Posted by Howe Q. Wallace on Friday, June 10th, 2016
I’m away this week on a medical mission to Guatemala. You are correct to wonder what I contribute to a medical mission. I have no skills in that area.
I wash dishes. We feed close to 40 team mates a couple of meals a day. I make sure the dishes are cleaned in a sanitary way so when we use them again, no one gets sick.
I accompany the cooks as they shop for food. I’m a combination body guard(physically, I’m twice the size than most the people here. Body guarding isn’t hard), grocery carrier (no buggies or bags provided, you bring your own) and errand runner (the medical team stays pretty busy with no time to shop for essentials). Basically, I’m trying to be the best teammate I can be. They do the heavy lifting, I’m here to serve them.
For the medical folks on the team, there is collaboration beyond normal. The equipment they use has some age on it. They have to step back in time to put it to work. They get to specialize at home. They have to branch out and be flexible here. They do whatever it takes to treat these folks.
The surgeries aren’t supposed to be complicated. They are done in an operating room suite in the middle of a church complex. Pretty neat adaptation of space to create this opportunity. But, we aren’t doing transplants or complicated procedures.
Nevertheless, every once in awhile there are complications. Last night a team was called back because a patient had some post surgery internal bleeding.
Our group scurried to the cause, pitched in and repaired the bleed. It was probably routine to them, but to see the decisive action and selfless teamwork was inspiring.
Teamwork inspires. Working together toward a specific cause/target generates effort. It lifts everyone up to have each team member committed to the goal.
Our team will do 80 plus surgeries this week. Those 80 people and their families don’t have access to medical care. We are changing lives:
People will return to work.
Pain will be curtailed.
Women will have children they haven’t been able to have.
Families will regain their balance because the disruption of illness has ended.
I learn more about teamwork, leadership and serving every time I come. I also learn how fortunate we are to be American and have access to the health resources we have.