I had such a great experience!! I never thought I would end up doing acupuncture in Guayaquil since I don’t study medicine! But I’m so glad that I decided to come because I had the chance to meet really cool people and learn a little bit of holistic medicine. This opportunity gave me the chance to see the main objective of the practitioners is to heal and help people but I think that the patients heal them too because your problems get smaller when you realize that other people have really big problems and they make you feel so happy when they get better and feel really so thankful and that heals your heart. I thank all my friends who taught me all these important things and shared really nice moments with me. I love you all!
Hey this is Christian from Cuenca and I have been working as a translator in this week’s mission with Blanca’s House. It has been a hectic week here in Guayaquil, and I’m having a wonderful new experience with all of the acupuncture practicitioners and the other member of the staff. I have learned a lot in this week, I’m in the middle of my psychology mayor and everything that we’ve been doing here has been great as a learning experience. Hundreds of patients and families have been treated and that feels really good to see all these people happy.
Thanks a lot for the awesome experience! =)
Today’s Almost Final Numbers:
Saturday + Sunday + Monday + Tuesday + Wednesday =
Total Patients Registered: 79
Total Surgeries Performed: 53
Total Procedures Performed: 117 (some patients had their left and right eyes done)
Total Sum of Services Donated: $568,067.00
This mission will become a documentary….Corinna and Jed have been filming in every nook and cranny of the hospital and the activity they encounter at every turn. Most everyone on the team was interviewed and each and every one referred to our motto, MAINTAIN MAXIMUM FLEXIBILITY. That’s what keeps our team running so smoothly. Once they complete the editing process we’re all looking forward the “premiere.”
Another bright spot has been the helpfulness of the patient’s families. They have brought us food and are now volunteering to translate, if they can, or escort patients from one area to another.
Another light shined down upon us today. Two moms with their sons came from Guayaquil to have eye surgery. When the first child was being discharged, the mom asked if we could help her find an inexpensive hotel. One of our team members went out the front gate and asked a passerby if they knew where they might be able to stay in town overnight. Next thing we knew he went home to get his wife, returned to the hospital and offered their home for the two families. Takes your breath away.
Ophthalmological surgical medicine is extremely expensive in Ecuador and doctors will not administer anesthesia to children. So, together with the ophthalmologist at the hospital and using our drugs, surgical microscope, and anesthesia providers, we are hopefully going to operate on 15 children today… cataracts (congenital or not) and strabismus. The first little one was 9 months old…his surgery lasted two hours.
The School Visit
During every mission we arrange a visit to a school or orphanage. This time we were able to walk to the primary school around the corner from the hospital. The two principals met us and shared their school campus. Compared to what we are used to, this school didn’t have very much. The windows in the classrooms have bars but no glass. There was a basketball court, but not any other equipment except an old slide, and of course, no air conditioning. The children are, as always, a joy. They sang to us, then it was our turn to sing for them. They received more applause than they gave back…15 adults singing the Eensy Weesy Spider will never be an off-Broadway musical. We brought toys and school supplies which we handed out to two classes of four and five-year-olds. We also gave the teachers some school supplies. The gratitude is always enormous.
MY EXPERIENCE AT BLANCAS’S HOUSE
BLANCA’S HOUSE MISSIONS HAVE BEEN AWESOME EXPERIENCES, I FOUND OUT ABOUT THE FOUNDATION, THROUGH MY SCHOOL, AND AS A MEDICAL STUDENT IT HAS HELPED ME A LOT, AND THE PEOPLE THAT WORK HERE ARE JUST AMAZING!! THE DOCTORS ARE REALLY HELPFUL AND OPEN TO TEACH AND LISTEN TO ANY DOUBTS YOU MAY HAVE; THIS IS AN AWESOME LEARNING EXPERIENCE! AND THE TEAM THAT PUTS THE MISSION TOGETHER ARE INSANE!! I DON’T KNOW HOW THEY PULL THIS OFF, FROM ORGANIZING, TO FUNDING, TO SOLVING CRAZY PROBLEMS ALONG THE WAY, THEY ARE JUST GENIOUSES. I WANT TO THANK EVERYBODY BECAUSE THIS HAS REALLY HELPED ME GROW AS A HUMAN BEING; I HAVE MADE GREAT FRIENDS AND MET SOME OF THE MOST INTERESTING PEOPLE!! AND I LOOK FORWARD TO SEE YOU AGAIN IN MY THIRD MISSION WITH THE FOUNDATION!!
