2011 medical mission

Sam’s Blog:Baguio 2011 Postcard 1

I am Sam Sarophim, a member of Go-Med and welcome to my blog.After delays getting internet connection, here is the first update as of January 24, 2011….

Flight left Vancouver on January 19th with 28 of the 31 people on board. Left within a few minutes of scheduled departure and pilot informed us that we would be landing early, which is always good news.

Flight went smooth but long, 14 hours. After crossing the date line, we arrived at Manila airport terminal 2 at 4:10 am on Friday January 21. Customs was smooth and we waited for our luggage and masses of boxes to arrive. After collecting our stuff, we waited for the bus to pick us up and for some this was an opportunity to find a coffee shop and get some caffeine in.

Bus picked us up around 6:30 am and we headed through Manila towards Baguio. Drive was fairly smooth and we stopped for lunch at 9 am at Tarlac. This was a floating restaurant and one of our members, Dr.Rahul Khosla, was challenged to try for the free one Kg of fish crossing on a platform with water shooting from various parts of a monkey’s statue, without falling in. He was successful but WET! To his surprise, the fish was not ready, so he will pick it up on his way home and carry it in his carry-on baggage!

Tons of food at the restaurant, and everyone was more than full. Boarded the bus on our way to Baguio. One additional “PEE” stop was required. We arrived at Baguio around 2 pm and headed to the Baguio General Hospital to drop off the supplies. After dropping off we headed to our new home for the next two weeks, Ating Tahanan, a Girls Guide house where we all settled into our rooms.  Some people decided to rest before dinner, others headed down to the market to buy food and drink supplies and others decided to buy some essentials, like a phone, wine and beer of course !

After showering everyone gathered for a wonderful dinner provided by Shirley Maas’ family.

Everyone was tired and headed to bed around 8 or 9 pm, and from the sounds of it everyone slept even though there were some loud noises coming from a group of young Boy Scouts not to mention some derelict roosters and dogs, who I think must have been on the plane with us, because they were on Canadian time.

Saturday morning everyone was up bright and early. As this was a free day, some people headed to the beach, some headed for a tour of Baguio and others went to get more supplies, yes we ran out of phones …….. beer and wine!

Dinner on Saturday was courtesy of the Girl Guides camp.

Sunday, set up day. Starting around 9 am, we headed to the hospital to start the set up. Two operating rooms had to be set up and all the supplies had to be unpacked and arranged either in operating rooms or in the supply room.

Doctors and nurses started making their rounds interviewing patients and started to schedule them for the next few days. Patients and the local doctors are very grateful and delighted to see the Mission medical staff. We had one hiccup, one of the anesthetic machines was not operational and after much running around, and with the help of Dr. Hoskins, and Dr. Cannell as well as Michael Maas and Jim Emmett and one of the local electricians they were able to get it going again. This was crucial to the mission as it could have jeopardized as many as half the patients.

After a long day we were back at our home quarters around 5:30 pm and dinner was again supplied by Shirley Maas’ family, and we are very thankful for that

Seems like we are doing a lot of eating as well as working, but all is GOOD!

Monday, January 24

Monday January 24, first day of operations, a group of doctors and nurses as well as translators leave early at 7:15 am so that they can start the set up for the operations. A couple of people walked to the hospital and the remainder of the group left at 7:30 to join. Transportation is provided by a Jeepney, a vehicle that carries up to 12 people. As people changed and started the setup, seemed like “organized” chaos, but somehow things were being done and no obstacles were too large for people to overcome.

Mondays are the flag ceremony day at Baguio General Hospital and after the flag raising and prayers, Dr. Factora, the medical director for the hospital welcomed the Go-Med team. Dr. Blair thanked the Baguio hospital for their hospitality and for the cooperative work done between Go-Med and Baguio general hospital. Dr. Blair also introduced Dr. Sonya Baik, the Canadian resident doctor on our trip. Last year, Go Med welcomed a resident doctor in Canada for a month learning some of the new laparoscopic Chole techniques. At the ceremonies, there were a large number of nurses and doctors gathered and apparently, this is a ceremony that is done every Monday. After the ceremonies, the doctors and nurses went to work. There were some unusually difficult cases that required longer time than expected, but even with that, the doctors were able to complete 7 surgeries, 4 in the general surgery and 3 in Gynecology.  As things wound down around 5 pm, everyone headed to the mall for more food supplies. Unfortunately we were greeted by an unusual thunderstorm which also caused power outages at the hospital and at the mall. Some people opted to have dinner at the mall, others opted to sample Dr. Blair’s cooking and all those who did, seemed very impressed and no one got sick, but if they would have, there were all kinds of doctors to help them outJ. The PACU nurses arrived very late, as they were required to stay longer to look after the patients. As everyone seemed very tired, we all headed for an early sleep, only to be awakened by a group of young people staying at the same place that returned to Ating Tahanan at 10:30 pm and managed to make a fair amount of noise. By 3 am out came the roosters and dogs and by 5 am the same group of young people was up ready to go on their next adventure and that was the alarm clock for most of us with all the noise they were making. One exception was Lisa who woke up when she mistook a phone message to her phone as the alarm and started showering at 3 am waking up her roommate! Talk about trying to beat everyone to the hot water!

