Everyone is in good spirits at breakfast, probably from the afternoon of rest we had yesterday. We assemble and shortly after take off for the hospital, ready to take on our last day of surgery. Dr. Lieberman and the spine team are scheduled for three surgeries, as is team plastics, aka Dr. Kerner. Two local doctors join her, Dr. Situdwa, a resident, and Dr.Kwikiriza, who is on anesthesia. They are working on a young girl, releasing contractures of her hand and wrist. Their second case is a young man with large keloids covering his neck and ear…
Dr. Lieberman's three cases of the day go well, despite Skylar's neuromonitoring equipment getting fried by a power shortage and being out of commission for the rest of the day (luckily this is the last day of surgery, and team 2 brought their own neuromonitoring equipment)
We conclude our last surgical day earlier than our days before, and after team 2 finishes their day clinic, we head over to the Agip motel for some well deserved dinner and another laughter inducing game of 'heads up.'
Tuesday Aug 6:
It's a bittersweet moment as we head into the hospital for our last morning of rounds. Moreen is getting better daily, as she gains more function in her legs. It is looking promising. Sylvia, our first surgery of yesterday is also doing well. Ivan is asleep but doing well after his second surgery to remove the extensive tuberculosis that was destroying his spine. James is doing much better; he is even able to walk himself to the bathroom. With his straighter spine, he indeed seems a bit taller; we even coax a great big smile from him. Kenneth is also recovering well, and seems to have a better hang of his breathing exercises…
With each patient, we say our goodbyes, and I know I will remember their faces for a long time to come. I hope to myself that I get to see them again one day, that they will all be living their lives to the fullest, and that they will be that much happier.
After we do our rounds, we say goodbye to the staff at the hospital, who have been dedicating so much of their time this week to their patients, learning as much as they could from our teams, in an effort to improve their skills to serve their communities better. As much as our teams had been working all week, the local staff had been the first ones to arrive, and many had left only after we had. The anesthesiologist staff, amongst them Drs. Emmanuel, Joseph and Steven, had all been dedicated to serving their patients all week, along with the anesthesia residents George, Andrew and Sadiq, who had been just as helpful in assisting and learning from the only anesthesiologist of our team, Dr. Lubis. Dr. Marvin Mwesigo had been an integral part of team Sparta, bringing his infectious humor and optimism into the O.R, and teaching us a thing or two about resourcefulness.
We say goodbye to Sister Rose, Prof. Bitariho and Jones, who had been major pillars that had helped hold this whole operation together, coordinating and liaising us with all the patients and ensuring that we were all aware of what was going on with the patients’ care. They had indeed been the brains of the operation on the Ugandan side.
We finish packing up at the hospital; with a sigh of relief and a big sense of accomplishment, we officially pass the reigns to team 2, and leave Mbarara Regional Referral Hospital, hopefully having left our mark.