Clinic Day 3

Hi everybody! Thank you so much for following our blog and for your continuous prayers and concerns. Everyone is starting to feel much better. We were able to figure out what was wrong with everybody and we are now able to treat it. Please pray for healing for our team.

The clinic has been very successful and the team has become closer than any other team has in the past. I would bet that this is due to the illness that affected the vast majority of us.

We have had a lot of God moments since we have been here. First off, the nurses that are part of our team or unbelievable! We would not be able to do it without them. These women are truly superheroes.

Yesterday at clinic I had the opportunity to wash an elderly woman´s feet. It was an incredible experience. I could definitely see God in that moment. She was so grateful. All of the people of Sumpango are very grateful!

Our interpreters are truly amazing as well. When everyone on our team started getting sick, we gave the interpreters a chance to go home so that they would not be affected. Instead of going home, they stayed and cleaned everything! These people are wonderful. They bring so much energy and life to our team.

We have helped a lot of people and I believe that God is working in each and every one of us. Each day of clinic has been better than the previous day. Today is our last day of clinic, so please pray that we can help as many people as God intended before we leave.

Tomorrow we will be visiting a very small and impoverished city in the outskirts of Guatemala. We will get to see a feed center where many children are fed each day. I hope that we will get to volunteer some of our time and leftover energy to help them.

After we visit the village will be going to Antigua to experience more of the Guatemalan culture. Saturday will be our last day in Guatemala. We will be giving presents to the orphans and spending some time with them. Our flight leaves Guatemala city at 8PM and should land in Chicago around 12AM. Please pray for safe travels.

We love you all and miss you all very very much. We cannot wait to see all of you again and give you big hugs and kisses. Please continue to pray for us. I am not sure if I will be able to write tomorrow, but I will certainly try.

-Alex

 

A Message from Dr. Kraeger

Captain’s Blog – Stardate 1/10/2012 – Guatemala Galaxy


 

Today we encountered one of our biggest challenges ever on a medical mission trip.  It’s Tuesday and we should be in clinic today.  Instead there are 22 of us who have come down with some mysterious illness.  Yesterday, in our first day of clinic, we had a team member or two get sick each hour beginning at 9 am.  For most, it began with severe retching vomiting followed by water like diarrhea.  For several of us, it was just the reverse.  What followed was about two hours of rigors (violent chills where you can’t stop shaking) until all of the bones in your body ached.  Chills were the norm followed by low fevers where you felt quite hot.  Multiple members required IVs and this is where the God stories begin.

 

We have always carried an emergency kit solely for our team.  In it were two half liter bags of normal saline.  As Derek Leonard, our trip director and pharmacist prepared the kit he noticed the bags had expired.  To order them, he needed to order 10 1-liter bags along with the kit with the IV line and needle.  He decided to throw five of those bags in the kit.  Little did he know how badly they would be needed?  In the six medical mission trips I have been on, we have never used one IV bag.  This time we not only used those, we needed to scour the local pharmacies in and around Sumpango for more.  Several of the seven Guatemalan medical students who work with us as interpreters were busy on their cell phones trying to find more liters of fluid so we could make it through the night.  They were calling as far away as Antigua, an hour’s drive, and willing to go get them for us.  Fortunately Dr. Paredes, our local physician, was able to find some within 15 minutes of Sumpango. Oscar Chiquitó, our local connection with Los Olivos, was gracious enough to bring them out to us late last night so we could keep those in need hydrated.  All toll; we went through over 15 liter bags Monday and today.

 

This is where you find out what kind of team you have.  To begin with we had eight physicians and four very experienced nurses.  Julie Price has been on these trips for the past five years.  Jolene Tramburg was on the trip to Guatemala last year and Roberta Dobrzanski and Ruth Glodowski joined us for the first time.  Hopefully the experience from this year won’t deter them from future trips as they were indispensible.   These nurses became our guardian angels; shifting in to high gear as the needs arose and never showing any sign of panic.  They worked tirelessly starting IV lines, tending to the sick, recording vitals and working together as a team as if they had worked together for years.  Truth be told; none of them had ever worked together.  Nurses are that way; the unsung heroes behind the scenes of every war the US has ever been in.  To begin to list each one’s skill set would do injustice to the others as I would most likely miss some.  Suffice it to say that we had all the skill sets required to run a first rate field hospital.  They worked tirelessly throughout Monday night until two of them required IVs themselves today.

