Friday, June 2, 2017


And so it begins. A trip to Peru, iquitos more specifically.

There something about riding some sort of public transportation that I enjoy. Especially in the morning. Hushed background noise and the murmer of people talking quietly. It's difficult to understand each conversation, they blend into the background noise i but can tell it's human interaction. I don't even think it's English, but it's comforting.

Check in at the airport was easy, just like the other trips. This group however is a different group than op-walk. This is global health initiatives(GHI), a group connected with Porter hospital, Centura health. GHI has been going to Iquitos for many years performing surgeries, community health and building structures for future trips. Stay tuned to see what's found.

Craig RN

Thursday, April 21, 2016

The End of the trip.

So yesterday wasn't as early. I set the alarm for 6am, so I could sit and drink some coffee before going to the hospital at 7. Most of the patients had gone home already, I think there were 13 left. We did labs In the morning, then I finished packing the PACU as Trent helped fill in the holes for everybody else. In total 11 pts were discharged or ready for discharging by the time Miranda left at 11 or so. Miranda and Jena had things covered from a nursing standpoint so Miranda sent the rest of us to the hotel at 10. One of the many great success stories of this trip was this lady. She had knees that were damaged so bad that when she walked her shins went sideways about 35degrees. Her knees were so complicated that Dr Dennis decided to do one knee one day and the next knee the next day. She went home the following day on tylenol and tramadol. The Physical Therapist working with her asked if she wanted to do her last session in her shoes and the patient said that she didn’t own any. Carol, the PT, then gave her the shoes off of her feet.

I gave her the Colorado Rockies hat.
I'm gonna pause here to say that I am not too sure about the times, things are blending together a bit. I am writing this on the plane, flying to Denver. I thought I would do it while it was still "fresh" in my mind. So much for that.

So anyways we sat by the pool when we got back for an hour or so then we had a beach trip to the gulf. A resort reserved for the team. We work hard then we play hard! Beautiful place for the end of the trip. The view to the south was lush mountains on the left and the sunset on the right. It was perfect timing. From left to right. Clouds wrapping and cascading over the peaks of the mountains, the surf was gently crashing on the sand, the sun falling slowly to the horizon. 

Everybody enjoyed each other's company and conversations were easy. Just a bunch of people sharing a passion of giving of their selves to others.
Trent and I talked Monday evening about what went well and what we could improve upon. Unusual for me, I wrote the ideas down instead of relying on my memory. Soon Miranda will get us all together and we will all do the same thing. Looking forward to the next trip!!!

Our hotel from across the street, Hilton Princess.

A community on the way to the beach.

The last day of morning rounds.

Parting shot.

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

What motivates you.......

What a fabulous couple of days. So many beautiful spirits. The people of Honduras have been very gracious hosts and very thankful patients. It's very hard to put into words what these trips are like, emotionally, mentally and physically. Every person on the trip is such an integral part of the machine.

We completed 70 joint replacement this trip. The country of Honduras does about 100 a year. Think about that,,,,,, we have replaced nearly as many joints in this one week as the local hospital can do in a year. And it's not due to the talent of the medical system here. There are many capable PT's, RNs and doctors here. I would guess it's the availability of the prosthesis and the cost. This is a very poor country.

Trent and I have been talking with many of the translators about Honduras and specifically San Pedro sula. They have grown up here, lived their lives here, have been educated here. Everybody I have talked to feels safe because they know his to live here. One young woman, a med student, laughed when I asked her about it. She said "oh, I hear in America about all of the mass killings and random shootings. I think it's dangerous there. At least here I know I am safe, because I know where to go and not go."

Sunday, at the end of the day, we had all but 2 cases completed. It was a long day. The Op-Walk Denver organization took every body out for dinner. Steak and lobster. Let me tell you that it was excellent.

Today, we finished the last two cases then packed up the PACU. The doctors then went to an orphanage, and the PT's, and the nurses did a huge amount of work walking patients and discharging them. Our head nurse, Miranda, is amazing at what she does. She is tag teaming with Eileen, the lead PT. They both put in over 17000 steps per day at the hospital. I don't have one of those things that measure steps, but it sounds like a lot. We should be able to wrap up in the morning then head for some r&r. Enjoy the pics.

Oh yeah. Tonight we had a party for the volunteers. Lots of fun and bailando. One of our interpretors, a 18 year old, was super excited when the song from Grease came on. She knew all of the words. Her and her friend were out dancing with all of the Denver people. Isn't that great!

So, to the topic of this post. What motivates you? I want to be a better me. This fills me, and drains me, then fills me again. My wife sent me a quote from Maya Angelou, "if you find it in your heart to care for somebody else, you will have succeeded." I am working on succeeding. I care for people in my job, genuinely. This is different, this work connects the dots in a way. At the dinner last night, Jim quoted a Bible verse, that was something like, "for those that much is given, much is expected". If you know me well I am not one to quote from the Bible, but it is a good message.

I hope this reads well, it's after midnight, and we got up early.

Craig, male nurse. Enfermero.

Saturday, April 16, 2016

Honduras part ?

Well, I think it's Saturday. It was 95 deg here and snowing in Denver. We completed 19 surgeries today with 4 bilateral knees, so if my math is correct is 23 joints. Dr Dennis, el jefe, showed me and explained alot of the x-rays. It's amazing what these surgeons do for these patients. The farmers surgery went well and he was excited to get back to walking pain free. He compared his knee to a new car!

The people here are extremely grateful for the opportunity. They constantly say thanks. It's very difficult to put into words, the interactions with the patients are,..... Each one of these patients could be my abuelita, or abuelo.

The interpretors that are in the hospital with us are great as well. I have learned so much from them and the patients about speaking Spanish. Even the non English speakers come up to me and start talking away, and we work it out. I try so hard. So here is something, talking to some body is Spanish is one thing, talking Spanish to somebody in Spanish whose mouth is dry, they don't have there dentures in, and they are under the effects of anesthesia is an entirely different thing altogether.!

I am having difficulty uploading pics so one pic, maybe two here..

First a bunch of the people from opwalk and locals, 2. PT in outdoors, 3. Dr Dennis talking to a haemophilia pt before surgery. Great story there. I met this guy in clinic.

Thanks for reading.
Craig RN

Fwd: Day three, big day.

> So to start day three I will back up to day two. Last night, I was talking to a pre-operative patient about his surgery that was to be today. I asked how long his knee hurt, he said many years. I asked what he did for a living and he said agriculture. I asked "you drive a tractor?" He laughed, "No, no tractor. I use a machete."
> So what do we do down here? This guy will be able to work in his field, walking and working his machete. I felt this statement very poignant. Differences between cultures.....
> Today was busy. Trent and I were working  out the kinks in PACU. It was actually very smooth. We work well together. The native nurses are very helpful and I am getting a great Spanish workout. We did 15 surgeries today, of which 4 were bilateral.
> Trabaja fuerte. Which apparently doesn't translate as slang here to strong work.
> Craig
> Pics are problematic. I'll keep trying.

Surgery pic from last post.

Thursday, April 14, 2016

Day one.

Clinic day and as it turns out, surgery day also. The group here was very organised with all of the patients, labs, x-rays etc, making clinic very smooth. As a consequence the surgeons started working today.
The first pic is of the first knee of the trip, it's graphic. The second pic is of a chart, my Spanish is coming in handy. Thanks Gail! Third pic is of the MASH tent for patients tomorrow. It's really nice, AC is blasting, and there are three porta potties taped into the sides of the tent. I am curious how that'll work in the heat of 100deg.
Super fun group of people and patients. I'm about to get busy so, until tomorrow. Hasta maƱana.

Craig RN