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By: Clarissa Cisneros, Emergency department coordinator, Providence St. Joseph Medical Center
By now, as you know, we made it to Antigua. The worst of our worries were well behind us, right? Not quite. Get ready for another day of fun and excitement with our team. Remember that sweet spot I had you find in the last post? Well, it’s time to find it once more.Faith in Practice had us round up and head down the street to Casa de Fe, a temporary home-away-from home for patients and their families traveling from outside of Antigua for surgery and health services at Obras Sociales del Santo Hermano Pedro. It’s here that we learned the role we play in Guatemala. We learn of the immense need for services and the difficulty many families face in trying to obtain medical care. What we as a group are providing, just like the groups before us and the groups to follow, are surgical services for individuals who risk being placed on yearlong waiting lists for treatment in state run facilities or who would otherwise not be able to afford care on their own.From there, we head over to Obras Sociales, an orphanage run by Franciscan Friars and met the children and elderly living here. In the nursery, a little boy named Diego Garcia stole the hearts of many on the team. Little Diego is a charmer and knows how to work the room. He was in his crib, crying. As soon as we figured out how to bring down the railings, he paused. Diego knew what was coming next. We spent some time with Diego and the residents of Obras that day; holding them, talking to them, seeing their cries fade away into gorgeous smiles. This was something we saw with a lot of the residents at Obras. Regardless of their condition, they extended their hands to meet ours and by doing so, reminding us that we are no different from each other. Our exchange of greetings connected us for a brief, impactful moment in time.
We left Obras and continued onto our journey to Retalhuleu, a three to four hour drive from Antigua. Four-hour drive, that’s easy. Right? No. No it was not. Our bus was on the road for about an hour. We hit that moment on our trip where we finally allowed our bodies to fall into the rhythm of the road. Swaying from side to side, cradling us like we cradled Diego. Those who let their heads hang down or against the window for a nap got a rude awakening. Literally. We all did. The back tire blew and the noise made was loud enough to announce our roadblock to all onboard. It took our team of general surgeons, anesthesiologists and our driver to get that tire out. Not changed, but out. The wheel-well had been mangled, the tire completely shredded. After reinforcement made it to us, the wheel-well was pried back far enough to NOT cause another blow out. We continued on our way to Reu.
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