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Trip 13 July 2016

Welcome! This is my 13th trip to Ecuador to work with Dr. Jane Weaver. She has several gynecologic patients waiting for my evaluation and surgery if we determine that is the needed treatment to manage their problems. I am amazed how patient these people are. They will wait months just so they can receive the treatment they need. We seen that patience even when they come for a clinic appointment. It is no problem to them to sit on a hard bench and wait, sometimes for hours, just to be seen and there is never a complaint. Without the care that Jane can bring to them they have no other options other than living with their problem. It is such a joy to me to be able to use the skills God has blessed me with to impact the life of someone who has no ability to obtain this type of care. Through the ministry that Jane has developed we get to be extensions of God’s hands and heart as we reach out and serve those who come in for evaluation and care.

This trip my brother-in-law, Howard White, is going along to work on some maintenance projects for Jane. He went with me in 2014 and at that time put down a ceramic tile floor for Jane. Coming along with us is another brother-in-law, Ted Brower, who is going to work with Howard. The two of them have had a lot of construction experience and they should accomplish a lot for Jane.

Also, Katie Wysong, RN, is going along to provide nursing care. She will be very helpful in the management of the post-op patients. Previous trips I remember the increased stress Jane and I both felt when we had a post-op patient who was experiencing some increased pain or having some other problem yet we were in the middle of another surgery and could not break away to evaluate the problem. We would have to rely on reports from the family members attending the patient or one of Jane’s workers evaluating the situation. In times past we have had the luxury of a nurse working with us who had experience in post-op care and could give us a much better assessment of the patient’s condition. I remember how they were so helpful to us simply by reducing the stress that we felt.

In June I had a problem with my right lower leg. I underwent a total knee replacement a year ago uneventfully. However, I had a Baker’s Cyst develop behind the knee that has persisted for the year and at times becomes quite painful. This cyst develops in an extension of the joint capsule membrane that acts as a reservoir for the joint fluid. Sometimes the conduit to this reservoir behaves like a one-way valve and the fluid becomes trapped. If the fluid volume builds up a cyst will develop. This causes problems because it becomes distended in a space that has muscles and tendons that don’t allow the cyst to expand.  The pressure then causes pain, sometimes a lot of pain. If the cyst is large enough it will put pressure on the vessels draining the lower leg resulting in swelling of the lower leg. This was what happened that precipitated an ultrasound to make sure I was not dealing with a DVT, a deep vein thrombosis or blood clot. If that were the case, my Ecuador travel plans would have been scrapped.

As God would work things, the ultrasound technician, Barbara King, was talking with me as she was scanning the leg. I told her about going to Ecuador in July and also that one of the activities I will be doing this trip was to help Jane learn how to use her portable ultrasound machine. Jane received a donated ultrasound that is portable and this will be a huge help for her in the assessment of masses or other problems here and there in the body. However, she needs training on how to use it and read what she is visualizing. I have had experience in gynecologic ultrasound in my office so Jane and I will work with the ultrasound so she can learn about its use. Barbara made the comment that she would love to go along and teach Jane about ultrasound. To me this was totally God working. The best teacher for Jane is someone who really knows how to do ultrasounds. Barb checked with her manager at the hospital and she is free to go along with us. Jane is excited to have Barb coming so we can use the ultrasound in various situations and Jane can gain first-hand experience in using the machine and interpreting the results.

In the process Jane is having some construction going on to add on to the clinic building so she can have all the post-op patients housed right off the recovery room and not in a separate building. The problem that she faces right now is the construction has been delayed and part of the construction involves opening up a wall of the operating room. With the construction involving the OR directly, we will not be able to do any surgery as the room must be as clean as possible and sterile. Jane is frustrated about the delay and the difficulty getting the construction workers to understand the importance of having the OR intact. She was concerned about me coming and not being able to do any surgery. But, now God has given us a second plan. He brought Barb to us so we can spend several days doing ultrasound. So, if the OR is ready, we will do surgery. If it is not, we will do ultrasounds. Either way we are serving the Lord through serving these patients in need.

So, this trip we will have five people coming to work with Jane. Ted and Howard will be able to get some good work accomplished and I can even join them to help. Katie also is willing to jump in and do whatever, helping with the clinic patients and even helping with maintenance work if needed. All in all, we should still be able to accomplish a lot. Our purpose is to serve God through this. He determines what is needed and provides that guidance. We get the pleasure of bringing Him glory through our efforts and in the process we get the incredible joy of being participants in His work and His miracles.  

We leave Miami for Quito on Wednesday, July 20.  Usually, the flight schedule from Miami involved flights from Miami to Quito leaving in the afternoon and arriving in Quito in the evening.  This necessitated staying overnight in Quito before traveling to San Lorenzo.  This year American Airlines has a flight from Miami to Quito in the morning and we are catching that flight with arrival in the early afternoon. That allows us to leave the airport and proceed directly to San Lorenzo in the daylight and not have to overnight in Quito.  Our return is on Monday, August 1, back to Miami.  I am really looking forward to a great time serving our wonderful God together.  To Him goes all the honor and glory!

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