The Georges in Peru

Memorial Plaque

28 Jun 2016

Today I went back to the sign-maker for the nth time (did you know 'nth' is a Scrabble word without vowels?) and thrilled to find him in the shop working.  Not only that, he said the plaque was finished!  He crawled up a narrow ladder to the storage area upstairs and I could hear him scuffling about.  He came back down after a few minutes and asked his assistant, "Have you seen that little gold plaque?"  I had pretty much decided that if he didn't have it done today, I'd just cut my losses and go to my friend Roberto to have it done (I didn't know Roberto did bronze work until a week ago or I would have gone to him to begin with).  But thankfully, the assistant said, "It's in the glass case." Success!

Did you hear the one about the cobbler...

21 Jun 2016

They say humor doesn't translate well between cultures.  When you consider the different environments that people live in it is understandable that people from different cultures find different things entertaining.  There is an old joke about a man that took his shoes to the cobbler to be repaired.  He goes on to completely forget that he's taken the shoes in until years later he finds the claim ticket under his desk.  "I wonder if the cobbler still has my old shoes?"  So he goes to the cobbler and gives him the claim ticket and asks, "Do you still have my shoes?"  The cobbler pushes his glasses up his nose and squints at the print on the receipt and grunts before heading to the back room of the shop.  After a lot of sounds of boxes being slid across the floor and drawers being opened and slammed shut the cobbler finally appears and he says, "I found them!"  "Great!  How much do I owe you?" "You can pay when you get them.  They'll be ready Wednesday."

I donated the projector screen to the conference center that hosted Amy's funeral here in Peru as they had to go out and buy it before the funeral.  A month ago I went to a shop that makes little brass plaques that say things like, "Given in Memory of Dr. Amy George, 2016".  "It will be ready tomorrow after 12-noon." I was told.  I didn't have time to return until two days later, and I've learned it's best to give them extra time anyway.  I showed up around 1 pm.  "I'm here for the plaque."  "I said after 12."  I pointed out that it was after 12 and it was actually a whole day later.  "It will be ready at 3 pm."  The next two times I went to the shop, it wasn't even open.  Last week I went and the plaque was made with inverted colors (gold print on a black background).  He said, "Come back at 3 pm, today."  I told him I wouldn't be back for a week. (big mistake)  Today when I went back, he said, "It will be ready in half an hour."  The above joke would be completely lost on him.  

 

A wall of sample jobs.

How's your wife and kids?

17 Jun 2016

Today one of the local pastors and his wife were patients.  When they arrived, he asked, "How are your wife and kids?"  I was a bit surprised that he hadn't heard and probably made him feel bad for asking by my surprised look and terse answer that Amy had died of cancer.  But I went on to answer his question, "She's great!  Better than those of us still on earth, certainly."  If one thinks about it she's never been better!

Church Faena

12 Jun 2016

Today our church had a faena.  A faena is a work day and today the job was to carry a load of bricks from the street down into the church property where we are going to build a wall.  

Five tons of bricks left on the street.  What if someone steals them?  Wasn't a problem.  Bricks are too much work to steal, I guess.

Scott and Tami Wade, fellow missionaries, helped out.  It took 10 of us an hour and a half to carry the bricks.

Will Operate for Food

10 Jun 2016

One of the benefits of starting to see more patients again is my diminishing food bill.  I don't charge my patients, but many bring food to show their gratitude.  I've gotten chickens, guinea pigs, huge sacks of corn and potatoes and lots of fruit.  Once a patient brought some Starbucks coffee!  Yesterday, a patient brought a papaya, mandarin oranges and some cheese he had made:

Mia's Foot

09 Jun 2016

Sunday, Mia got injured while going down a zip line at the home of some other missionaries.  Her pain made me think that she could have fractured her navicular bone in the foot, so yesterday we went and got an X-ray and sure enough, there is a little chip broken off of her navicular bone.  About fourteen years ago, a medical student, Anna Peek, from the UK, went with me on a couple of village trips.  She went on to become an orthopedic surgeon and graciously lets me consult with her about ortho cases that I have here in Peru.  I think the last three ortho cases have all been missionaries or their children!  We're a clumsy lot, I guess.  We agreed that Mia will probably do okay without a cast, but will reevaluate in a week or so. But it looks like track season is over for her as she can't run for 6 weeks. 

 

Blog post approved by Mia.

The Return of Gross Medical Pictures!! Hooray!!

08 Jun 2016

When I took on the role of SIM Peru director in 2010 many lamented that the number of gross medical stories and pictures plummeted.  I can't guarantee the same number or shock value of the photos, but you can expect to see more interesting stuff!  We'll start with an easy one:  Today, a woman, who has helped several of our missionaries in their ministries, came to get a hemangioma removed from her thumb.  When it appeared a couple of months ago she went to a doctor who sent her to a long list of doctors including an orthopedic surgeon, an oncologist and a vascular surgeon who ordered all sorts of tests including an ultrasound and an MRI.  She spent the equivalent of days in waiting rooms until she was told they didn't want to remove it because it could bleed a lot.  I took one look at it and her fancy studies and said, "Let's take it out."  I cleaned her up, but a small sterile glove on her hand and cut the tip off of the thumb and rolled it down her thumb making its own little tournaquet.   Bleeding?  Did they think she'd bleed to death from her thumb?  Just put your other thumb on it.  Several people explained to me that this rigamarole was just to make more money ordering expensive but unecessary studies.  I hope she doesn't bleed to death, or I'll look pretty silly.

I made a small (1-cm) incision and the benign-appearing hemangioma popped out of the opening and was easily removed.   

Can we meet twice a week?

01 Jun 2016

I've written about Santiago before.  We've been meeting for bible study for a couple of years now.  We only met once this year before Amy started deteriorating, when we put our meetings on hold.  I called him this morning to see when he'd like to meet.  "Today!  At 1 pm!" Okay.  It was good to see him and see how he was doing and after our study in Matthew 1 (I let him pick the material) we were picking when we were going to meet again and he asked, "Can we meet twice a week?"  It's fun having people who are hungry to study God's Word!  I'm tempted to say, "No," so that he'll continue to look forward to our times together more, but I suspect our schedules won't let us meet twice each week anyway.  It could be hard to explain to God someday why I told someone that wanted to study the Bible more what my reason was for not doing it!

 

Four Teenagers!!

30 May 2016

As of today, I am the very proud father of four teenagers!  Actually, we found the ages 11 and 12 much more difficult than the teen years, which have generally been a breeze.  Happy Birthday, Paul!!

Community Service Trip

27 May 2016

Our kids attend a school that requires community service hours to graduate.  No, it isn't an alternative school for those kicked out of regular schools!  This last week, Ben and 50 other students took a 14-hour bus ride to Umachulco to work in a highland community.  One of the first things Ben told me was that he was really thankful for the knife uncle Erik gave him for Christmas a year ago, because it worked well for sheering an alpaca!

Not to be outdone, I went with a trio of Peruvian mothers to the other end of Arequipa to see a spina bifida patient.  He is a jovial young man but is paralyzed from the belly button on down.  These moms have kind of formed a club to help take care of this patient, which is kind of inspiring to me.  I met them through another missionary who has a women's bible study that they attend.

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