Sarah Heinz | Solid Rock

Sarah Heinz | Solid Rock

Surgery Season

This month we wrapped up the surgical season for the first half of the year. Surgical weeks are simultaneously some of my favorite weeks working with the teams, and also some of my hardest weeks. Surgical weeks are special because that is one time that you are able to directly see the impact that you are making on a person’s life. I enjoy getting to know the surgical teams and getting to work alongside them during their weeks in San Juan. I love learning from the surgeons as they see patients on consult days. My nursing career started in surgery, so I always love being back in and around the OR.

Surgical weeks are also hard for me. They require a lot of work and coordination, both prior to the team’s arrival and then during the week they are serving with us. There is always a certain level of pressure that I feel to help ensure that the teams have successful and fulfilling weeks of service, while simultaneously advocating for patients to help them get the surgeries they need and following the clinic’s and public health’s guidelines throughout the entire process. During surgical weeks we frequently have patients that come with heartbreaking stories, some of whom we are not able to help in the end, and that takes an emotional toll.

So yeah….surgical weeks are a rollercoaster of so many emotions but in the end I am so grateful that I get to be a part of these weeks.

Since my last update we have hosted 3 surgical teams. The first surgical team was a general surgery team. That group also had a barrio team working that week, as well as gynecologist and dermatologist seeing patients at the clinic. It was a busy week with a lot of moving parts, but definitely successful with so many patients receiving care.

The following week we had a gynecology surgical team with team members from Florida, North Carolina, New Mexico, Oregon, and Texas. The team didn’t do as many surgeries as they would have liked to but still used their time in the clinic to have the greatest impact possible: the surgeon saw women for wellness exams and the rest of the team did some incredible organizing and cleaning of the surgical area.

Our final surgical team of the season was a new plastic surgery team. This may have been their first time serving in San Juan but all the team members have been to multiple different countries on mission trips, so they were a well oiled machine. I really appreciated learning from this team and hearing some of their stories. It was incredible to see them work, especially all the work they did on patients with burns. I am so grateful for the medical professionals who come and share their talents to help people here!

So, what else have I been up to the past few weeks? Well, on one of our weeks without a team I was able to join my friend, Kailey, for a day working at her organization’s clinic located on top of a mountain in Elias Piña. Kailey and I often talk about our work so it was special to actually get to work alongside her for a day. That weekend a few of the female American missionaries got together to do Velvet Ashes online retreat titled Olive: Receive the Tending of Jesus. None of us knew what the topic of the retreat was prior to that day, but it definitely hit home for all of us. I am thankful to have spent that time with the Lord and some incredible women, and receive the tending of Jesus.

May is our Dominican staff appreciation month so yesterday we had a beach day to celebrate our incredible staff. It is hard to beat a day at the beach with so many of my favorite people! Yesterday was also Kelsi’s birthday so after a full day at the beach the American staff went out to dinner to celebrate Kelsi. As I sit here and reflect on the day, I am left feeling really grateful that I get to do life here with all of these sweet friends.

Prayer requests

  • Healing for all the surgical patients
  • Team unity (SRI American + Dominican staff, and the clinic). Change is never easy, but it can lead to so much good. Please pray for team unity in and through the changes that continue to happen.
  • Spanish
  • Health, rest, and safety
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