-rays but everyone is an individual and the doctors only want to use what is best for the patient.  NO CORNERS WILL BE CUT!!!!!!!

The doctors and team leaders are also faced with that most difficult task of assessing patient needs. The patients that have the greatest need or the most pain tend to rise to the top of the priority list when supplies start to dwindle.

Wouldn’t it be great if donations to the mission allowed enough implants to be transferred to Cuenca to meet all the patient’s needs and we could get all those surgeries completed????  Please be generous when you assess your ability to donate to a worthy cause this year.

True North Missions is definitely a worthy cause. 

Today I helped Ana Noemi outside to the waiting ambulance that was arranged to take her home.  Normally a patient would just be transported home in a family vehicle or with a relative, but Ana has a little tougher journey ahead of her.  She has to travel 8 hours to get home.  This means she had to journey 8 hours to get to Cuenca for the clinic and assessment and then stay in the city until her surgery.  Can you imagine an 8 hour drive in the back of an ambulance after a major surgery?  I cringe at the thought, but she had a smile on her face and the son accompanying her here through this whole ordeal had nothing but smiles and praise for the team. He was so thankful for the gift Ana received with her new hip.

I also watched Segundo tonight as he powered down the hall of the ward with his walker and then back again with crutches.  He wants to get back home as soon as he can.  I have no doubt he will be discharged tomorrow.

The family members,—– the little boys and girls, be they sons and daughters or grandsons and granddaughters come to sit for hours with their relatives.  They wait patiently while the operation goes on, after the surgeries, and throughout the post-op care and training.  Often, they don’t leave a bedside for food, so anything we can spare is given to them by the ward nurses.  We have so much, and they have so little.  We can’t help everyone, but we are making a difference to a lot of lives. Never forget that,  not as team members and not as mission supporters.  We do make a difference!!!

“We make a living by what we get, we make a life by what we give.” – Winston Churchill

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