Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Day Five! Operating Day! Rotary International VTT 2014 - Kampala, Uganda

{This is a series in posts about our trip to Uganda for the Riley/Rotary Vocational Training Team. To start at the beginning, go to this post. I am running about a day behind on my posts. Check out the team blog at rileyinternationalheartmissions.wordpress.com. If you visit the team blog, please leave a comment! The team loves to hear your encouraging words!}

Can I just say how nice everyone is in Uganda? The friendliest people I have ever encountered on my travels! Hugs and handshakes and always a smile! I just had to mention that because it is so encouraging and pleasant. Everywhere we go and everyone we see!

Today was the first operating day. We started early and left the hotel at 7AM with a goal of the first patient’s incision at 9.

Patience is their first patient and is 6 years old from Gulu. This is in Northern Uganda and a war torn region. We have heard from several people here that they are so happy that we selected a child from that area. She was already back in the prep room when we got there and was very scared. She does not speak English which has to be harder. Patience's dad, Tony, looks on...

Sheila carried her back to the OR around 8AM which was great timing and right on track for their goal. (I have a video of this too but will have to wait for a better signal!)

Steph and I changed into scrubs (my first time!) and hats. These are the scrub hats we ordered and had screen printed with both Rotary’s logo and Gift of Life International. They look great and everyone loves them!

Then, it was into the ER we went. What an experience! I still had my camera in reverse mode so I decided to snap a picture anyway.

They made the first incision at 9:10AM! This is a great improvement over previous trips. Here are a few photos of the procedure. I watched a lot from the monitor and really was just amazed. I asked about a million questions and could have asked a million more I think.

Dr. Turrentine observing... 

Look at their team! 

The UHI scrub nurses preparing...

The Riley scrub nurses observing...

This is the monitor by which I watched the surgeries. 

I have mentioned before that this is the 5th trip for the Riley team. Obviously, I was not here on the previous trips, but by reading the blog and just hearsay, it is clear that things have come a long way. There were times where only UHI doctors and nurses were scrubbed in! This is a training mission so this is a big deal. In fact, Dr. Turrentine, the Riley surgeon, did not scrub in AT ALL on this first case! This is only the second time in the 5 years this has happened. Major progress!

This is a photo out the window in the hallway of the hospital. The OR, ICU and ward (where the kids and parents stay before and after surgery – more about that later) are all located in a square. The new operating room is in the two-story building and the old part of the hospital is the building on the right.

Sheila made Build-A-Bears for all the kids! How cute!

Rob, with Gift of Life International, arrived on the scene with Grace.

I did a lot of back and forth and a lot of watching. Patience came back to the ICU. Everyone seemed very pleased with how well everything went! And, her parents seemed so relieved to see her. After a little while, she was introduced to her bag of goodies brought all the way from Indiana!

Meanwhile, I ran back to the hotel for a computer donated to a nurse, Harriet. Harriet is a nurse at an HIV clinic that she travels almost two hours to every Monday and stays through Friday every week. Her six year old daughter, Esther, came along and fast became my friend. She grabbed my hand in the parking lot and snuggled into my arm. She didn’t let go until we got back to the car. So sweet!

I went down with Rania to get Barbra for her operation. Barbra was so ready! Her big smile said it all! Barbra’s mom was not so excited though. I can’t imagine how hard it would be to send my kids back with strangers for such a big operations.

I also went with Steph to screen Frederick for tomorrow’s surgery. He’s a shy one but very cute. And, his parents were all smiles. These moms and dads are all so grateful for this opportunity for surgery here. Surgery can cost between $5,000 and $10,000 here and is just unattainable for some without sponsorship. According to Grace, there are likely over 1000 kids on the list waiting for surgery who cannot afford it. The government is working toward funding but currently, there is not much of a system for it. Heartbreaking. 

Steph and I were aware of a Rotary meeting on Monday evening, and at the last minute, (which with traffic is actually an hour in advance for a meeting 2 miles away!) we realized we didn’t have a ride. Just when I was looking up how to walk there, I looked up and saw a man at the nurses’ station in a suit with what looked like a Rotary pin. Steph tracked him down and he was a member of the Kampala-North club checking on the kids! Rotarian Sam was so kind and drove us to the meeting and back to the hotel afterward. And, I’m so glad that he did. What looked like a straight road trip was definitely not as easy as it looked!

Here I am riding with Rotarian Sam...

This was a special meeting in which the Monday clubs in the area (6!) got together for fellowship. The meetings here are so much more formal than we’re used to but very lively just like ours! They celebrate birthdays with a big cake cutting ceremony. We estimated between 150 and 200 Rotarians in one room! And, I met more of the people who I had emailed – this time President Jane of Kampala-North. So glad we were able to do that. Rotarian Sam said that usually, they hang out until 10 or 11PM on those nights! Steph and I headed back to the hotel around 7:30 though so we could meet the team coming back.

Our knight in a shining Rotary pin. Wear your pins people! (Man, I look tired in this picture!) 

The six Kampala Monday Club Presidents...

After a late dinner and some blogging, I was just about beat and fell right to sleep around 11. Big plans for exercising tomorrow morning! J

1 comment:

  1. Sara! So proud of you and Stephanie and the entire Rotary Group! I am so glad to have your blogs to follow along! Take care!!!!! Peggy