Dr. Tom McDonald
February 14, 2023
Today began with a boat ride to Santiago followed by a Tuk-Tuk ride to the Hospitalito Atitlan. Stephanie has spent enough time in this area to know how much we should pay for these services. She is able to negotiate the local price and avoid paying tourist fees which are sometimes double. We don’t mind giving a bit extra from time to time, but being here for a month motivates one to learn the ropes.
Starting at eight a.m., we saw a steady stream of patients with an array of conditions, including carpal tunnel syndrome, ganglion cysts, wrist fracture malunions, and tumors. Following clinic, we performed a dorsal ganglion cyst excision using a version of WALANT and after some modification of the furniture. I was able to demonstrate my preferred technique to Dr. Manuel Gonzalez – the local orthopaedist – and I believe he was impressed with our efforts.
Most importantly, when the already grateful patient – who had been experiencing significant pain for many months – learned that her surgery was free of cost for her, her smiles became tears of joy and gratitude. Hugs were exchanged and I believe she will feel much better, as the cyst and associated tenosynovitis were both impressive and certainly painful.
We caught the last boat at dusk and landed in the dark. After un poco de negotiation, we walked home and enjoyed a meal with the kids and Grandpa. We are tired but very excited to return tomorrow. The people here all say ‘hello’ to each other when they pass in the street (and to us); this is a custom I might try to bring home with me because I have learned that a small gesture of kindness to a stranger (i.e., me in Guatemala) can change a person’s day for the better.
One thought on “Lake Atitlan Day 2”
great work, Tom. Appreciate the insights into what you and Stephanie are accomplishing. I’m so glad to learn that Stephanie’s dad is there. Great for the kids. I’m sure they’re having a wonderful experience as well. Hugs