About Providence > Providence Health International > Full Story
ABOUT PROVIDENCE | CAREERS | FOR EMPLOYEES | FOR PHYSICIANS | MEDIA
By: Clarissa Cisneros, Emergency department coordinator, Providence St. Joseph Medical Center
Oct. 9, 2013
Claudia and Juan were in the corridor waiting for a bed inside the preop/recovery ward. Donning a faded hospital gown and blue surgical bonnet, 79-year-old Juan sits alone; two empty white plastic chairs stand beside him. He is waiting to start preop for his surgery this morning. His elbows rest on the edges of the chairs, his hands hang down holding his chart loosely against his lap. Juan stares at the floor ahead of him. His eyes full of thought, his face denies expression. Claudia sits across from him holding a green broomstick in front of her; this is her cane. She’s nervous and she has good reason to be.
Claudia is a nurse. She had worked as a nurse for 11 years until an on the job injury forcibly led her into retirement. Married for 47 years, Claudia and Juan have seen, cared for, and guided one another through their own illnesses. But today it is not his past medical history and his pending surgery that are making Claudia anxious, it is the hospital system in which she is seeing him off to that has her worried. No stranger to the national healthcare system and its national hospitals, Claudia expresses her concern regarding her husband’s care. In a soft, assertive tone Juan adds to his wife’s discourse with perfect synchronization. The nurses at the national hospital, he adds, do not care about the patient. Their concern, he says, is for moving patients in and out and not their needs. He shares this as he stares ahead and across the corridor. Claudia sits in an empty chair beside him.
He was called into the ward to begin his preop. Claudia followed and remained with him until he was ready to walk to surgery.
The couple stayed overnight. Juan was discharged mid-morning. As he gathered his belongings, Claudia expresses her gratitude as a wife and concern as a nurse. Tiene que hacer ejercicio para la malla. He needs to exercise for the (surgical) mesh, she says. In hernia repairs, a polypropylene mesh is secured along the abdominal wall allowing, over time, the muscle fibers to grow and be reinforced; aiding in the prevention of future hernias. Ejercicio, Claudia adds, will help her husband’s health and the outcome of his surgery.
Relief in both their eyes, Juan and Claudia walked down the corridor and exited Hilario Galindo.
Interested in volunteering in Guatemala or learning more about PHI?
Fill out the volunteer interest form.
Sign up for the Providence Health International quarterly email newsletter.
Medical teams international
Faith in practice
Public health teams