Today the phrase, “False Start” was proffered as a description of our day by Dr. Andy. He likened the day to a race where due to someone’s jumping the gun, the runners are called back into the blocks to start all over again. That does indeed express how it feels to be all ready to go with the clinic but be held back by contingencies outside our control.
The travel arrangements worked flawlessly - - though if the room for each seat gets any smaller on these planes, soon we will all choose to simply remain standing. If I feel crowded, you can imagine how Bret Van Dyken feels. Fortunately, they found a spot with more leg room by an exit for Bret - - with of course the requirement that Bret block anyone who might attempt a stroll outside at 35,000 feet and depressurize the cabin midway over the Caribbean. I doubt very much anyone could get past Bret.
We definitely have a solid team - - no complaints, everyone in good spirits, and yet very appreciative to get situated in the Hotel. The one “glitch” which accounted for the “false start” was that our medications were held up through customs until almost noon today. By the time we arrived at the clinic/school we could only set things up for tomorrow. Those who were waiting for us to arrive were given tickets for priority service first thing in the morning.
It was enjoyable meeting our many friends from last year. The Colombian leadership, Jholman, Nafer, Giovanni, and Gulliermo worked very hard to prepare the school for the clinic, including work to get medications through customs. Some national and some local circumstances made this more of a challenge this year; however, at the end of it all, there were smiles, handshakes, even hugs, and best wishes for the clinic. It seems that some good relationships have been formed for future trips. Dr. Juan Mesa, an Interventional Cardiologist from Marshfield Clinic and native Colombian on our team was invaluable in working with the government officials.
Omar Rodriguez, the Reach Global Area Supervisor for Colombia, has been a great addition to the team. He will be performing triage with Anna-Marie Belcore. Drinking water from a fire hydrant is the operative metaphor. They will be able to handle it.
Ginny Bondeson is working in our optical area. What a privilege to have her there. She is picking up the optics very quickly and, of course, her Chinese is invaluable. Actually, though she will probably not use her Chinese here in Cartagena, her heart for others will be! For many years, Ginny has led the way at Woodlands for a global concern and passion. We all build upon the foundation she has laid.
We have three pharmacists on this team, Tom Robinson, Jim Wrass, and Megan Ose. They are all experienced with Medical missions. Ron Silva, our team leader, observed them setting up their pharmacy this afternoon. He was impressed with how well they worked together and organized the medications. Starting tomorrow every single person seen in the clinic will go through the pharmacy, many with multiple prescriptions. Sound busy? It will be, and they will fill those prescriptions accurately, dispense them as safely as they do in the U.S., and do it with a smile. It is great to have them on the team.
Maggie Wallis is our photojournalist/blog administrator. Her smile, enthusiasm, and commitment to her responsibilities add lots of energy to the team. She is the one to thank for this blog you enjoy.