Dr. Burch found a back brace in the storage/prep/tea room (I’ve realized most everything here is multi-functional) and sent me over to the ICU to put it on Denise, hoping it would provide her with support and ease the pain. Once it was on she reluctantly stated, “My pain level is very small” and closed her eyes for a nap before I had left the room. Success.
Go time! At around 9:30a.m. Edith was rolled into the OR with a terror-filled look on her face. While Rob and Nadia were setting up the instruments for the case, Laura ran to the storage room and brought back two furry friends (stuffed animals) to calm her nerves. Anesthesia began and she dozed off quickly, her last sight being Laura holding the animals in front of her.
The surgery was a success with very few complications (by now we’re used to the power outages) and we left the hospital around 7:30p.m. We stopped by the local Nakamut superstore- the Costco of Mbarara- to restock on beverages, snacks, and blank cd’s (to burn CT scans on) and then went to the Agip for a dinner full of laughter.
Wow does time fly by! We all woke up shocked this morning that it’s already Saturday, day six, and we’re halfway through with our two-week escapade in Uganda. We discussed the upcoming cases for the week while eating a hearty breakfast at the hotel and left for the hospital at 7:30a.m.
Rounds were extra rewarding this morning. As we walked into Frank’s room, he immediately put on a contagious smile (his smiles usually don’t come easy). Looking over at his mother, she translated his words to us. He said, “These are the people that saved my life” and then climbed out of bed, unassisted, and shook each of our hands in a thankful manner. Seeing Frank’s ability to regain so much strength after such a short time period is not only motivation to the other post-operative patients, but to all of us on the Spine Machine Team as well. Edith, our surgery patient from yesterday, is doing very well this morning. She wasn’t pleased that we had to change out her dressings, but Laura saved the day by pulling a pillow pet out of her bag and wrapping her petite arms around it. We finished rounds and went in for surgery.
We left the hospital at 9p.m., stopped by the Agip for dinner, and then stayed up until 4a.m. swapping stories and celebrating a tremendous first week.