Tuesday morning, everyone was up and ready to go by 7 am, of course Barb and Caroline needed more getting ready time, but by 7:15 and with the required prodding, the Jeepney was carrying the last group of people on the way to the hospital.

On Monday, the doctors completed a total of 7 procedures, 4 in General Surgery and 3 in Gynecology. The 4 gen surg were 2 Thyroid and 2 Lap Chole. In Gyne, all 3 were Hysterectomies. The patients all ranged from 29 to 45. These patients cannot afford any medical treatments and this mission is critical to making a difference in their lives and the lives of their families.

Tuesday, January 25

Tuesday January 26, the doctors start their day with rounds to check the patients from the previous day. It is very moving for all of us to watch the reaction of the patients and their families and how grateful they are for the procedures performed and how happy they are to be on their way.

Operations started on time and by the end of the day, the doctors had completed another 9 procedures, 5 in gen surgery and 4 in Gyne. The 5 gen surg, 2 were Thyroids, 2 Lap Chole and one Inguinal Hernia repair. The 4 Gyne, 2 Abdominal Hysterectomy, 1 Myomectomy and 1 D&C. The patients ranged from 26 to 59 years old.

Tuesday evening was a free day for dinner and Dr. Ghee Hwang was at his best preparing a delicious Curried chicken dish. Almost everyone was around for the dinner and all enjoyed it and we managed to save some dinner for the PACU nurses as they are usually later than most of us, their day starts later and ends later. But most of the dedicated nurses come in early anyway.

Everyone was tired enough to crash around 9 or 9:30.

Wednesday, January 26

Wednesday morning, early start again, Jeepney arrived early to transport the team. Some of the dedicated walkers, Dr. Cannell, Dr. Khosla and Jim Emmett decide to walk. The doctors make their rounds of the wards for the patients that had procedures completed on Tuesday. Once again, it is very moving to watch and listen to the many thanks of the patients. As we walked through, I can see the patients smiling ear to ear, some clutching letters of thanks for the doctors. Here are some samples of what they said:

“I would like to extend my sincerest thanks on behalf of my family for the affordable service that you had rendered to us, especially for me. I have nothing to give back in return but to continually pray to God for his guidance and protection to be upon each and every one of you that includes your loving family. May our Good Lord continually bless you and brings you to a higher level of his Anointing that your skills will reach more people who needs humble and very kind physicians like you. Once again thank you and a million times and God speed.”

“I would like to thank you and give gratitude to each and every one of you for helping me with my operation. You all have a good heart in helping people like me. May you come back again may you help more people. Words may not be enough thanking you but may god repay you with all his blessings. Thank you very much and may you still touch many lives. Good luck with all of you and may god bless you.”

“My family and I would like to extend our warm and heartfelt gratitude for the successful surgery that you have extended to me. Countless thanks and more power! God bless and always be with you! More strength that you can help more people who are in need like us!”

“To all the staff and members of the health care team, I would want to thank you from the bottom of my heart, for the success of my operation. I am lucky enough to be part of this medical mission and be one of the few chosen in this medical mission. May your team continuously share your knowledge and skills for the benefit of mankind. May you help those who are financially disabled and those who are medically ill to lessen mortality in such diseases. My sincerest gratitude. May God bless you all.”

Reading these letters was very moving to many of the mission staff.

Another successful day on Wednesday, the doctors completed 9 more procedures, 5 in Gen surg and 4 in Gyne. The gen surg procedures 2 Thyroids, 2 Lap Chole’s and 1 inguinal hernia repair. The patients ranged in age from 34 to 49 years old.

The supplies room looked absolutely great after the first chaotic days. Eileen and Ted have it very well organized and inventory lists are compiled to make it easier to find supplies whenever needed. Cherrein, Jim and Shirley were also going through more supplies in the other supply room to determine which are ones we can use and which ones can be donated.

