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Surgeries and the Our Father

Over the last couple of weeks, I have had the great privilege of working with a team of volunteers and surgeons here in hospital Goyeneche. I was the RN in charge of the Pre-op area. Which meant that a team of nursing students and I got the patients from their beds in the hospital wards, placed their IVs, took baseline vitals, double checked for drug allergies and time NPO, and then sat with them while they waited to be cut open.

We also got to duck in and out of the operating rooms and see a lot of surgeries like septoplasties, laparoscopic gallbladder removal, hernia repairs and hysterectomies.

It was a huge honor to work with this team of proficient and compassionate people, and to work with the Peruvians from the hospital who were translating and helping us problem solve. It's pretty amazing how these things come together. By the end of the two weeks, we had the routine of patient in, patient on the table, patient in recovery, down to an art form. It was almost effortless, and it was hard to remember that we found some of it difficult in the beginning. With all the surgeries that we were able to do, we had no serious complications and only one sinus infection post-septoplasty. That is me bragging on our OR/hospital team. Because everyone was so careful and conscientious, we had a great experience.

One of my new favorite people is our OB-GYN surgeon Rita. She is loving lady who talks about Gynecology at the dinner table just enough to make her teenage daughters roll her eyes. I enjoyed getting to know her so much.

My favorite thing about Rita was that she took time before every surgery to walk out, hold her patients hands, talk about the procedure, and then pray with them. She prayed things like, "Father, guide my hands to take care of your precious daughter," prayers full of humility and grace. I loved watching her patients melt in the sweetness of that moment. The first time that I got to translate for her the patient, an older lady scheduled for a hysterectomy, began to recite the Our Father, with trembling lips and a flow of tears down her face. It highlighted to me the vulnerability we feel when we are about to be cut open, when we give over control of our life to another person, to another human being, and to God.

In the environment of surgery, it is rare that you meet someone who knows their limits and reaches out for someone else to be the one in control. To me, that was the wonderful beauty of Rita. And it was met by the dignity and vulnerability of her patients as they let her take their personal lives into her capable hands.

To me it was a reminder: It's not about being in control, it's about knowing that you can never control everything, and it's about relying on other people and on God to make up for the things you lack. It's about inviting God's presence into those moments, and then crying when He comes.


So, here are some pictures of the last couple of weeks.

Warning, if you don't like medical stuff, you may not like the picture of the uterus.

 Me, Megan, Ann, Rita, and Megan

                                     Otto, my Peruvian papa, after his polyp removal surgery

   Yeah, that is a uterus. Pretty impressive huh?

The view into OR 2

  Pulling a patient from the OB ward

And that's all folks!


  1. shannon, your comments are cracking me up!!! hahaha


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