Dr. Parker - Monday, October 3rd, 2016

Operation Walk Syracuse - Guatemala Mission 2016

Monday, October 3rd, 2016

Our time at San Obras Sociales del Hermano Pedro is passing quickly, and tomorrow (Tuesday) is our last surgical day. Today we did another 21 surgeries, for a total of 57 so far. The OR had been bustling, and as the days have passed, the Hopital San Obras Sociales del Hermano Pedro has gradually filled with post-operative patients.

It's an interesting place: it's rustic, but well-maintained and strongly staffed, and extremely clean. The hospital hosts mission trips all year, and the personnel are excellent in their care for post-op patients. This has been a welcome change for our medical docs, nurses and therapists, because the locals are already quite adept.

Our Operation Walk staff remains the brightest spot in this experience. In the OR, on the wards, and in the storage areas, they continue to work tirelessly to provide care for our patients. And it becomes more impressive when one considers: each member of our staff is using personal vacation time to undertake this endeavor. Without their dedication and commitment, there simply could be no Operation Walk. Our surgeon's caps are off to them.

Interestingly: The combination of an adept hospital staff and an OpWalk staff that is using vacation time lends itself to a unique concept for us here: there is actually some free time to explore Antigua Guatemala and see some of the local sights. Over the course of the week, we have had the opportunity to get out into the city, interact with some of the locals, and enjoy the charming streets of Antigua Guatemala. It's a unique city: there is no place quite like it in the States. It combines the old-world feel of Europe's oldest cities with a sort of Caribbean low-key lack of urgency. The result is a friendly, approachable city that is a pleasure to explore. I would genuinely like to come back with more time to spend.

Tomorrow we wrap up our surgical days here, and then comes the process of breaking down the traveling circus that is Operation Walk and making our way home. This has been another incredible experience for us, and it's thrilling to think that we leave behind better lives for other people. That makes OpWalk a win-win: our patients see the benefits of first-world orthopedic care, and we come away with the humbling gift of having the chance to work toward the service of others. And I honestly can't say who is getting the better deal - because from this side, it's pretty great. The gratitude shown by our patients is truly matched by the gratitude we have for being able to care for them.