Welcome Home, Dr. Nick!
Guatemala trip, Feb 12-22, 2009.
The 2009 Chiropractic mission to Quetzaltenango, Guatemala was amazing.
THURSDAY: Alexis dropped me off at airport. Flew into LAX at 8 pm, luggage machine went haywire, had to wait for 1 hr. to get my luggage, so I got a credit - BONUS! Met with friends and fellow mission trippers at about 9 pm and checked in on TACA Airlines. Departed at 12:45 am for Guatemala City.
FRIDAY: Arrived in Guatemala City at 7:30 am, went through customs, collected our things and met up with other two mission trippers and the Moir Family with transportation to Antigua/Lake Atitlan. Met up with friend and translator Philip in Lake Atitlan, had dinner, went out on town. Lots of fun, ate some street food, three of 8 mission trippers got sick.
SATURDAY: Breakfast, then boat ride across the lake surrounded by volcanoes. BEAUTIFUL. Bus ride to Quetzaltenango, checked into our hotel for the week. Mini CrossFit workout led by Dr. Nick (warm up 10 minutes, 100 pushups, 200 sit-ups, 300 squats), dinner with the team, and then bed.
SUNDAY: Shopped for last-minute supplies, CrossFit workout (squats, knees to elbows, burpees, and hspu), and had opening ceremony’s dinner, where we were presented with our shirts for the trip.
MONDAY through FRIDAY: Up at 6 for breakfast, patients began at 8. 2 clinics. Dr. Nick, Dr. Ryan and Philip worked at the Student Family Clinic de San Antonio, a medical student clinic and training center. We saw patients there all week from 8-12:30, then headed over to the Clinic de Centro from 2-8 pm, which was in an abandoned building made ready for patient care. The other 3 doctors and 2 student doctors were stationed at that clinic all week.
My first patient was a female medical student, age 22, with LBP, MBP and headaches. I saw her twice, and by the end of the week she was very happy to be feeling much better. My second patient was a male, age 77, who had had a stroke 3 months earlier and had complete right-sided numbness and weakness. I saw him every day while there, and by the 5th day he was moving his right hand almost equally to his left, and his grip strength had increased roughly 5 fold. Also, he had lost most of the numbness in his upper extremity and no longer had neck and head pain. The cases varied from stroke to extreme sciatica, disabling knee pain, head aches, LBP, numb hands, digestion problems, partial facial paralysis, and on and on.
Patient care ranged from 7-12 hours per day, and all in all we saw roughly 2-3 thousand patients in the 5 days of work. Dr. Jose Cortez from NYC, a Spanish-speaking doc, was able to promote 3 times on the public radio stations, and Student Doctor Charlie Lenz from LACC was featured in the local Quetzaltenango paper on Thursday, with a picture of him working on a patient with foot dysfunction and pain.
FRIDAY: A day of hard work - only an 8 hour day, but because my friend Dr. Ryan Caringola was sick, I had to work extra hard to help him with his patient load. At 4 we closed up shop, said our goodbyes to our patients and the very helpful Guatemalan medical students. Since we’d skipped lunch that day, we headed to a local restaurant for a snack and then back to the Hotel for showers and rest. That night we had our celebration dinner and exchanged presents with the Moirs and other helpers on the trip. After that it was pretty much straight to bed (after about 3 hours of talking about the power of chiropractic, our crazy cases, and the positive energy and thankfulness felt by our whole group).
SATURDAY: Departed Quetzaltenango at 10:15 am. Arrived Guatemala City 3 pm. Departed GC at 9 pm. Arrived LA at 12 am, stayed with friends overnight.
SUNDAY: Departed LA at 9 pm. Arrived in Boston at 6 am, Dr. Jesse picked me up and we went straight to work.
Arrived home for the first time in 11 days at 8:30 pm, 2.5 days after leaving Quetzaltenango – ate and went straight to bed.
I am grateful to have been able to partake in this trip once again. I really see the progress in my own abilities, making the transition from student to doctor, my confidence and knowledge base has increased and that allowed me to be even more helpful to the people of Guatemala. I am incredibly fortunate to get this opportunity to care for these appreciative and hardworking people, and their love and blessings make the hard work and travel very worthwhile.
Stay tuned for more photos of Dr. Nick Araza’s trip coming soon!