Another Trip to Guatemala

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We had another very successful whirlwind trip Jan 27-Feb 2.

Arriving on Sunday was pleasant, as I had not actually scheduled any work for that day, so it was much more relaxing than last time. It was also very exciting to be able to follow up on the patients who we sent to the COTA jornada in Tiquisate Jan 19. COTA is a very impressive surgery NGO that makes one mammoth trip to Guatemala every year to do hundreds of surgeries. We have established a good relationship with them, and they were kind enough to see several of our referrals during their trip. Additionally they donated hundreds of dollars worth of insulin and pediatric formulation lasix and digoxin. These are desperately needed, as we have several children with diabetes and others with congenital heart conditions.

On Monday, we were in Santiago to see the usual array of diabetics and other long-standing patients. We also had extra time to see several new patients. The most tragic of these was a young woman, perhaps 35 years old, with a massive, ulcerated parotid gland tumor perhaps 25 cm in diameter. She has been lying in bed for months as the tumor grew and grew and now can no longer eat solid foods. Apparently she did have an evaluation at INCAN, the national cancer institute, and had a CT scan and MRI, both of which she showed to us. No further interventions were performed, however, and it is unclear whether this is because the physicians told her the tumor was inoperable or because the amount of money required was beyond her reach.

Tuesday Anne Kraemer and I were in Socorro, where we saw a very large number of patients, about 80 I think, as well as got some general business done regarding the water project. Wednesday we had a site visit from Heart to Heart International in Santiago to show off mostly some of our work with diabetics there. Thursday and Friday I was in Comalapa and Tecpán, respectively, working with the midwifes in part doing follow-up for some of the patients that we saw at the beginning of January and in part seeing new patients as well. We saw about 30 patients in each location, and we also got a good deal of business done, as Anne and I had a long meeting with the board of directors for ACOTCHI.

On Saturday, I flew to Austin, where I spent two days working on various media projects with Laura Welch, our trustworthy media expert. One of the results of this was the new video spot which you can see embedded on this webpage or by going here . We also developed some new ideas for website architecture, which you should see unfolding over the coming weeks, and also worked on some of the other video projects which we have in the works.