SEE YOU AGAIN SOON!
FIFTH YEAR MEDICAL STUDENT (CUENCA, ECUADOR)
Before the team left, our mami knee replacement began showing the symptoms of her anemia…light-headed, extensively fatigued. She received two pints of blood. Needing more, one of our team members donated. The Red Cross is a few blocks away from the hospital. Walking over, they generously allowed us to take the empty bags back with us to the hospital. We now have some if needed. Her color is much pinker today and she’s feeling a whole lot better. Hopefully, she will be able to start her therapy.
and…here she is!
Speaking of therapy, all our patients from Saturday, Sunday, Monday, and today are either walking with walkers or canes; up and down the long hallway twice every hour or more. As mentioned earlier, their determination in working through their pain is inspiring. Every time you enter the hallway, two or three are walking, walking, walking with smiles on their faces. (You can see it on today’s photo gallery.)
The Emergency Department is quite bare. The beds and other furniture are quite old. Once again, there’s so much we take for granted.
Along with the happilyy ever afters, there’s always one case that will break your heart. Fanny had knee surgery many years ago, but, over the years developed significant pain and began limping. After our scrutinizing her x-rays, it was decided there was a good possibility the s
First day in a 3rd world country was .
Can’t even flush toilet paper.
Totally different way of life.
So many people whose lives will be bettered by us being here.
Late to bed and early to rise.
Orthopedic rounds went well. All four of our patients are walking with assistance. The ophthalmologists began their first cataract surgery quite quickly after we arrived. The first knee replacement is ready to go. The hospital is in full swing today not only with activity of our team, but the hospital has its full staff here…it’s rather a busy place.
Just now, the children of our only female knee replacement stopped by. They own a local banana plantation and brought us three huge boxes for our patients and us. We thanked them generously. What they told us is what Blanca’s House is all about…the gift of the bananas is nothing compared to what we have done for their mom. The bananas are perfectly ripe and deliciously sweet. After dropping off the bananas, they wanted us to e familiar with the other fruits of Ecuador. Make sure to take a look in the photo gallery in the “Around and About the Hospital” collection. By the way, we’ve never seen avocados that large!
Our physical therapists were able to check out the hospital’s physical therapy facility. It is quite archaic mixed with a few pieces of more modern machines and a up-to-date soaking tub. Make sure you look at those, too.
As more patients were coming out of knee surgery, we filled up the first quad room on the floor. Pre-op was set up in the other room across the hall Saturday and Sunday. Before patient number five was rolled over, the room was quickly broken down and then set up in a small lobby area not too far from the nurses’ station. I was “wonderful” moving from a somewhat cool air-conditioned space out into the humidity and heat of the day. (It’s the summer rainy season…)
Knee replacement surgery is not a gentle procedure. Not only is there the sound of mallets and drills, the knee is moved in ways you wouldn’t think possible ensuring the position of the replacement is correct and total range of motion is possible. So far 14 cataract patients have been discharged. Some of those will be returning to have their other eye done.
Preliminary numbers/days 1, 2, and 3: As of 4:30 this afternoon –
51 patients have registered
40 surgeries performed
67 total procedures performed (some patients require more than one procedureS
Total Sum of Services Donated: $357,833.00
Tomorrow’s anticipated numbers:
4 knee replacements are scheduled
Cataract surgeries are scheduled as patients arrive in the morning.
