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8/15/05 (Monday)

Today was a very long day.  We were up to start our surgeries at 7am.  We did a hysterectomy and then a gallbladder and then 5 more hysterectomies.  Our breakfast came at 11 and our lunch at 4.  Obviously, we haven’t had dinner and won’t.  Phyl is cutting up a watermelon right now so we may have some to snack on before hitting the bed.  Tonight, Jane and I was two Chachi Indians from a village on the rivers.  These people are so primitive.  They don’t wear shoes and they are very dirty.  They don’t speak Spanish but have their own tongue.  It was very difficult trying to figure out what the problems were.  Both were sent here for hysterectomies.  Jane was saying that coming to San Lorenzo was like going to the big city for these people.  They don’t know what to do and are totally lost.  These people are very short stature, probably only about 4 to 4 1/2 feet tall.  They are the primitive of the primitive.  I would enjoy taking a trip up the river sometime just to see their village.  Jane said sometime she may arrange such a trip.  These villages are some of the main areas where river blindness has been a big problem.  The mission organization here does a lot of work with river blindness.  Merck Company makes the cure for this disease and gives it free to the country of Ecuador and other South American countries where river blindness is a problem.  This trip has been quite different than before because of seeing some of these people. 


Phyl spent the day working with us in surgery.  She cleaned instruments and washed linens.  She said OSHA and the Board of Health would probably shut this place down! 🙂  Yet, the work continues and many people receive health care that wouldn’t be available otherwise.  She came into the OR to watch some of the surgeries and to cool down as the OR is the only place where there is air conditioning. 

Phyl cleaning linen and instruments at the one and only sink for this

Phyl cleaning linen and instruments at the one and only sink for this


Tomorrow, we have another full day with 5 hysterectomies and possibly a cancer surgery if the guy shows up.  He has stomach cancer, a very common problem here in Ecuador.  All total, we have 28 cases this week.  It will be a very busy week for us.


The patients come out of surgery and go to their beds in the next building.  Their family members care for them and keep us informed if there are any problems.  One of the clinic staff checks on them periodically. 


Time to get to bed…


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