Urostomy and Ziplines!
I have just returned from a medical/evangelical mission trip in Gracias Lempira Honduras. We worked in the poorest community (average per capita income $200/ month) in the second poorest country in the world;(poorest is Haiti). Our team of 15 performed orthopedic and urologic surgeries for many patients. Some had suffered from their problems for three or more years. The hardest part of the week was turning away patients due to time constraints. To allow these elderly Honduran men to urinate without the catheter they’d required for more than three years in many instances seemed like miracles to them. In a culture where you only eat if you can plant and harvest vegetables or tend cows, wearing a urinary catheter strapped to a bag just adds to the difficulties of daily chores.
The smiles and hugs of sincere appreciation our team received from patients and their loved ones felt to us like so much more than our work was worth. The people were looking for hope in despair, and somebody who cared. These surgeries performed in the good old USA are expected to be available on demand, successful, and without pain or complication, with access to legal action if results are less than perfect! How refreshing it is to help those in need, who don’t expect perfection, who are so appreciative that every family member wants to hug you!
As a bonus at the end of the trip, we planned to go zip lining over a deep gorge nearby. Because of water concerns and a bit of “Montezuma’s revenge” I must have been a bit dehydrated. In addition, I knew about the tight harness that they strap around you to hook you to the steel cable before the launch. Because of my urostomy appliance, I intentionally avoided liquids that morning to keep from compressing the bag. It was also hot and dry at that high elevation. The first two of six intended lines were awesome high flying experiences!!
Still a great adventure!
Before attaching to the third line, however, my blood pressure dropped and I nearly fainted. Luckily, though on the side of a remote mountain, I was with a medical group that diagnosed my condition and got me back to the van for much-needed fluids and electrolytes. Although I missed the descent on the last four lines, I still had a great adventure!
Curious if anybody out there with an ostomy has had zip lining experience they’d want to share?
By Dr. Joseph Salisz, MD, A Urologist with an ostomy