At the end of the day, a couple of the team members, Cheryl and Eileen, headed for a walk home and found themselves disoriented and could not figure their way home. The local police came to their rescue and offered to drive them home and they gratefully accepted. They even exchanged pictures by their police car; look for those to be posted in the next couple of days.

The team all met back at Ating Tahanan, our home base, and we were picked up by vans to transport us to Erlinda’s Sidloski’s family home where Erlinda, Ted and their family provided an exceptional dinner.  Everyone was more than full, they are very gracious hosts and it was very appreciated by all. The family home is very unique in that it is built around a rock in the living room and some of our adventurous types, Dr. Cannell, Danielle and Betty decided to climb the rock.

Our resident doctor, Sonya Baik, went back to the hospital and was on calls with the local residents for the night. The rest of the team returned to our home base, and most people went to sleep, but a couple of our more “outgoing” types decided to accompany a couple of the local doctors to some of the fine establishments in Baguio. They must have been good establishments, because we did not hear them come home by the time everyone went to sleep.

Thursday, January 27

Thursday was another successful day. The doctors completed 10 more procedures, 6 in Gen surg and 4 in Gyne. The patients ranged in age from 19 to 63 years old. Everything is moving smoothly, although some of the cases are more difficult than previous missions, but everyone is coping well.

More thank you letters were received by the doctors as well as some gifts of thank you. Here is a sample of the letters received on Thursday.

“I am very thankful to God for sending us a doctors like you. Thank you for your kindness. You have a wonderful heart. Thank you for all the sacrifices, you spent time and money just for us, what so lucky we are. I’m just hoping and pray for your good health so that you can help more. I can’t forget you, you are already a part of my life. Thank you very much, more power and God bless you all.”

“To all doctors Canadian, Hi Hello, I am patient Betty Asuncion. Thank you very much for helping us all patient here in Baguio general hospital, especially I patient Betty Asuncion, and a lot of thanks for visits here in the Philippines. More patients you can helping and more powers and God bless us all.”

“I am very thankful that I’m the one chosen for the surgery. The time and effort that you shared with us. Especially that we have a financial problem we belong from a poor family. We will pray to the Lord for your good health that you will continue doing this good things as some other people are needed also. Again, thank you very much.”

“To all doctors, Thank you for a medical mission in Baguio City, Philippines. I’m the one you operated on yesterday for Hernia. Thank you very very much for helping Philipino people. God bless all of you.”

Thursday night a wonderful dinner put on by the GO Med team for the Baguio General hospital staff. Many attended and this included the doctors and the nurses working side by each with the Go-Med mission staff. Shirley and Mike did a lot of the leg work for this. Singing and dancing went on for a while after. Ted proved to be the star dancer on the team, and Lisa convinced one of the Baguio staff to sing, and she was amazing. Kim, one of the student nurses entertained everyone with a piano rendition. By 10 pm, and after 1000’s of pictures being snapped by all the cameras that were there, everyone dispersed to get ready for the next day.

Friday, January 28

Friday morning, the team headed back to the Baguio hospital. The doctors completed their rounds and patients that could go home were happy to do so. Operations started on time, the slate on Fridays is usually lighter than other days.

More thank you letters received today. Here are the quotes:

“I would like to express my greatest gratitude to everyone who contributed their help that made this operation successful, most especially the doctors who volunteered and sacrificed just to give their free medical service to people who can’t afford it. It was a great opportunity for me and my fellow who can’t afford the service due to hardship. For without you we can’t never make it. We can’t never repay you with the help that you’ve shared us and we may not be able to express our gratitude, I believe God is always there to witness every move that we make. Thank you so much for your kindness and we have that you won’t stop giving your help to the needy, sharing your gift from God through serving your brethren, most of all serving him. Thank you once again and may God bless you all …”

“I would like to express my heartfelt appreciation to Dr. Hwang, Dr. Blair and Dr. Baik and their staff for the kindness and excellent care during my hospitalization. You are a wonderful doctor, both knowledgeable and caring, desiring to help your patients and I was a fortunate beneficiary of your medical mission. May God bless you as you continue to help people who are in need.”

End of day Friday another successful day. The doctors completed 6 more procedures, 4 in Gen surg and 2 in Gyne. The patients ranged in age from 25 to 52 years old. Everything moved smoothly again today even though we were a bit short staffed.

