For months Annette and I had planned to go to Guatemala on Jan 3, 2006. It was to be our second trip in support of the drilling project. Tickets had long ago been purchased and we had told many people we were going on that day and to expect us at the orphanage campus on the evening of the 4th. But then reality intervened in the form of serious illness of her father in California. For a short time we debated whether or not we should cancel altogether or whether I should make the journey alone. I decided I did not want to go alone and that we would postpone the trip for three weeks to see how her father progressed. It was a difficult decision but we made it and cancelled with the airlines on Jan 3, rebooking for the 21st.
On Jan 4, I went to work and felt a little sick and had a mysterious pain in the right upper portion of my abdomen. It got worse and about 2:00 went to the doctor to ask his opinion. He examined me and told me to go to the local ER to see someone there. I was glad to get it looked into because by now I was really hurting. Well you know how ER visits go wait, wait and then again wait. Finally the Surgeon was called and he carefully examined me and decided to keep me in the hospital for observation and a CT scan. The next morning, the 5th of Jan I had the scan and then the Doctor said that it was my appendix that was the source of the problem and that it needed to come out now. It was not in the customary right lower portion of my abdomen which had made the correct diagnosis a little more difficult. Within 30 minutes I was in the OR for surgery. The appendix had ruptured sometime earlier, probably within the last 2 days. Three days of IV antibiotics and I was good to go home and take it easy for about 10 days. We left on the 21st and had a wonderful visit.
Had I left when planned I would have arrived in Poptun with a ruptured appendix and most likely within four or five days would have had peritonitis. This condition is deadly without advanced IV antibiotics. Such drugs are not available in Poptun and maybe not even in Guatemala City. My misplaced appendix would have made the diagnosis more difficult. One more example of the providence of God watching over the Project.