Letters From Ecuador : Setting The Field Straight [3]

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Frank Aprile, writing from an initial conversation with LaceyTodd, CORT, who volunteered her time as a pediatric cardiovascular scrub technician.

She  authors her own narrative on this adventure in future parts of this series…

A Conversation and a Napkin…

Is pretty much what this part of the story is all about.

Lacey is a prolific note taker.  Here is a sample of her teaching plan 🙂

The rest of it comes from a conversation she and I had in the OR hallway back in West Texas.  Now THAT was one for the story books.  It had a real Indiana Jones flavor to it- but no Tats, scars, or snakeskin boots to go with it.

Making it ALL Work…

I got an email from Brian two weeks before this mission asking if I knew of anyone that might be able to volunteer their time to a mission in Ecuador, as a cardiovascular scrub technician.

That’s a lot to ask on short notice, as well as finding a scrub nurse who has the pediatric qualifications, a valid passport, a lot of spunk, and maybe some prior experience with mission work.

So Lacey came to mind…

Lacey is a West Texas girl that owns her own business, is meticulous in presentation and appearance, and has enough West Texas charm to make you think it’s ok to jump off of your own personal cliff- and like it.

She has scrubbed hearts for quite a while, and has done some mission work with a group out of Florida on several occasions.

A hard working gal, with looks, spunk, and dedication to finish the job- and make sure it was done right.   So she was an obvious choice for this Mission.

She seemed to think it was worthwhile and challenging,  so she emailed him back- and then sent a text to me…

I t was basic- “Thanks for the hook-up- I rearranged my schedule… “

Setting up the trip was it’s own adventure.  Here she was going to a totally strange and unusual environment, under the protection of whom-  honestly noone was really sure, but she went because it was something daring, and at the same time had a lot of trust in Brian Forsberg, and ICHF.

She got there a week before the rest of the team, and survived, speaking no Spanish, on her lonesome.  They grow ’em tough in Texas.

Language issues were certainly there, but being “upfront” is the only honest way she knew how to deal with things- so it got her through.

Meeting the team.

While her primary  job was to pass during the cases- she was expected at the same time to educate nurses and technicians on the finer art of heart surgery, and the amount of prep-work it takes.  Organizational skills, understanding the operation, priorities, sterile technique, and how to improvise on the fly.

I haven’t gotten all the details from Lacey yet, but there were a lot of stories, and we laughed so hard at some of the predicaments she encountered during her stay.

She did say it “kicked her a**” but not in a bad way.  Just some really long, hard hours, on some tough operations.  Overall she was very impressed with the team and said she had a lot of fun (when she wasn’t scrubbed in).

Thanks Lacers- for helping out, and letting me share this for you LOL  🙂

Lacey’s story as well as Margaret’s will be interlaced in this series…


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