TOTAL COUNT FOR THE WEEK: 41 Procedures completed !

Well it’s the weekend in Baguio and we are all headed back to home base to pack and head for some R&R at a resort close by. Everyone is looking forward to this time off; it has been a grueling week on all the doctors, nurses and admin staff. As it is unlikely that there is any communications at the resort, I will update when I return.

Monday, January 31

Last weekend, most people went to the Happy Ripples resort and some people headed to San Fernando to do some diving for the weekend. Dr. Baik stayed behind and was on call for the weekend. At the resort, some people went on short tours around the resort; others stayed back and enjoyed the sun and water. Saturday night, we celebrated with Lisa her 29th birthday and everyone seemed quite relaxed as they enjoyed the music and dancing. Tedolicious wins the Mick Jagger award for dancing prowess. Sunday was another relaxing day and while it was hard to leave the resort, everyone, is refreshed and ready to start our second week.

Today everyone is back at the hospital. Unfortunately, one of our members, Dr. Rahul Khosla, had to go back to Canada due to family considerations. Dr. Khosla left us on Saturday night to head home. Thank you Dr. Khosla for all your contributions last week. Fortunately, we have 3 Anesthesiologist here, so both operating rooms are still going full speed today. This is part of the planning that goes into missions like this, considerations have to be given to possible people not being available for some periods of the mission and to ensure both operating rooms are running at full speed, there are always more doctors on the mission.

Monday started with the Flag ceremony as is customary at the Baguio hospital. The doctors and nurses were already preparing the operating rooms before the ceremony so that the team can start right away and Danielle and Lisa did their preliminary rounds first thing.

After the ceremonies, the team started their procedures. Today we have 9 procedures scheduled. There are more patients still coming into the hospital and we are hopeful we can accommodate as many as we can before the mission is over.

During the day, Miechiel is busy trying to get team members flight reservations confirmed. Shirley is busy trying to get their hotel and transportation organized. There is much coordination required for a trip like this and for a team this size, especially when there is so many people going to different places and at different times.

The Gyne procedures today included some removal of fibroids that are large. Over the last 6 days, some of the staff members have decided to nickname them. Last week, two fibroids removed were nicknamed “Small Turkey” and “Piglet”. The Piglet weighed in at 5Kg. On Monday, the fibroid removed was given the label “Mr. Potatoe Head” but it was small compared to the other two weighing in at only 5 lbs. Today the local doctors also removed a huge fibroid and we were invited to view it. This ovarian mass measured 8 Kg. The general surgery room is having trouble competing as the Thyroids removed are small compared to the Fibroids.

More letters are received today from the patients. It is overwhelming to read all the thank you notes and some of the patients are very generous giving gifts to the doctors in the form of cookies, banana loaves or some other forms of baking. Here are some quotes from the letters received.

“Dr. Venuto, Thank you very much for helping us indignant Filipinos. Me and my family are praying for your success in your career.”

“To all specialist doctor surgeon, Thank you for giving me this free medical operation and medicines. May the all mighty God give you more blessing in return. Thank you very much for your generosity and kindness. God Bless you all and good luck”

“Dear Shirley, Robert and co workers of Go-Med mission, I want to say a big thanks for my successful free operation. I cannot wait longer so I had just left a message (thanks message) to you guys. Thanks to God Almighty, more power and more blessing to come with you all. God Bless”

“To all the staff of the Canadian Volunteers, Thank you all for all the good deeds and God Bless you all”

“To all doctors and Nurses who came here in Baguio, thank you very much. Thank you so much for the free operation and medicine. We are all very poor and cannot afford it. Thank you and may God Bless you all”

“Sir/Madam, me and my family thank you so much for sharing us your helping hand. More power to you all, may you have more blessings to come and may the Lord God be with you always”

And this one is an interesting one, as it recognizes the nurses, so I had to point that one out.

“I would like to express my heartfelt appreciation to the nurses for the kindness and excellent care during my hospitalization. You are a wonderful nurses, knowledgeable and caring desiring to help your patients and I was a fortunate beneficiary of your medical mission. May God bless you as you continue to help people who are in need.”

One of the things we learn on our trip, if you say to someone that you like something they have, they are so quick to hand it over. They are such generous and humble people, even though most of them don’t have as much as we do.

At the end of the day, the team completed all 9 procedures as scheduled. 5 general surgeries and 4 Gyne surgeries were done. After the doctors make their final rounds of the day, the team headed back to Ating Tahanan.

