Friday, November 29, 2019

11.18.19 Thanksgiving wishes

Happy Thanksgiving to you all. Let us all take a moment to gives thanks for all of our blessings, even if sometimes we feel there are more challenges than we can handle.

Happy Thanksgiving from my home to yours!

After a big meal, only Shorty would look at the camera. Fionnegan was ready for a nap and Gunnarr has really become camera shy.

Sunday, November 17, 2019

11.17.19 Medical mission trip to Honduras

This was the third consecutive surgical oncology trip to Hospital San Felipe in Honduras in Tegucigalpa, the capital city. This was trip was organized by Health Volunteers Overseas, an organization that supports many medical mission trips to many countries worldwide.  I had the opportunity to travel with Doctor Sayuri, one of the chief residents in our surgical program. It was a pleasure to have her on the trip and the surgical oncology resident of the San Felipe program really enjoyed her expertise and company as well.

Of course, this trip starts in the wee hours of the morning. My boys were both tired and sad that I was leaving again. Gunnarr is in the foreground and is especially sad. Fionnegan is in the background and also had very sad eyes. They all had a shirt of mine place on their beds to comfort them. Even Shorty was looking a bit down. They all know the suitcase means I will be gone ofr a while. But I always come home!


This is teh Hospital San Felipe taken from the upper deck of the hotel where we stayed. It is a mix of old colonial style and modern. They are in the process of building an ICU. I was told this process is "a brick a day"! Perhaps next year we will see a lot of progress or it may be completed. I do enjoy walking around the olf sections. Apperantly so do the pigeons! They are always in the courtyards.

Here are a few pictures from the operating room. This is Dr. Sayuri operating iwth the local plastic surgeon and the intern Samuel.


She was our OR assistant.                                              Here is Fernando, the OR tech. Yes, every one has a cell phone!


Dr. Karina is the Chief resident, although she has one more year to complete her training.

Dr. Jason, the surgical oncology resident and Dra. Zyama, a gynecology resident, assisted me with a case.

Dra. Karina with medical students from one of three medical schools in Honduras. They were observing on this day. One of teh medical students scrubbed with us on our first day.

Dra. Karina, Dr. Samuel and a local surgical oncologist.

Dr. Sayuri operating.

On the first day I worked with Dr. Junior on two really big cases and do not have a picture of him operating. Here is a picture of Drs. Sayuri, Junior, the anesthesia tech, and Jason.

As per our tradition, we are provided with a little site seeing on the last day of our week. Karina and Samuel took us to the national park wiht the Cristo del Picacho. The view of the valley is spectacular. There are beautiful gardens and a chance to do a little bird watching. There were a lot of school children up there that afternoon. 

Couldn't resist the pigeon on the head of the statue. No disrespect intended. But the pigeon does have a "birds eye view".

Here is a photograph sans pigeon.

School kids running up the stairs. We walked !

Everyone takes pictures!

Cristo statue. One cannot get a photograph of the front due to the cliff.

Here is a domestic bird. 

A great horned owl.Yes, he was looking right at us. Beautiful bird.


Look at those claws.

The grounds keeper took us to see the owl after he observed us looking at orioles, blackbirds, and sparrows. That was really very kind of him as he had to lead us down the backside of a trail and point it out to us. What a special treat. 


Samuel, Sayuri, Karina

After the walk in the park we headed up to Santa Lucia for lunch. A beautiful little town in the mountains, it has an old church and a lake with ducks and turtles. There also is the opportunity to rent a paddle boat!


Tres Puntas, the restaurant where we had lunch. It was delicious.

Boating on the lake.

Some pretty flowers.

A little bird watching as we walked around town.  He thought he was hiding in the leaves but we found him.


View of Santa Lucia.

And let's not forget the dogs enjoying the beautiful day!

This was again a very rewarding trip to volunteer at the hospital. I do hope to be able to continue this for a long time! I enjoy all aspects of th etrip, from taking care of some wonderful patients who are grateful for our work, to the residents in their program who enjoy our company and the chance to learn from us. They are good doctors, and I am always impressed woith the skills and knowldge of the local surgeons. It is an honor nad provelege to participate in the training of their residents and provide care for their patients.

And yes, the Christmas trees in the hotel. Love it!


Until next time, may you all enjoy good health and happiness.

Monday, November 11, 2019

11.11.19 Adventures on the Tundra

It was over 20 years in the planning stage and I finally made it. I took an adventure trip to see the polar bear and was not disappointed in the magnificence of these huge mammals. We started in Winnipeg, which is a moderate size city with a few things to do. We went to visit the WAG museum which had a lot of nice Inuit artwork and the Human Rights Museum, which was quite sobering.

There are also the "forks" - the confluence of the Red River and the Assiniboine River.  We also saw a beautiful bald eagle fly over the Red River as we were walking to the French Quarter.  Was this a good omen for the trip?  Also saw a little brown creeper as we walked through the park. I think all trips are birding trips to one degree or another!

Museum of Human Rights.

A  statue of Gandhi is in the mall by the museum.  Look closely - someone painted his toenails purple.


Brown creeper

After a brief stay in town and a dinner with the group, we flew to Churchill, Manitoba, a town of 800 along the Hudson Bay. It is also one of the largest habitats of the polar bear - so odds were good we would see one. 

The first polar bear spotted was far away. Can you find the bear in this picture?

Hint - he is the white spot on the tundra close to the bay.

Here is a closer view of the polar bear.

We also saw many beautiful white Willow Ptarmigan.

There are many, many photographs of polar bears and I still have not finished reviewing them. I will spare you endless pictures. But one polar bear did come right up to the rover in which we travelled and it was a very special experience to look right at his face!

Big teeth!

Apparently polar bear do not like to get their paws wet when walking. He walked along the stepping stones rather than straight through the water! We watched him walk right along the tundra to our rover and he came right up to the back of the vehicle. We were on platform about 8 feet tall, so he would not be able to reach us.

Look at the size of those paws!

He is getting closer! No telephoto lens needed! These are taken with a wide angle lens!

Look at those paws!

He is walking on the rover tracks.

He is losing interest in us and turns back down the tundra.

This was the closest that we would be able to view a bear, but not the last one with close up shots! Our visitor (or host?) is walking away from us to continue on his own adventures to Hudson Bay and prepare for the winter freeze. He probably only has hunting seals on his mind!

Here is one more bear. He too was very interesting to watch. We know these are males as they migrate to the Bay early.

Look at those teeth!

Bear and tundra photograph. It was a beautiful day.

It was exciting to observe them amble along the tundra, stopping sometimes to eat willows or kelp.

See the plant in his mouth?

In addition to the rover rides on the tundra we went dogsledding, attended local lectures, visited a bear jail, took a helicopter ride, shopped at local stores, and I took the time to visit the local hospital.

 Holding facility for delinquent bear. That would be bears that enter the town and not agreeable to move to the management area!

Bear trap.

On our last night, we were most fortunate to view the northern lights (aurora borealis) through a previous heavy cloud cover. It is always a magical experience.

More photographs and stories to follow!