Monday, April 20, 2009

A much better day

Today, the customs office safely behind us, we began the week of cataract surgeries at Hospital San Rafael, and it was a good day, thanks in no small part to the work of Mercedes and Rosa (Rosa is making a V for Victory in honor of Mauricio Funes' election as President of El Salvador). Mercedes Arias is a community organizer for CIS (Centro de Intercambio y Solidaridad) and Rosa is a member of the Junta Directiva of Comasagua. They're both splendid organizers: a little microbus arrived at the hospital promptly at 6:30 this morning with our seven patients for today, all with their papers filled out and ready to go.

The other two photos are from the waiting room: Michelle Pisacano with four of our patients and me with one.

A quick introduction to the members of our surgical team: Dr. Tony Pisacano (from the Bronx, NY) and Dr. Bob Rea (from Indiana) are our two ophthalmologists. Mitch Costin (from the cardiac care center at Riverbend Hospital, Springfield, OR) and Dr. Silvia Pleitez (a Salvadoran, currently living in Los Angeles) assist with the surgeries. Shannon Updike, an RN from Ketchikan, is responsible for pre- and post-surgery care. Charo Sanchez, who is usually unit coordinator for the childbirth center at St. Joseph Hospital, Bellingham, is our interpreter. Barry West (whose day job involves IT in Eugene) is our photo journalist, and Michelle Pisacano, Tony's wife, has been helping with patients and supplies. Kathy Garcia, Manager of the PazSalud program, is the rock who keeps everyone steady, focused and cheerful. As always seems to be the case, it's a group of committed people who are very happy to be here, working hard, and giving the gift of their time and skills to bring new sight to those who are almost blind.

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