 

 

 

 

I put Dr. Jean Montgomery in charge of our infirmary.  I can manage neck injuries and dislocated ankles on the football field but with illnesses like we had I was happy to hand the reigns over to one with much more experience than I.  We were actually very well prepared with our team.  Dr. Jarabek is a newly retired internal medicine doctor from Ministry and Dr. VanHeest is a newly retired general/vascular surgeon from Milwaukee.  We had two pediatricians from the Marshfield Clinic; Dr. Koehn is a pediatric neurologist and Dr. Trinh is a pediatric hospitalist who works with hospitalized children and infants in the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU).  Dr Montgomery works with Aspirus in internal medicine and Dr. Arnold is one of our pathologists at Ministry.  Dr. Chen is a cardiologist from the Mayo Clinic and I do sports medicine at Ministry.  To say the least, I felt we were very well qualified as a team to handle most anything.

 

Miraculously, we had 10 or so members who to date have not contracted the illness.  Four of our physicians and two of the nurses have somehow managed to escape the drudge.  They, along with several of the medical students, have been invaluable to the rest of us as they served us meals, scrubbed bathrooms and floors with bleach, changed bedding, and basically tended to our every need.  They were servants to all of us and we are so grateful for their courage.  Our thought is that this is some virus we have not seen before but it could be just the typical traveler’s diarrhea as well.  What ever it was, it tested our team’s resolve and by God’s grace, we are prevailing.  Hopefully the illness is behind us and tomorrow we will be back serving the wonderful Guatemalan people instead of ourselves.  The concern they had for us was evident by the fact that the elders of Los Olivos Church came out to the orphanage where we stay and prayed for us this afternoon.  They are such a wonderful people and always so gracious and caring to us.

 

Pastor Heath led us through worship tonight and the chorus to one of our songs seemed to sum up our situation.

 

Our God is greater, our God is stronger

God, you are higher than any other

Our God is Healer, awesome and power

Our God, Our God…

 

To that we just say “Thank you Lord” for getting us through these past two days.

Clinic Day 1

Today is the first day of clinic. We are taking turns going on lunch break at the Chiquito´s house. The morning went by very fast and we saw a lot of patients. I really feel like we are impacting the people of Sumpango. We will be seeing patients until approximately 4:30PM and then we will clean up and head back to the orphanage.

Everything seems to be going very well. Some of the medical students from Guatemala City have come to help us and translate for us. They are all very nice and very helpful. We are so blessed to have them help us on this trip.

A few of our team members are feeling under the weather, so please pray for health and strength for our team.

I also wanted to let you know that we found out that the parrot´s name is actually Holly, although they are not sure if it is a boy or a girl. To find out if a parrot is male or female, you actually have give them an x-ray!

Roberta would like to tell her kids that she loves them and misses them very much!

I hope to write again today or tomorrow. Please keep us in your thoughts and prayers. Below is a post from Dr. Dan Kraeger. Please read and enjoy! :)

-Alex

Captains Blog - Stardate 1/8/12 - Guatemala Galaxy


We’ve arrived without incident; probably our smoothest journey this century.  Many on our team used soft-side Army duffels for the first time and there was considerable concern about how my Cheetos supply would fare.  I am happy to report that the shoe box I placed them in served as adequate protection from the airport bandits who are often bent on destroying our luggage.  The family sized bag arrived unscathed.  Being the generous soul that I am, I informed the team that each member could feel free to have two per day.  The M & M’s also survived proving once again that the little hard shell is adequate protection as we journey nearer the equator, to keep my precious chocolate from melting.  Thank you Lord, for Life Is Good with some little comforts from home.

