Yes, there’s an extra bonus thing!

Text and photos by John Street, Assistant Quartermaster

Number 11:  When one of our favorite veteran patient/volunteers yells, “Wash up!” he’s not ordering me to go scrub or take a shower, as I first thought.  It’s just a friendly greeting that we usually pronounce as, “What’s up?” 

Number 10:  Working with the Rubik’s Cube that I brought to Venezuela seems to relieve stress for some of the staff in the Operating Rooms.


Number 9:  Playing with the Frisbees that I brought to Venezuela would not reduce stress for anyone in an OR.

Number 8:  You can win Head Nurse Debbie’s undying love just by giving her a wad of cotton from the inside of a pill bottle.  She’ll take off running to Dr. Diane to get it sterilized.

Number 7:  You should not get on the wrong side of Nurse Barbara, because she knows how to break your nose.

Number 6:  A mosquito can be either curved or straight.  I don’t worry about that; I just try to kill them when I see them.

Number 5:  Two things about surgical masks:  When I have to wear one, someone usually offers me M&Ms, which I have to forgo with great sadness.  When other people wear them, you really can see smiles and laughter in their eyes. 


Number 4:  Counting out 8,000 pills into packets of 100 should qualify me to be a Registered Pharmacist.  I’ve sent for the license, but it seems to be really slow in coming.

Number 3:  At Rotaplast, performing the most exacting and delicate surgery pays the same as counting out 8,000 pills into packets of 100.  Ain’t life grand?

Number 2:  Despite having the toughest problems to overcome, the little kids at Hospital Central Universitario Dr. Antonio Maria Pineda are endearingly cute and fun to be around.

And now for the Number One Thing I learned during my Venezuelan vacation:

In a practical sense – and that’s all that really counts – there are very few activities on the planet that are as important as what Rotaplast does.  This is the experience of a lifetime!