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2/12/08 (Tuesday)

I would like to call this day, “Distractions.”  About 5 AM the power went out.  We have a back-up generator that will likely be started soon.  In fact, as I write this at 6:34 AM, the generator just started.  It is a very, very noisy diesel generator that drowns out every other noise in the world, at least in this world.  We will have auxiliary power until the main power comes on.  This is the first time for me to have so many power outages.  We had them before but only occasionally, not almost daily.  We will still be able to operate and continue our schedule, however, the power instability makes for a few challenges.  Also, our water pumps failed.  Jane was saying the switching mechanism for the pumps failed.  So, someone has to manually turn on and off the pumps to allow us to have water.  Jane has a gravity system as a back-up but we have to fill that with the pump.  The gravity system will supply us with some water as long as someone monitors it and runs the pump periodically.  These are a couple of the distractions that I feel are directed by the enemy of God to attempt to thwart His work here in San Lorenzo.  We may have other events today that will attempt to exile us from God.  Thus, we keep praying and keep focused on doing God’s work and allowing Him to master the details.  That is His specialty anyway. 

Father, I come to You today, this day of distractions.  We are being challenged by Your enemy through problems that could frustrate and even stop Your work here.  We are being challenged to focus on the problems and not on You.  However, Lord, nothing is impossible to You.  You promise that in Your Holy Scripture and You give examples over and over of that very truth.  Lord, Master of all creation, King of Kings, Lord of Lords, the Alpha and Omega, please keep us close to You today and especially do not allow these distractions to pull our focus and our faith from You.  Lord, protect us today.  Equip us with Your power.  Give us clear thinking to work through the tasks before us.  Allow us to complete Your work today.  Lord, especially, shelter the patients with Your love and Your healing power.  Please protect them with Your mighty hand.  Thank You, Lord, for this opportunity to see You work in us and through us.  Thank You, Lord!  Amen. 

I was able to shower in the dark with the only light being my little flashlight.  I had it mounted in a roll of toilet paper so it shone on the ceiling and gave me enough light to actually see.  The water was by gravity so I had a little water to bathe.  By 7:00 I was at the clinic and the city power came back on so we started our day.  We had 5 cases today. 

Our first surgery was a posterior repair and enterocoele.  Actually, it was almost all enterocoele.  Barb assisted me and learned about this type of repair.  The case went smoothly without any power failure or problem. 

After the first surgery we stopped for breakfast.  Annette and Linda had been rounding on the post-op patients and reported everyone was doing quite well with no difficulties.  The worm lady was still nauseated and vomited occasionally bringing up more worms.  Jane said since she was not eating, the worms were seeking food and they will travel out of the gut into the stomach in search of food.  This causes nausea and then the worms come up.  She advised feeding this woman so she will not keep vomiting worms and treating her with worm medicine to get rid of them.  This was our breakfast conversation.  It did not help the scrambled eggs and toast that otherwise were very tasty. 

Our second case was a very obese woman with a history of cervical cancer that had been treated with radiation.  Barb and I did this surgery with Jane assisting.  Because of her size, the surgery was quite difficult and stressful.  Linzy was passing instruments and she was very busy.  She kept up with us and did a marvelous job anticipating our needs and correctly handling the instruments and suture.  I am very proud of her.  We were about exhausted after this surgery because of the intense struggle just to achieve proper exposure and to get the surgery accomplished appropriately.  It also is difficult because Jane does not have the retractors that would be very helpful in this situation.  That makes the procedure a struggle just to see everything.  

Our third patient had an anterior repair.  Barb did this surgery with me assisting.  She did a very nice job with the surgery.  She has been in practice only a year or so and she has not had a lot of experience with these types of cases.  She is learning a lot from me as we work together. 

Our fourth patient was a posterior repair for a rectocoele.  Barb also did this procedure and accomplished a good repair without difficulty.   

We had one patient that cancelled her surgery but then a patient from the rivers came in wanting to be seen.  She had a complete prolapse of the uterus and vagina.  Since we had space on the schedule, we went ahead and operated on her.  This surgery was very difficult, one of the most difficult surgeries I ever experienced.  Barb and I struggled through this over about 4 hours.  The exposure was not the best as the patient had a spinal anesthetic and was nauseated.  She would wretch now and then and push her bowel down into our field and we would have to stop.  Then the power went out a couple times.  Our back-up generator failed to start and we later learned that the generator is not working at all.  We had some minutes in the OR with no windows and it was very dark.  That is quite disconcerting when you are in someone’s abdomen getting ready to place a suture and the lights go out.  We could not see each other standing at the table.  It was completely dark.  Linzy was passing instruments and again she kept up and did a great job.  We finally got the surgery completed.  By now we were exhausted, not just tired.  Our day was complete at 10:15 PM…just in time for dinner. 

 I will be heading to bed soon.  I am tired and need to lie down.  We have another full day tomorrow.   It is 11:15 and the power just went out again.  The generator is now running and I don’t think we will be able to sleep because of all the noise.  What a challenge.  You just have to laugh because we are too tired to cry! 

Father, today has been more stressful and potentially distracting than I anticipated.  Not only were the surgeries difficult, the power outages complicated that even more.  Lord, help us with the back-up generator.  We need that power if we are going to do the surgery.  I have not experienced the frequency of power outages that we have had so far this trip.  Father, please touch the patients we treated today and fill them with Your healing power.  Thank You for Your presence and giving us wisdom to complete the work before us.  Thank You for bringing Linzy, Annette, Barb, and Linda here to work with us.  They have filled in the gaps and have made our work easier.  Lord, bless them in a special way tonight.  Thank You for this day.  It was a good day because You were in it all the time.  Thank You, Lord.  Amen. 


1. Gwen Brower - February 12, 2008

Hello Marv,
Just want to let you know that we are praying for all of you and your patients. I read this quote today and immediately thought of you, so here it is:
“Happiness keeps you sweet, trials keep you strong, sorrow keeps you human, failures keep you humble, success keeps you glowing, but only GOD keeps you going!”
Bless you and much love from Gwen & Kent.

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