Tell me a story that can top doing surgery when the generator shut off and we have to finish the operation under the light of an iPhone flashlight? Yes, Apple to the rescue in the Operating Room. Then driving against traffic in the morning at a crazy speed and driving back to the hotel in the back of a pickup truck in the dust of Monrovia Broad street!
The day started at a hectic pace. But team spirit is high!
Here we are all smiling for Day Two of the mission.
And by the way, can you tell who is the real Dr. Kondrot and who is the fake Dr. Kondrot? If the shirt is too big, and the pants too long, the title is probably wrong!
Did I say earlier I was going to meditate and get some much-needed peace and quiet in the car on the way to the Hospital before we start the day today? I certainly had no idea what awaits me in Monrovia morning traffic.
The ride to Redemption hospital deserves an honorary mention today.
We got onto the road which is a two lanes highway each way. It quickly becomes a three lanes going our way and one lane going in the opposite direction as a third lane was created going right into oncoming traffic. And we are in that third lane. Ed says to me in a panic:
“Put your seatbelt on honey, quick. This is not looking good.”
Maybe a picture will help here as it is kind of hard to describe.
At one point traffic going our way is so congested a fourth lane appears, meaning all four lanes are now going in our direction while there is still one lane going the opposite direction driving on the shoulder lane or sidewalk! It is completely insane!
Here I am hoping for a few minutes of peace and quiet to meditate and calm my mind down before the start of the day!
I do get to say a prayer, it’s not a prayer for the whole team, it is a very short and compact prayer: “Dear God, just let me arrive in one piece to Redemption Hospital and let me not be my husband’s first case of corneal laceration in Liberia”!
We finally arrive at Redemption Hospital. Our team unloads our bags and boxes to be brought in.
We get our hands sanitized at the main entrance to the hospital
and get a temperature reading.
We pull our bags through the long winding path toward the ophthalmology department.
Our first sight of the main waiting room. Hundreds of patients are waiting in the main room.
There is a hallway leading to the ophthalmology department. There are two benches lined up along the two walls. And another hundred people sitting on those benches waiting. The dimly lit hallway looks like something out of a Madmax movie.
We get to the ophthalmology department which is a small room full of boxes, tables, patient chairs, ophthalmic equipment all crammed packed into one tiny space.
As soon as they see Ed it was a madhouse. A full mob descends on Ed. it was beyond chaotic!
We have to go set up in the operating room.
We arrive at the operating room. They are finishing up a circumcision on a baby. ed told the pediatrician jokingly: I will be next and I promise I won’t cry!
The surgical room is equipped with a surgeon chair. Ed assures me it is very comfortable. I will take his words for it. He actually sits on it all day today to do his eye surgery.
The prep room is in a room next to the operating room. We get to put most of our surgical supplies in that room.
We meet the ophthalmic surgical tech in the ophthalmology department. He told us that there are a number of the eye patients backlog that we can do surgery on. He also said his instruction is to not dilate the patients. He said they told him this doctor has a special method for doing cataract surgery so he is very excited waiting for him to start so he can watch a cataract surgeon doing surgery without dilation for the first time in their life. Much to his disappointment, I told him that is not true: all patients need to be dilated. So we clear that out right off the bat.
We are presented with an iris prolapse case: we have to request general anesthesia for him. The clock is ticking for him. If he does not have it repaired he can have an infection. So we prepare paperwork to get him admitted for surgery. It was no simple task just to let the 4 years old ready for surgery as there is no anesthetist on site who is willing to give him general anesthesia.
By noontime we realize a terrible thing: We have lost or misplaced the lens implant box!!! No lens implants, no cataract surgery! we look through all the supplies boxes and turn them all upside down and inside out. We can not find the box of lens implants.
All the supplies boxes were unloaded from the Cadillac to the hotel room 109 at night. And in the morning all the supplies boxes and bags are loaded onto the car again in the morning. Just for security reason, we don’t So where
We call the hotel to look for us
Scrambling time, this is so insane!
We find the driver of the cars and ask them to go out and check in the cars. The lens implants are not there! Oh no!
We call the hotel front desk and ask them to go into room 107 and look for the box.
They found the box in the hotel room. The clerk is opening up the box. She says yes it says SEE on the outside. Inside there are white boxes. What does it say? iPhone something. Yes, we have a box of 50 iPhones! It’s IOL
The inevitable has happened today. Both ed and I are having a mild case of the run. Which means we are running to the bathroom often and the runs also become more frequent as the day goes on.
And here is our best friend for today. The Operating Room bathroom right outside the operating room.
The lens implant box arrives finally! Yeah! We can begin now!
Surgical tools are set up, a surgical table is ready.
It is now 2:30 PM. We are still waiting for the patient to get to the operating room.
Things move so slowly here. It is hot and sweaty for all of us.
The first patient is here
By 4:30 pm the light in the operating room is out. The big generator is now off. The small generator on. The light is dim. We finish up with a flashlight from somebody’s iPhone in the operating room. it’s so unreal!
The first patient finished!
Second patient. Lucy here with the surgeon.
We need to have the OR cleaned up. Resting between the second and third patient, we watch a mouse running between the recovery beds.
6:30 PM we want to start the third patient as we wait for the patient to get to the operating room. We told the staff we can do two more patients before we go home. We wait for a while and no patient comes. We come out to check on what is happening and we are told that all the patients were sent home. The small generator is running but it can shut off any time now and they don’t want that to happen in the middle of a surgery!
We all pull out and get into our car to drive back to the hotel.
We get a car situation. We are down one car so we have one truck full of team members in the back of the truck for a one hour ride in traffic and dust back to the hotel.
Back to the hotel, 9 PM.
Dinner with palm sugar chicken and white rice and to bed at last!
Give us your email address below and we will keep you updated on all new posts!