Tonight our team was treated to a Pasta dinner prepared by Jane Sali and her husband. It was wonderful and everyone enjoyed it. Most people were wise enough to head home, while some more adventurous types headed out on the town with Banny, the resident doctor who visited Canada earlier this year and some of his colleagues to a local night club. Curfew was much earlier than a few nights ago.

Tuesday, February 1

Tuesday starts off on an interesting note. It is the Flower festival in Baguio and all roads are a mess.

Some people, who normally walk, went ahead with no problems. Others that drove or are reliant on the Jeepney, were less fortunate. The Jeepney never made it so most of us headed out walking and some managed to flag a taxi, which proved not a good option as the taxi did not get far and they were forced to walk. Despite the delays, the team was only about 20 minutes later than normal getting started. The flower festival is a month long event, but February 1 is the parade day and all roads are hard to get through. This is something to note for next year mission.

The internet is still very slow and the task of uploading pictures is much more difficult. I will attempt some today, but if not, I will try to upload when we return to Canada.

We have a special patient today arriving to Baguio. While we were on our weekend trip, a lady, Evelyn, was selling jewelry on the beach. She was talking with Phyllis who she had met two years ago and revealed that she had a lump on her breast. This was the first time she had mentioned it to anyone, and her own husband did not know. This was examined by the staff and it was suggested to her that she needed to have this taken care of. Evelyn is a sole provider for her family and did not have the funds to travel to Baguio. Phyllis provided the necessary funds for her and her husband to travel and to have the Go Med team remedy her situation. Evelyn arrived today and was admitted to the hospital. She seems very anxious and the mission staff along with the local staff is trying their best to reassure her.

More letters received today …

“To all doctors, I really thank you sir for helping me cure my illness. I can’t really tell how I’m thankful to all of you who who came to save our lives and I’m praying to the Lord that he will give all of you the blessings and good health so that you can continue saving more lives….Thank you again and God bless.”

“Doctors and Staff Volunteers, 100 percent words of thanks to all of you. Because of you my wife received free medicine operation, tender loving care. Someday, somewhere hopefully extend your Samaritan medical mission especially poor people can’t afford medicine. Thanks to all.”

“Hi, Hello sir and Maam, I’m Patient Flordeliza Palabay came from Manaoag Pangasinan, 37 of age old without family and still single. A lot of thanks for one of giving a chance of this surgery mission. A very very thanks once again for being here in the Philippines. God bless us all and more power to all.”

“Dear Sir/Madam. Welcome to our city of pines. Hope you loved our place and may you come back for another mission for others to have chance also for these free medical and surgical missions. I and in behalf of my families are very much thankful for giving us free medical surgical and medications for our recovery. May God bless and guide you all for doing these free missions especially to those people who can’t afford to have these medications. Thank you very much.”

“Dear God Mission Staff, my heartfelt gratitude to everyone. Thank you for your overflowing support to the Filipinos. I will not forget you guys for you have been a part of my life. God have used you to heal my disease. May God bless you all wherever you go. Bon Voyage! Thank you so much.”

Procedures went according to normal except for the Laparoscopic camera light going out and having to borrow one from the hospital to finish the operations. This will be looked at later today to see if it can be fixed.

Another successful day, the staff completed 9 procedures, 5 in general surgery and 4 in Gyne.

Tonight a dinner provided by the Gyne ward was served at Ating Tahanan, and for those that stayed to have dinner, they were treated to a very tasty meal. Thanks to the local Gyne staff.

Some team members managed to make it to the mall and others to the market to go shopping. And of course there were those (not mentioning Lisa’s or Danielle’s name of course!) who headed out with the local doctors for another night on the town. Curfew was even earlier than previous nights and Lisa even got to sample some of the local foods.

Wednesday, February 2

Today everyone is starting to realize that we only have one day left and although people are tired, there is also this feeling of sadness to be leaving soon.

As the doctors did their rounds, we saw Evelyn today. She is scheduled to be operated on today and when talking with her she still seems very anxious. Her blood pressure is high.

One other patient was in tears as doctors examined her. These were tears of joy as she was totally overcome with emotion that she was operated on and when the doctors told her she can go home, more tears came rolling down. She was happy to be going home. The team is making a difference in these people’s lives

Today toys were distributed throughout the Children’s ward. These toys were donated by Cheryl and Bob Paluch from Winnipeg, Manitoba. Betty Allen also donated shirts and chocolates to the children. It was quite a sight to watch the smiles on the children and their parent’s faces. Cherrein also donated money to each patient in the Pediatric ward to help them with their medication.

