Back in February I was offered the chance to join a medical mission down in El Salvador. It was fairly short notice, but I’ve always wanted to do a mission. As a Certified Surgical Technologist, I thought joining the operating room team to perform various eye surgeries and helping the neediest Salvadorans was such a great cause and essential for visual health. Off to El Salvador!
With a few delays in Miami and a 2-hour bus ride from El Salvador International Airport to Santa Ana, it took 16 hours overall to arrive at the eye clinic. We had a brief orientation and a chance to meet the amazing team of doctors, nurses, surgeons, translators, and fellow volunteers. Also, the wonderful women who prepared and cooked all our meals throughout the entire trip were amazing! Surgical procedures would begin the following morning, so after dinner it was back to the hotel and time for bed.
The next morning it was back to the eye clinic to have breakfast, see the complex, operating rooms, and get everything ready for our first day.
The ground floor provided optometry and optical services performing eye exams and providing eye glasses. Overall, the incredible team saw nearly 1,000 patients in 6 days!
After the operating room team met and went over a few things, it was time to go upstairs to prepare for surgeries which included cataracts surgery, cornea transplants, strabismus surgery, extracapsular cataract extractions, and glaucoma implants. I was definitely pushed out of my comfort zone, but everybody was so helpful and it became a wonderful learning experience.
We were on a medical mission, but I was still going to take pictures of everything we ate! Some rice, vegetables, tortillas, and chiles rellenos (stuffed green bell peppers) were served for lunch.
After lunch, it was back to the OR for a few more surgeries.
The first day went very well. We would take on a heavier case load starting the second day. The 12-hour days actually flew by. It was time for dinner and then back to the hotel to rest.
» Please donate to the Friends of ASAPROSAR Visual Health Program «