Thanks to Dr. Arnold’s persistence and diligence, we walked through customs with our meds and supplies with no hassles and tax exempt status.  They did search each of our 30 action packers but found no fault with our contents.  Lloyd had sent a copy of the content’s previously to Monica’s mom (one of our favorite Guatemalan med students mom is a lawyer) and we had all of the signed and sealed documents ready to present to the customs agents.  They simply stamped three of our passports and listed the orphans gifts, toothbrushes and paste from Delta Dental next to the stamp and told us that we cannot bring anymore gifts to Guatemala for the next six months.  We all smiled and they thanked us for helping their country.  J

As we turn in for the evening, many of us have been up for the past 36 plus hours.  It reminds me a little of those days in residency so many years ago.  Days I’ve erased for the most part as other bits of life have been added to my hard drive memory.  I need a few more gigs of RAM perhaps.  Our team of 32 handled this trip remarkably well as we flew in, set up, and attended two church services all in one day.  We have always had an extra day so this was a change.  And all who know me know that I am soooo great with change.  We have an awesome group including Carrie Kingston who was able to decide to join us within two hours when we had an unexpected cancellation Friday.  She obviously is flexible and Scott is a great dad and husband.  She will be our resident artist, again something new, creating some beautiful paintings this week that she will donate to the church and orphanage.

And oh, by the way, you probably don’t have to pray for our meals.  We are well taken care of in that regard.  We had a fabulous buffet in Guatemala City for breakfast, another great lunch at Oscar’s parent’s home, and an amazing dinner tonight at the orphanage.  And to think that some of us thought we might actually lose a few pounds on this trip.  I guess there’s only one thing I can do; have a handful of my colored stress tabs and call it a day (and a half).  Until my next blog, Captain Dan.

 

Safe and Sound

Hello everyone! We have arrived to Sumpango safe and sound. Our plane landed in Guatemala City at approximately 6:25AM. The plane ride went smoothly. Most of us are running on little to no sleep, but everyone is in a great mood. When we got to Guatemala City, all of our action packers and luggage got through customs easily and tax free, so thank you for all of your prayers! We rode on a ¨chicken bus¨ to a restaurant in Guatemala City called La Estancia. A chicken bus is simply a traditional yellow school bus that is decorated and painted. The buses are really creative and each one is different.

After our meal, we hopped back on the bus and rode to the orphanage where we will be staying. We unpacked our bags and got acquainted with the area. While we were unpacking, Jon Cronce and Dr. Jean Montgomery found an injured lost parrot. The parrot climbed right up onto Dr. Montgomery´s hand and we fed it some peanuts and raisins. We figured that the bird must be someone´s pet, because it was very tame. We found out that it was the owner of the orphanage´s bird. I am so happy that we were able to return him to his home. We named him Kevin.

Next, we ventured to Sumpango to immerse ourselves in the culture by walking through the Sunday market. Every Sunday, from approximately 8:00 until 1:00, the locals set up tents and sell all kinds of foods, clothes, and other cool things.

Currently we are eating a wonderful meal at the Chiquito´s house. We are so grateful for the Chiquito´s and the members of Los Olivos Church. Soon we will be off to set up the clinic! We are hoping that everything will go relatively fast this year. We have church at 4:00 and then dinner afterwards.

Thank you again for all of your thoughts and prayers. We could not do any of this without your support. Please continue to pray for us and for the health and safety of all the team members. Please also pray that we can make an impact on this town and share God´s love.

I hope to write again sometime tomorrow, so keep an eye out for my next post!

Guatemala Medical Missions - Woodlands Church 2012

In just over a week, Woodlands Church will be sending a group of 30 team members to Sumpango Guatemala. We will be meeting with our partner church Los Olivos to hold a four day medical and spiritual clinic for the people of Sumpango. We will be departing from Woodlands Church on Friday January 7th and we will be returning on Sunday January 15th. Throughout the week I will be blogging about all of the happenings and stories that take place. We will also try to post pictures to keep you updated.  Thanks for supporting us on this journey. Please keep us in your thoughts and prayers!

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