The medical mission group from Kansas City is so very kind to include me (a non-medical person) on their trip. I am really interested in all things medical. I have somewhat doctored my whole family for years. The whole contingent helps raise funds throughout the year, so I have done that from afar. But I am one of the few individuals that participates that has no medical training or affiliation. I was able to get involved through my friend, Rosa, who lives in a nearby community.
I already have scrubs, (they will probably come in handy for a Halloween party sometime), so this year I sprung for a super-cool stethoscope. -- Yes, I know how to use it. In fact, after this mission, I know how to use several medical tools and pieces of equipment. More on that coming up. -- If I may say so, at least I looked the part.
My buddy who made the name tags even put RN on mine. Now if you don't think that got me through some closed doors... I found that I was most interested in small surgeries. We had 3-4 doctors doing those, and several times during those procedures, a doctor would look at me and ask for a Metzenbaum or a curved Mayo, and eventually I learned those were kinds of scissors. Our tools were somewhat limited, so when asked for a 15 scalpel, I had to say, "Will a 10 work? We are out of 15's." If you have ever been on a mission trip, you know the key word is flexibility.
Here is my "boss" in the Bukol Clinic, Ma. Elena. She let me do things I was capable of, and she kept me away from things I didn't have any business doing. No one wanted to admit that we liked being in this room because of the air conditioner on the wall, but it made things so much more comfortable. The conditions were not anywhere near what you would find in an operating room here at home, much less a doctor's office. We had to invent a sterile field for the tools, due to lack of supplies. I learned how to scrub and sterilize tools -- using what we had. Ma. Elena prayed constantly because we didn't have access to so many things. We all prayed. Here, she is trying to create privacy for two patients being operated on at the same time. Both were awake. We only used local anesthetic here, because we did not have another anesthesiologist. The light was not very good, and it was only on that side of the room.
By the time I left the mission trip, I was ready to perform some surgery. Chief has this very small knot on his leg that annoys him. It has been there a long time. Heck, I told him if I just had some peroxide, Lidocaine, a #15 scalpel and some sutures, I could easily take care of that for him. I even felt like with the right kind of sutures, I could make an invisible scar. I was shot down. He honestly thought I was kidding.
All of this is just a story that never ends....