Saturday 2/2/19 – Second screening day

Another beautiful day in Guatemala. Today we screened our second wave of patients and the diverse mixture of stories continued.

Everybody loved that little Fernando returned with his parents. His father is a nurse and specifically sought out our mission for his son’s treatment. We have seen the family now for more than 6 years and it pained us in the first years to ask them to be patient: Even though Fernando had quite a prominent cleft and protruding upper teeth, the time for a most successful surgical intervention had not come. Quite different now and after the past year’s surgeries, the consultation with Dr. John today now reveals that all the prior interventions have healed well and that our little friend is now ready for more involved maxillar- and orthodontic treatment (further consultation with Dr. Brian pending). Poor little Fernando has still quite a way ahead of him, but he is on the right way now and everybody here loves this friendly outgoing little guy, as you can see from the pictures attached.

My personal highlight of the day was to gain little 7 yr Alejandro’s trust who initially just curled up in his parent’s arms and appeared to be not thrilled at all to be examined by a group of “gringo-medicos”. But some patience and bribery with toy cars ended up with him brightly smiling at me while we were racing the cars down the hospital corridors. It is amazing how much superpowers one still hase with those younger kids to make their day a memorable one (and vice versa). At the same time it is a sober realization how much those superpowers wane as the kids get older (I guess every parent of growing up kids can sympathize …).

At the end of this 2nd day we have screened a little bit over 58 patients and have a pre-selection of more than 25 to end up on the surgery schedule. “Pre-selection” because we will still need to have anesthesia evaluation throughout tomorrow.

Talking “bitterly missed anesthesia”: The remaining team from Iowa incl. our Drs. Swanson and Mueller arrived at noontime safely from Guatemala city and is ready to rock – As to wit: While I am writing these lines on the hospital’s roof garden the floors beneath me are buzzing with activity to set up wards and OR rooms for tomorrow’s first surgeries… so stay tuned, more to come.


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