Sunday, February 26, 2012

Emma Turns 2!

It was this little girl's birthday yesterday so the fam gathered at Mike & Lori's for  the celebration.  Can you tell that she just awoke from a nap?

Lori plans a really beautiful party with attention to all detail.  Emma loves "Clifford the big red dog" so it was fun to get the fab four into a picture together in front of him.  It is hard to get them all to look in one direction however.
Bailey loves her Uncle Tim and makes sure to get plenty of hugs until the next visit while he's here!
Cooper & Bryden just enjoy being guys and having each other to play with...
 and gang up on Grandpa!!
More tom-foolery with Whitney and Cooper!
The birthday girl shares a quiet moment with her pretty Aunt Jamie who has a birthday tomorrow.
Emma opening gifts with help from Uncle Tim.

Bailey was practicing her photography and took this one of Aunt Joni & Uncle Tim.....
and this one of Aunt Chelsea & Whitney.

A fun moment between the two youngest members of the family.
Lori's family.....
and ours...minus Lori who had the camera!
-the birthday girl and family.  A great day was had by all!!!

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Dominican Mission Part 3 Day 6 +

They were a muddy success when they came back.
 Day 6 began with a rain during the night that made all the men in our group climb a steep hill outside the mission compound to push the loaded equipment truck until it was clear. They were prepared to do the same to our bus.

Then we ran into roadblock 2.  The workers at the electric plant were getting ready to strike, and one of the ways they announce this is by leaving big rocks and other debris in the middle of the road for the government staff to discover on their way to work.
It must take a lot of anger to make this much work for themselves!!

This day we were allowed to use the operating room of a local hospital.  This was much nicer than any of our other working conditions.

Even though some of the wiring might make you think the electricians were about to go on strike!! 

The head urse was very welcoming and helpful to us....

and we all were grateful to have more space!

Conditions here were more like home....

and the patients were wonderful!! 

This little lady was praying for us.  

This is where babies are born.  Can you imagine being about to give birth and having to climb those metal steps??  Or putting your baby in the metal crib?

The next day we visited another hospital on our way to a hotel/resort for our last day.   Matt looks very happy about that after working so hard!

And his parents (dad was the founder of these trips and one of our optometrists extraordinaire...)  enjoyed  de-stressing too in the fresh air!

But none more than these two buddies who kept us laughing the whole time, and that's the best medicine!

My favorite moment of the trip was when one of our elderly patients was leaving and gave us nurses a hug.  He kept mumbling something.  Dr. Parker said "Do you know what he said?"  I said , "no..." He said  the man repeated to us all "You've changed my life."  I think we all had a teary eye over that.

Chris, my co-worker and roommate for the week...leaving her own footprints in the sand.  I think I speak for the whole group when I say that we all had an extraordinary experience that none of us can quite describe nor will ever forget!!

Monday, February 20, 2012

Dominican Mission Part 2 Days 4-5

Day 4 started out very early.   We had to leave at 5 am so were all up at 4.  On the way we had a flat tire but were near a town so stopped for breakfast of bananas and cereal while it was repaired. We knew we were going up high into the mountains but did not know that it would take us nearly 5 hours to do so.  I sat near the front to avoid car sickness that I experienced last year...thankgoodness! Once again optometry was in a small church while we were in the living room of it's parsonage.  I can't imagine someone coming in for the day and moving all of my furniture out to have a group come in to take over, but that's what they did and so hospitably too!
 Ron, left, our equipment expert, and Lisa here setting up in this new area.
A glimpse of folks who come very early to be in line to be seen.
The children who were in the area for the day were a fun part of our trip.  You take a picture and they run over to see it with big grins!
Me with a new friend.
 The church, with the end of the day line of people still hoping to be seen.
Matt, in the optometry group, helping with tests for glasses.
Our missionary Gary with some of the youth.
We stayed the night in an interesting local hotel and started again at 6:30am to go even higher up in the mountains to what would be my favorite day.
 The absolutely gorgeous scenery was one reason for that.
The second was that this was a clean, charming little town with lovely people.
Entering the remote town...
This is Ken who was one of our group who spoke Spanish well and interpreted for us.  He is a prince of a man that we all admired.  Sitting next to him is Sarah, the missionary's daughter who also interpreted for us.  She will be coming to the States next year to college.
During many of these days, church services were held and 30 new people accepted Christ while we did our health clinics.  I got goosebumps hearing this.
By day's end we all...Ok, I felt like this! We got home at 11:00 that night! Zzzzzz!

