As our first year on the ground in Honduras comes to an end and we gear up for another year we decided, thanks to the inspiration of some missionary friends, to write a post chronicling one day in our lives here in Honduras. We picked this past Monday to document and hope this gives a bigger picture as to what a typical day is like for us. So here goes…
We usually get up around 7 am or a little earlier if one of us is on call so that we are ready to go in to the hospital if a patient comes into the emergency room before clinic starts. Andrew was on call Monday but did not get called in so we were able to eat breakfast together and then head to the hospital around 8 am. Our apartment is two swinging bridges away from the hospital so it is not much of a commute. The only time we get “held up” is if there are monkeys or other critters on the bridge. Unlike the states, all traffic usually clears out of our way when we are coming so it takes us no more than 5 minutes to walk from our apartment to the hospital.
One of the two swinging bridges.
Once at the hospital we go our separate ways, Andrew to the therapy room and Alisa to her clinic room. On Mondays Andrew usually has two helpers, Alyssa who is a long term missionary who also splits time working at the children center and Ben who is a teen of a missionary family here. Both are hard workers and make patient care much better. People usually start showing up to begin the check in process before 7 am which means leaving their houses well before dawn. When patients are checked in their vital signs and chief complaint are taken and they are given numbers which indicate the order they will be seen for clinic. The Therapy room has 3 beds and a chair all separated by curtains so that multiple patients can be attended to at the same time. This can make it a pretty busy place pretty quickly.
Patients waiting for their vital signs to be taken in our triage building in front of the hospital.
The first patient of the day for Andrew was a 2 month old with hydrocephalus who had surgery 1 week prior to have a VP shunt placed that drains the extra brain fluid into his abdomen. Thankfully the surgery went well and after carefully removing the stitches from the incision site and checking his head circumference and weight for any drastic changes, he was able to go home but will be followed closely every few weeks to ensure the shunt remains open.
2 month old with hydrocephalus.
While Andrew was attending to the hydrocephalus patient, Ben brought back a women with an infected diabetic foot ulcer who we have been seeing for wound care since Sept 2017. It has been a fight to save her foot from amputation! We feel like a huge turning point came after she was able to start monitoring her blood sugars at home by using the glucose monitor and supplies that many of you gave towards back in December of 2017. She continues to improve at each visit by the grace of God and is getting more and more control of her blood sugars at each visit.
Patient with a diabetic foot ulcer and GLUCOMETER!
The next patient was a 17 year old who had a machete wound that severed tendons in his thumb which were repaired in the operating room 2 weeks prior. Ben and Andrew removed his cast , took out his sutures and then rigged up a thumb spica splint with some supplies we had around the therapy room. After a few other patients came through Andrew saw a 63 year old male who was following up after having an ankle fusion with our visiting orthopedist back in February 2018. This patient had lived with a foot deformity his entire life and was never able to walk normally. With this surgery his deformed foot and ankle were put back into a more natural alignment so that he will soon be able to walk on the sole of his foot for the first time ever.
Lunch time usually is on the go and Alisa was able to sneak away to get baleadas (pronounced as bal-a-ah-das, which are tortilla with black beans, cheese and eggs) from our hospital “concession stand”, as we like to call it, and bring it back into the hospital so we could have a quick bite to eat together before seeing our next patients.
Alisa’s clinic day included admitting a little 6 year old girl for pyelonephritis, diabetes check ups, a woman with gallstones, a teen with juvenile idiopathic arthritis, a thyroid cancer patient follow up post thyroidectomy, and an epilepsy follow up among others. She also saw the mom and baby below who had come to clinic at almost 43 weeks pregnant the week before! Thankfully she was induced that day and now was getting ready to head home with the new baby only a few days old. After every appointment patients are offered pastoral counseling and prayer- it is apart of the check out process even.
Mom and baby after giving birth at 42/43 weeks.
Alisa headed home just after 5 to take a run along our dirt road and got to see a nice sunset.
Sunset running route.
Andrew wrapped up clinic around 5 pm and then went to the inpatient side of the hospital to help another doctor with the wound care of a women who had an infected diabetic foot wound which required IV antibiotics. Once finished, Andrew headed back to the therapy room to clean instruments and restock supplies for the next day. It was around 6:30 pm by the time Andrew left the hospital.
One of the visiting doctors invited us and a few others on the compound to a group dinner at staff housing at 7 pm which left Andrew just enough time to change out of his sweaty undershirt (there is no A/C in the therapy room) and head over to eat. We had just walked in to staff housing when a call came over the radio that a rapid response team was needed in the emergency room.
All of the medical folk at the dinner immediately ran out the door, across the two swinging bridges and into the emergency room where we found a young man who was having what appeared to be a seizure. After the patient was finally stabilized about 30-45 minutes later, the medical folks left to continue their evenings at home. Andrew and the other Doctor on call stayed until the patient was stable enough to go home which was about 9:30 pm. Alisa being a thoughtful and awesome wife had saved Andrew a plate of food to eat. It was then off to shower and into bed hoping to be able to sleep through the night. Thankfully we both were able to get good rest as no calls came through during the night and the next day we were back at it again.
In the Emergency Department Monday night.
While living and working in Honduras is not always easy and days can be long our primary purpose is to share the gospel through words and deeds. That is why we offer all our patients pastoral counseling in addition to being able to have spiritual conversations during their clinic visit. We feel like 2 Corinthians 5:14 – 19 perfectly describes why we are here working at a mission hospital in an otherwise forgotten place.
“14 For Christ’s love compels us, because we are convinced that one died for all, and therefore all died. 15 And he died for all, that those who live should no longer live for themselves but for him who died for them and was raised again.
16 So from now on we regard no one from a worldly point of view. Though we once regarded Christ in this way, we do so no longer.17 Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here! 18 All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation: 19 that God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting people’s sins against them. And he has committed to us the message of reconciliation.”
We praise God and are thankful for your partnership in this ministry of reconciliation!