Half of our team got up for the 5am run with our local running buddy, Joshua. The streets were quiet on this particular morning. The people of the city were just crawling into bed from the previous nights' celebration of the end of Ramadan(??).
We arrived at the hospital excited for another day of surgery and the challenges we would face. As we walked into the theatre we all noticed and eagerly waved hi to our first patient, Ninha. She looked the same as she did when we all first met her in clinic.. Beaming from ear to ear, curious and shy at the same time. Just the cutest.
So much of spine surgery is algorithmic. Check the films, check the labs, check the levels, confirm the indications. Double check, triple check... Patients put their lives into the physicians hands and our team began this day realizing this privilege. The privilege begins as an opportunity to change people's lives, increase awareness of the possibilities in Ugandan hospitals and to spark innovation and change for the future here in Uganda.
A complex operation ensued. The operation itself and the correction of Ninha's scoliosis went off without a hitch.
She then developed a complication.
All Nihna wanted was "to be better"
The day speaks to the layers and layers of things we have at home in North America. We are so fortunate to be blessed with the care we all have. We take the type of healthcare we have at home for granted. This experience was both humbling and eye opening and crystallized the conditions by which the people of Uganda are forced to live.
Life is short and very precious. Despite the best surgical care in the world it's earth shattering to imagine that something like this could happen to an 11 year old little girl.