Amigos For Christ

Thursday, April 15, 2010

March 28th - May 2nd

Wow, a lot has happened since my last apologies for not updating this thing as frequently as I said I would. The last few weeks in Nica have been altogether amazing (I'll do my best to squeeze everything in)! After the First surgical group that came with Dr. Richard Nutt left, one of the other missionaries, Jeremy, led a trip for the other missionaries to Somoto Canyon. This was a scouting trip for Jeremy. He is in charge of a new program that Amigos for Christ is offering called "Mission Adventures" Mission adventures is geared towards fusing mission trip services with outdoor adventures, such as hiking, rock climbing, camping etc... It's a little bit longer than the standard 1 week missions that Amigos offers and it's a couple of days of service and a couple days of outdoors fun. We had a blast surveying Somoto Canyon. The first day we went on a six hour hike/swim through the canyon and camped out on the river bed area at night. The canyon hike was beautiful and filled with high jumps off of boulders into the river. On day two we found the perfect area to set up for rock climbing. Jeremy, John (my boss) and I spent the first half of the day cleaning out the brush to make the wall climbable and setting up. What makes this area so cool for climbing is that you start already hundreds of feet up the canyon, so after climbing another hundred feet up, you get the feeling and the view of just having climbed way more than you actually have. That was a great trip for planning future trips but also just for spending time getting to know each other better. We also had the blessing of celebrating my girlfriends birthday at the end of March. Katie turned veinte y cuatro this year. It was a blessing in that we were able to surprise her with a b-day party, and not only were five of her really close friends from the U.S. visiting her that week but we coordinated it so that friends from the local younglife group, church, one of the villages we work in, and all the other missionaries were able to be there. It was awesome and probably one of the most successful surprise parties I've ever witnessed. The next week we had another highschool group from Atlanta come to Nicaragua, the Prince of Peace mission group. The group was full of energy and lots of fun to be with. Aside from the usual cuts and blisters there were a couple medical challenges the group threw at me. One of the girls was stung by an insect that caused her entire arm to swell up and bruise. My online epocrates diagnosed it as an anaphylactoid reaction, more than a local reaction but not quite anaphylaxis....between her and the other missionary who had an esophagitis flair up from taking a malaria pill right before bedtime, I was a little on edge that week. One of the Leaders from the POP group brought down a slew of reading glasses and we ran a reading glasses or anteojos clinic for the people of Villa Catalina. Surprisingly there were about 75 people that were in need of reading glasses as well as two people that were profiled as having cataracts who will be referred when our ophthalmologic surgical group comes down. It was affirming to see the people's faces when they were finally able to read the letters on the page and leave the clinic smiling. Later on the following week I went over to visit a gentleman who lives in Chinandega who had been hit by a truck last year and suffered a complete fracture to his left tibia that resulted in a massive infection, it had since then closed and healed up nicely but the bone will need to be surgically repaired with fixation. When Dr. Nutt was hear with his group he showed me how to remove and apply a fiberglass cast on the very same person. On Dr. Nutt's last day in Nica he found an orthosis for support that could be given to this man in place of the fiberglass cast, only I would have to give it to him because Dr. Nutt wouldn't have the time. So after gathering the needed supplies, we paid the gentleman a visit, removed his cast and replaced it with the orthosis. It fit him perfectly aside from the fact that he will need to add some height to the heel so that it's level with his other foot. I was a little nervous about removing the cast alone without supervision but he was counting on me. It was a blessing to be able to help him. At the end of that week, me and a couple of other missionaries went on a church retreat with the youth of the local church that I have been attending. It was great to spend time with some of the young adults; playing water volleyball in a river, camping, and praising Jesus (in espanol of course). Following that week of mostly down time (planning, cleaning, and distributing meds to villages) we had a surgical team come down to Nicaragua that consisted of mostly nurses, a few doctors, a couple of translators and the coolest clinical psychologist I've ever met. The team was led by Dr. Lou Smith from UTK but everyone was from all over (mostly Knoxville, Atlanta, New Orleans and Denver). The majority of the cases were hernia repairs and cholycystectomies with a few odds and ins. It was a honor to work with this team but also just good to see how surgical trips are run through this organization. I mostly ran the post-op room, although I was able to sneak into the OR a couple of times. This week was great too because my girlfriends sister, Megan Fitzgeral RN (haha), had just arrived. She is the newest addition to the american missionary staff at Amigos and will be leading the Health team with me on the ground. I may have neglected to mention in the last entry that there had been a drastic change with the leadership of the health team that has shifted Megan and I into leadership positions. It is definitely overwhelming and we have our work cut out for us, but at the same time it is undoubtedly a huge honor. Anyways, all of the surgeries went well with the exception of one man who had scrotal surgery and the testicle began to swell and turn rigid in the PACU after my second wound inspection. He was rushed back to the OR and all was well after a few minor adjustments were made. All in all the spring surgical group was a total success and an awesome experience. I thank God for people that can just swoop in and make such an enormous impact in less than one weeks time, and they still found time to make it to the beach somehow.... Megan and I are currently surveying the three main villages that we'll be working in for the next years time. In addition to gathering statistical medical data, surveying is proving to be a great opportunity for us to get to know the community and vice a versa. The other day Patricia, the house cook/financer/mom/everything, came to me and wanted to know if we were able to help a family friend of hers who has a child with CP, by donating a wheelchair to the family. The ortho surgeon who visited in March brought down two wheelchairs, one of which suited this nine year old girl perfectly. It was plain to see that the wheelchair made getting from A to B a thousand times easier on her and her family. I'm very glad that we were able to help them. Alright that's all I can write for now, thank you all for reading and keeping me, the nicaraguans that I'm working with, and the other missionaries in your prayers and hearts. I miss everyone from home mucho, and I'll be home the last week in July this summer so... Adios por ahora...

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