The team completed 10 more procedures, 4 in Gyne and 6 in Gen Surg. Originally, we had 9 scheduled, but one more procedure was required at the end of day, an Orchidopxy (sp?), which brought the total number of procedures to 10.

More letters ….

“God bless you all. To all Go Med surgeons, nurses and staff; I wanna expressed my appreciation and gratitude for making me well. Upon knowing that I have this ailment and doctors said that only operation would be a remedy, I lose hope. How can I am a sales lady in a public market could afford such expensive procedure? Plus it’s my mom who’s raising us all. But God hear my prayers and gave an opened door for me. God gave me your guys and I’m so grateful. I will never forget you guys! I hope this simple letter would pay off all your sacrifices and hard work. May the Lord God bless you all!”

“I would like to express my gratitude to mam Shirley for organizing GO-MED. To the nurses and doctors who took care of me during my confinement and operation at BGH-Baguio General Hospital, Baguio City, Philippines last Jan21, 2011 to Jan 25, 2011, my sincerest gratitude too. May God bless you for untiring help for those in need of your services.”

“Dear GO-MED, thank you thank you for all the support and care that you have extended to me. This would be of great help to me and my family. GOD BLESS”

“Dear Go-Med Doctors, Nurses and other staff, thank you for curing and taking care of my mother. This helped us a lot, not only for our mother but also for us, her children.”

”Thank you so much for extending your help to me here in the Philippines. You are always remembered. God bless you all and your families. Again, thank you!!! Bon Voyage.”

End of the day, and after the rounds, the team heads back home. Tonight is a dinner put on by the Team doctors. Shirley arranges for us to be at a suite provided by her brother for some mingling prior to the dinner. Everyone is there and the meal at the John Hay Manor is fantastic. Thank you to Doctors Blair, Doctor Hoskin, Doctor Roy, Doctor Hwang, Doctor Venuto and Doctor Cannell for your generosity and on behalf of all the team members, this was much appreciated. This is our second last night here, and most team members head to Ating Tahanan and others stay to enjoy the views, but by midnight, everyone is at home.

Again, internet connection is not good and cannot post any more pictures!

Thursday, February 3

Today is our last day for performing procedures. The team heads in early. This is our last ride in a Jeepney on this trip. The driver is earlier than normal, and is as polite as he has been everyday for the last two weeks. I am sure this was a good deal for him and he has always been very prompt.

As we get into the hospital, we had only 5 procedures today, but one gen surg was added in last night. The doctors start their rounds. In the Gyne ward, the patients that have been operated on are all smiles, despite any pains they may be experiencing. One thing I noticed while here is that people do not complain about any pains whenever you ask them if they are in pain. The patients ready to have their procedures look anxious. One positive sign for me is the number of empty beds on the ward, which is quite a contrast from the first Sunday we toured the ward.

We also go to visit the Gen Surg ward and Evelyn, our friend from San Fabian, is up and around and is walking. She is much more relieved than yesterday. She asks if we are coming next year and hopes to see us once again. She introduces us to her son, who is very shy, and he seems happy.

The supplies room is in chaos. Time to pack up supplies we will not use today and for those supplies that are not going to expire in a year; we will store those for the next mission. Other supplies that will expire will be donated to BGH. People are coming and going and while it does appear to be chaotic, it is organized chaos!

The team members are handing in their evaluation forms for the mission and this will be used to make the next mission. They are also completing their field log so that we can determine how many hours we have spent on this mission.

Today the team completed 6 procedures, 3 in Gyne and 3 in Gen Surg

Total for the week, 34; 15 in Gyne and 19 in Gen Sur

Total for the two weeks, 75 procedures completed over the 9 days. This is great, given the difficult procedures this year. Kudos to the Doctors, Nurses and all the support staff on this mission.

The majority of the team is heading out to Manila in the morning. The doctors will do their rounds in the morning and that will close off the mission. Some people are heading to other areas for a couple of days of R&R. When the tickets were booked, some people opted to stay behind partly because of the Chinese New Year, where the fares have been higher to go early.

The doctors and some of the nurses are starting to leave, PACU nurses have to stay a little longer along with the supplies and admin staff to pack the rest of the material.

One more letter just came in …

“The medical mission team, Thank you, thank you, you’re such a blessing to us, “always a blessing to others!”. May the Lord bless you a thousandfold.”

It is wind up time, and I am closing off for now. I will try to post pictures when I return to Canada.

PAALAM, HAANGGANG SA MULI