Being my first mission, I was up late the night before we left, stressing over every detail I could think of. I had never left the country before and had no idea what to expect. Will I be able to understand our clients? Will they be able to understand me? How am I going to impress all of these highly skilled practitioners?
Well, all of my worries and fears went right out the window as soon we got off the plain and pretty much went to work immediately. Everyone here works with each other so well and there hasn’t been any real conflict. It goes to show when you get a group of like minded people who all want to create something beautiful, you get resounding results. Our clientele have a wide range of needs and you can see if in their faces and the way they walk once they finish their treatment (not to mention the whole hearted love and appreciation they express), that we’re creating a real difference down here.
It’s only our second day here, but I’m overcome with a sense of pride and satisfaction to have the honor of being a part of the organization, and look forward to the rest of this mission, and future ones to come!
A Raccoon’s Tale
At some point last night, a few items were omitted from yesterday’s blog, so let’s catch up.
- Nine members of the team remained in Guayaquil, headed to La Clinica Centro de Salud. Acupuncture team got started a whole lot quicker that we did here in Pasaje.
- Traveling from Guayaquil to Machala to Passje was, for the most part, flat. Rice patties, banana plantations, cacao trees lined the roadside. Passing through some small towns reminds you of how lucky we truly are. The poverty and living conditions break your heart.
- The military hospital is one of the nicer hospitals we have been to. It’s an interesting juxtaposition of old concrete and beautiful flowers and foliage, kept clean and organized.
The rest of the team arrived back to the hotel at 12:30am. Up to the rooms, shower, and take a “long nap.” Breakfast was at 6:00am and then on the bus to the hospital at 6:40am.
We have registered 12 patients needing cataract surgery and five patients are ready for their knee replacement surgery. Waiting on another batch of cataract patients to arrive and register…the goal is 30 people per day divided between our two surgeons.
Many family members line the outdoor and indoor corridors waiting patiently for their loved one to finally arrive in the recovery area. No matter how long they wait to be screened, registered,”pre-opped,” “surgeried,” and “recovered,” there is not a complaint or unkind word spoken.
As with many of the patients Blanca’s House has seen and treated over the last few years, medical problems have progressed to a point we never see in the states. One gentlemen’s cataract surgery lasted two hours. Typically a surgery of this type is a half hour long. His lens was so thick and dense and should have been removed many years ago. That surgery lasted two hours. Driving ten hours from Puyo to Pasaje, a young 30 year old has had cataracts since birth. Not having the $5,000.00 it would cost in Ecuador to treat, she has lived her life in shadows. One eye yesterday, the other today…she returned to the hospital crying with happiness and hugging everyone.
Another amazing event occurred today. One of our “papis” had knee replacement surgery last night and, not even 24 hours later, he was up and walking down the hallway with only a cane. Our Physical Therapists had begun ranging his knee and teaching him and his family the exercises he needs to do to continue strengthening that knee, as well right out of surgery. The determination and desire to resume life without pain is admirable. Most of all, he wants to get back to playing volleyball with his teammates.
In the midst of the seriousness of restoring a person’s quality of life, there’s always a little humor. One of our older gentlemen who was here for cataract surgery, came into pre-op for his vitals and IV. He was handed a hospital gown and told to go into the bathroom to change. After a little while, the nurses, having started two more IVs, noticed the gentleman hadn’t come out of the bathroom and heard what sounded like the shower. Well, not only had he changed, he did decide to take a shower first. He came out soaking wet in his hospital gown. But, of course there were no towels. He finally dried himself off with the current gown and then put on s perfectly dry one and he was on his way.
More knee replacements have been performed today. Each and every one of the men who had their surgeries earlier today, were up and waking with the Physical Therapist and a walker. Their resilience is incredible. One even said he even walking better than before – his surgery was this afternoon.
Never a dull moment….We found s quite large frog amidst the empty Blanca’s House boxes. Of course, it had to have visitors. After picking the frog up, we had the opportunity to “kiss” the frog and wait for our price or princess to appear. No luck.