21 November 2008

Let it Snow???

Last night while I was at work, some one came in and said it was snowing outside. I'm thinking okay, it's just spitting a few flakes and everyone's getting all excited. That was not the case though. It was seriously snowing! The ground was pretty well covered in a relatively short period of time. Fortunately the roads stayed clear and when it was time for me to head home, I had no trouble.
This morning when I woke up the snow was still there and has continued to fall off and on through out the morning. Now, I like snow. I really do, because hey if it's going to be cold it might as well snow! However, I feel like I got cheated out of fall this year. I love fall, and was looking forward to enjoying it back in the mountains again. While the fall colors were amazing this year, thanks to some decent rainfall, there wasn't very much fall like weather. It went from being 80 to 35 in a matter of days. What happened to the 60's and 70s? The drastic and sudden change in temperature has been quite a shock to my system. I was in Richmond this past weekend visit my wonderful college roomie, and it was 80 on Saturday. I was wearing short sleeves and we were sweating while walking around. And now less than a week later, I'm sitting in winter wonderland. Maybe there's a little bit of fall left out there, but I'm afraid winter may be here to stay. So bring on the snow.

10 November 2008

Tapachula 2008

So I've been back from my trip to Mexico for a little over a week now, and decided it's time to blog about it a bit. Although it's hard to explain the full extend of what I experienced while I was gone, I will do my best to but into word the amazing things that happened during the week.
Saturday morning, I flew from Nashville to Chicago and then Chicago to Mexico City where I met up with the rest of the team. I was quite glad to see people in matching shirts as I had a little trouble finding them. Last time we flew through Mexico City, there was only one terminal. During the last 2 years, they built a second one. Which would be fine if there was a sign or map that told me that. However there wasn't. There is a major lack of signage in Mexico. Somehow you're just supposed to know where to go. Fortunately I found a nice airport employee that spoke English and explained to me where to go and how to get my boarding pass. Once I finally located the Sky Train that would take me to Terminal 2, I thought my troubles were over. I was wrong. In order to board the Sky Train, you have to have a boarding pass of some other proof that you are a ticket passenger. The only thing I had was my luggage claim tag that showed my flight path. The first security guard I encountered wasn't going to let me on with just that, but fortunately there was a second one who was nicer and let me on.
So when I finally arrived in the other terminal, I was very glad to see some familar faces. To my surprise and delight one of the familar faces was a surprise. One of the nurses that went 2 years ago had signed up at the last minute and I didn't know she was coming. We had a blast last time and shared many wonderful memories and I was quite excited to see her there. Our plane was late leaving Mexico City, which is more of the norm that the exception! As we're sitting on the plane the announce that some of the luggage will have to be left behind and delivered the next day because the plane weighs too much. Not exactly what you want to hear as you are preparing to depart. We did make it safely off the ground and arrived in Tapachula (where the humidity was 99%) and waited to see what of our luggage made it. I was fortunate and both of my bags arrived that evening. We then headed to the hotel for some much needed rest.
Sunday morning we got up early and headed to the hospital to hold clinic and set up the OR. Last time I ended up being put in charge of organizing the central supply area and I was more than happy to take on that role again. I like things to be organized and have a place. Yes, I'm type A, but it really is helpful. The rest of luggage that was supposed to arrive that afternoon didn't and we were left wondering if we would have instruments to do surgery the next morning. Very late in the evening we found out that the bags had been delivered to the hotel and everyone's bags were there.
Monday through Thursday we spent in the OR during hysterectomies, bladder tacs, and even a couple of appendectomies. Oh yeah, and I can't forget the polyp. :) I did a little bit of everything. I scrubed, I circulated, I assisted, and helped out wherever I could. Things went pretty smoothly. Friday was supposed to be a free day, but we had two patients that we ended up operating on, so skeleton crew of us went to the hospital and the rest visited and orphanage that we established a relationship with when we were there 2 years ago. We had a few complications and difficult cases, but everything managed to work out in the end. Prayer does amazing things. That night we had a big banquet where they thanked us all for coming.

Saturday a group of us decided to go rapelling. We drove way up into the mountains and then down into a valley. From there we hiked back into the woods to this large rock with 2 waterfalls. It was amazing. The path to the top of the rock was slick, very narrow, and only a couple of feet from the edge of a cliff. It was a bit of a scary climb. I ended up chickening out and didn't go rapelling, but I had a good time anyways. Since I didn't go down the cliff, I got to climb back down the narrow path, which was an adventure in and of it's self! At the site there were all these little flying bugs that for some reason really liked how I tasted and I ended up covered in bites. They didn't itch at first, but they sure did the next day! I'm still scratching at a few over a week later!
Sunday we got up at 4am to head the airport where most of had a 640am flight to Mexico City. A group of us were catching an AA flight from Mexico City to Dallas and they told us we would have to pick up our bags and recheck them in Mexico City. So when we arrived, we went to get our bags, but they never showed up. For some reason they didn't put them on the plane in Tapachula and said they were coming on the afternnon flight. We all had to file luggage claims and as a result, ended up missing our connecting flight. Fortunately we were all able to get on standby and I arrived in Nashville only 4 hours after I was originally scheduled to. My luggage arrived Tuesday evening at the Tri-Cities Airport.
It was an amazing experience once again. It was fun to see old friends and make new ones. The memories we made will last a lifetime. I already planning for next year and hope to again see some familar faces!