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Not All Who Wander Are Lost… Everything you ever wanted to know about my Dominican mission work

Surgery in a developing country… it’s another world!

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Believe it or not, today was the first time in all 5 of my visits here that I’ve worked even one minute in an organized medical setting, clinic or surgery.  The clinic next door to our guesthouse has 2 operating rooms and several other consultation offices, laboratory, xray and other services.  It is run entirely by Dominican medical professionals, with the help of many of the Solid Rock staff and volunteers of all sorts.

left : OR #2, all “set around and ready for a minor GYN procedure

I joined the North Carolina surgical team, headed by Dr. Skip Johnstone, today.  He’s a Gynecological surgeon who brought a team of nurses, a resident, some recent nursing school grads, a scrub tech and a circulating nurse.  I’m glad to have been able to help in a complicated hysterectomy, as well as in the recovery room where we had to improvise an elbow immobilizer by taping a pants hanger to a cardboard IV board.  Good times!

Our Recovery Room (PACU)… Dominican family members are expected to stay with the patients, take care of their potty needs, hold their hands and basically do much of the personal care while the patient is in the hospital.

Actually, the day started with the usual loading of the supply trailer.  It’s quite a process, and requires lots of muscle to pack the huge pharmacy station, the water and food coolers, the hygiene and children’s supplies and the emergency bags.

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As is tradition, our group attended the flag raising ceremony this morning at one of the local schools.  This particular school was built by Solid Rock International, and serves 1400 students from Pre-K through high school.  Each morning, the kids have to be inside the gate by 7:55 on the dot.  If they’re late, they cannot attend school that day.  At 8:00, they have morning prayers, and raise the flags while singing the national anthem and the school song.  It’s a beautiful sight to see.

It seems like this week has been busier than usual, with very little time for deep thoughts or reflection.  It’s always interesting to see how the different (sometimes strong) personalities of the group members mesh in close quarters like this.   There are also always lessons to learn and “notes to self” of things to remember for next year.  It’s been quite a trip, for sure, but it’s also been a JOURNEY.

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Just a little scene from the barrio (neighborhood) close to our headquarters.

Tonight, we will enjoy a nice buffet meal at a local restaurant called Bienvenidos.  Tomorrow is already our last barrio day, the week has flown by!  More later.

 

 

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