Revolutionizing Spine Care…Changing Lives

Uganda Spine Surgery Misison 2019 – Day 8

Wishful Thinking

August 16, 2019

Day 8


Everyone needed an extra cup of coffee or tea (or both) this morning to get over our surgery-hangover from the night before. Unfortunately, little did we know, we probably should’ve had another one. Today was another doosey.

We started the day as normal—Dr. Kayanja and Dr. Schaffer rounding on our previous patients, me typing furiously to stay up to date on notes and such, the rest of the team setting up for the day. Then we saw a few more patients in clinic, bringing our final total for the week to 108 (not counting those patients that we saw for repeat visits after they went and got new scans.

As we opened for our first case this morning, Dr. Schaffer said, “I feel like today is going to be a good day.” And it did. Everyone was in great spirits and had high energy, even given the challenging day we had yesterday. Our last set of packages that we shipped here had finally arrived, so we had pre-made packs that would make the prepping and operating process so much easier and quicker. And would mean less running around all day for Sherron, who was our superhero this week. So, when Nathaniel said that, I am sure we were all willing it to be true.

Unfortunately, despite our best efforts, this wasn’t really the case today, either. During our first surgery, which was an instrument revision, we had an issue during the opening process. Then, we could not find any tools the right size to remove the caps on the existing screws. Everyone began frantically looking through tool—sterile instruments were rooted through, hardware cabinets were opened, allen wrenches were examined. By the time we found the right size tool to remove the screws, it looked like a Home Depot aisle in the OR!


Many boxes and packs were opened looking for the correct tool.



Dr. Kisitu breaking out the hardware tools, looking for what we needed.


After that surgery, which lasted a while, we had time for one more case. This one wrapped up about 10:00pm, we got packed up and then headed back to the hotel. Tonight is our last night with Team 1 here. In the morning, Teisha, Ashlee, and Dr. Kayanja are leaving and we are sad to see them go, but excited to welcome Team 2 soon!


I have been so grateful for how helpful and supportive everyone is on the team. Even in the midst of crazy cases like the ones yesterday and today, everyone takes the time to explain things to me and teach me something new. And they’re extremely patient when I ask them to repeat themselves, explain things to me, and spell all the words I have never heard before. As just an undergraduate student, coming in I was very worried about how much I would be able to contribute and if my lack of knowledge would hinder everyone’s ability to do their jobs. But thanks to all of my teammates, I have learned so many new things and had so many new experiences that I will cherish! I am glad that I still have over a week left to learn and do even more new things.


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