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Today’s message read “the grand essentials of happiness are: something to do, something to love, something to hope for.”  Howard, PACU’s team builder- nurse extraordinaire, posts daily missions on the scheduling board.  Today at the Hospital General the surgical teams, PACU, the bio-medical technicians, triage nurses and assistants, and the sterile processing department (SPD) assistants started their days early and began patient care before 8:00 am.    With sixteen beds open for patient recovery, PACU was ready to take a full load of patients.

In the OR, the life of a tiny three month old Pablo was changed by an hour long surgery that corrected his cleft lip.  As he was brought into recovery, his mother and subsequently all of the nurses burst into tears of joy.  Next year he will have his cleft palate repaired.  This IS life changing because it affects nutrition, speech and language development, peer and social acceptance for him.

There are words of appreciation that bring tears, even without the drama of surgery.  At the end of work yesterday, Laurel and Margie welcomed 43 yo Maria.  They filled seven prescriptions for her… medicines she would not have been able to afford.  She burst into tears of joy, “because of you, my whole day is beautiful.”  “It’s why we are here,” was the response.

Of course, there are moments of humor.  Erick looked at the wooden, worn-down, too-long, crutch with no rubber tip 67 yo Magda was using.  “It’s too long…wouldn’t you like a new one?”  “No, I like it.”  “Well, maybe you will grow some more.”

Victoria, a 17 year old girl, came to the hospital with a 2.5 kilo (5.5 pound!) noncancerous growth under her arm.  All she wished for was to be able to wear a dress like all of the other girls in her village.  Yesterday she travelled an hour in the back of a pick-up truck and then a six hour bus ride to Mante.  Tomorrow she will return home with her wish granted.

Here’s some more interesting and useful info about DIF.  Every morning DIF provides a free hot meal for every school child.  Sometimes it is their only meal for the day. We learned it is illegal to not allow kids to attend school if they cant speak.  On a different focus, DIF provides free birth control pills.

Some situations we cannot help.  Some congenital anomalies are not ‘fixable.’  It may be enough to provide reassurance for the parents that they are doing the best possible.  And, occasionally there is an angry response.  Yolanda, 52yo, came demanding a prostheses.  We no longer have any to give.  She stated that all of her friends had received one, she deserved one, and we should supply them.  Again, thanks go to DIF who will provide these for poor women living in Mante.

Every year “The Perfect Person’ comes for a ‘useless’ piece of equipment.  43yo Pedro lost both legs in an accident.  He supports himself shining shoes at the plaza.  He has been using a broken-down chair.  PT had one wheelchair with no legs, and a Jay-pad, used to prevent pressure sores.  Pedro has no use for a chair with legs, and the Jay-pad was a perfect fit for his size and needs.

What does ENT stand for?  Maybe it is ‘Ear, Nose, and Toes.’  Sarg went from a T&A to next remove a baseball-sized dermoid cyst from the foot of 78yo Patricio.  Now he can wear his dancing shoes. Because of some problems, OR didn’t finish till 10:00pm last night.  Hopefully that will not recur. The flexibility of folks here is amazing.  The results of our work bring tears of gratitude.

Adios from your reporters Abby and Jean

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