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Dominican Mission Part 1

 Our group of 21 landed, last week in the Dominican Republic for a 10 day trip.  The weather was glorious as seen from our bus window as we traveled about 2 hours to our mission home in the mountains for the week.
We stopped to get gas along the way...which of course is in pesos....scary to look at none the less!
Day 1
One day there and one day back is spent in travel, leaving us with 6 mission days in the field.
Each morning we awoke to our missionary's wife, Cindy cooking a wonderful homemade breakfast for us, with freshly squeezed juice right out of the yard!  We started each day with devotions and prayer followed by these delicious meals!!
Bananas are grown here and we picked them right off the vine!
Day 1 was spent right at the mission compound.  Gary Klein, the missionary, practices medicine here and this is his pharmacy.  Each day we were given a "space" to work in and convert to our OR=operating room, in about an hour's time.  An optometry team saw the patients first and then chose the ones we would see so we had extra set-up time.

This is Lisa, (a veterinarian in real life) on the left, who was on the OR team with me.  Jeff (an ophthalmology sales rep) on the right scrubbed cases with me and is here helping set up our converted room.
After a little shuffling, this is the configuration that we came up with for the day.  A swim mattress became a comfortable place for our patients to lie during their procedures.

Chris, on the left and Pam, on the right were our pre- and post op team.  They put drops in the patient's eyes and helped prepare the pre-op "testing" needed to choose the right lenses for each patient if they had cataract surgery.
At the end of the day, we would gather for dinner and share experiences of the day.
Many of our nights were rainy which was a problem because the roads in the mountains are poor.  This is one of the ways we traveled each day hoping the bus and truck carrying all the supplies could cross.  These folks are gathering water to take home.
Day 2
Another day of set-up at a different mission church about 2 hours away.  This is our means of sterilization...pressure cookers!  We brought propane with us to fuel the burners and sterile indicators to make sure the instruments were processed in the proper way.  Each load took more than half an hour.
Our "instrument tech" was Bernie who we called "Cookie"...because he "cooked" the instruments for us.
The second day, this was our work space...the living room of a parsonage!
Here is some of the pre-op testing to determine the lens to be placed in the patient's eye.  The surgeon (sitting) was Dr. Gupta, an ophthalmologist that I work with.  Dr. Parker (standing) assisted him in many roles including that of interpreter.  
 There were so many little things that had to be thought through and solved each day...example:  the old OR bed that we used, had wheels, so to prevent moving, we used plastic bowls to hold them still.  Each time one of us thought up another "innovation"...we would call out, "brilliant"!!

Here one of the church ladies helping to prepare lunch with her mortar and pestle.
A young surgeon in the area came  to observe and learn from Dr. Gupta.  He was thrilled as Dr. Gupta helped mentor him through a surgery.  His father (standing behind him) has been retired from ophthalmology for 10 years.  He came, unknown to his son and enjoyed watching him in action, -shushing us not to disturb him.
We remove cataracts in many small pieces in our country and never see an intact one.  Here, however, they were hard and our old equipment made that difficult so many were removed like this.
At the end of the day, we all pitch in to pack up all that we had brought and start the long trip home arriving late after dark and very hungry by that time.
Day 3....Again this day...Sunday,  we arrive at a mission church a long drive away.  This was a very small home next to the church whose owner allowed us to use it for the day. You can see ventilation is at a minimum on a warm, warm day.
Inside there was almost no furniture to move as we scope out our territory.  That is cloth over half the roof area and I'm sure it did not hold back rain when it fell.
This is a pass through from the kitchen to the living area.   No refrigeration in the kitchen.
**WARNING!!! Censored for the faint of heart!....
Each day we had new and unique bathroom conditions.  Each day we sent in one strong person to check them out for us.  Each day, someone came back shaking their head stating "You are never going to believe this!"
On this particular day, this was it.  The men just laughed.  We, ladies, had to form a plan of exactly how to use this.  Sigh.

PS...bring along your own TP and hand sanitizer!!!
Here is how we reformed our tiny cabin into an operating room this day and it worked well.  It was the smallest of any room we used the whole trip so we did have traffic problems all day.  Generators...and the noise and the fumes...were necessary in most locations to be able to function.
We found spare areas to spread out  our supplies so that we could easily access them.  Here is Lisa organizing from our suitcases.
She is also the one responsible for thinking up signs for our English, -just for us.
As the day progressed, "Cookie" needs a sweat rag, poor guy.  Service always with a smile!
And our pre slash post-op team (and me!) had swollen heat/feet!!!

To be continued.....