Tonight will be the last time I post for a little while. I am leaving for Panama City, Panama on Thursday as part of Operation Walk Philadelphia. We will be providing needy patients with total hip and knee replacements. This is my first medical mission and I'm looking forward to it but I do have quite a bit of anxiety about leaving my family for a week, especially for another country.
If you would, please say a prayer for the safety of the doctors, nurses and other healthcare professionals who will be making this journey. Although Operation Walk is not a Catholic organization, the hospital we will be working in is. Please pray also that everyone conducts themselves in a worthy manner and that we are able to do some good while we are there. I helped get some of the supplies together, which was an enormous undertaking for the woman placed in charge of this, and I'm also praying that we have everything we need. We will be using a lot of equipment we're not entirely familiar with so we're hopeful that we haven't overlooked anything.
I nearly said no to this trip, not only because I have two high-needs children but also because I couldn't stand the thought of missing Mass. As fate would have it, our hotel is directly across from a church run by Carmelites, Iglesia de Nuestra Senor del Carmen ( or, the Church of Our Lady of Mt. Carmel). How's that for luck? What's more, the logistics coordinator called Panama and got a Mass schedule and I've been assured that the organizers will see to it that I and anyone else who is inclined will at least get to Sunday Mass (the first of which is scheduled for 6 am Sunday morning). The bulk of our surgeries will be done on the weekend because most of the Panamanian surgeons don't operate then, so I was a bit concerned but not so much anymore.
One of these days, I will figure out how to post photos to this blog and I will share pictures of not only the patients but the church as well. It's known as a remarkable example of Gothic architecture. At any rate, I will be spending the next two nights getting some meals together for the family for when I'm away and packing. It's hot and humid in Panama so it's a bit unusual for me to have to pack summer clothes. I'm also told the Panamanians often ask the American nurses to give them their scrubs at the end of each work day, so I've packed some extras to leave behind.
I don't know that I'll be able to leave my family like this again for at least a little while so I'm going to make the most of this and offer every moment to God. In the future, our group may consider doing a mission in another country since they've run a number of missions to Panama already. I would dearly love to go to India, where there is great need for medical missions. God-willing, that will happen some day.
See you sometime next week! God Bless you