August 21, 2019
This morning was running for some, sleeping for others, and breakfast for all. No over-sleepers like yesterday (*cough* Dr. Gorlick *cough*)! We loaded the bus shortly after 7:00am and headed to the hospital. Dr. Lieberman went immediately over to the medical school to give another short lecture to the med students. He talked about all different kinds of spinal conditions—from scoliosis to stenosis to spondylolisthesis and lots of things in between. The students were very engaged in the lecture and loved having him.
Meanwhile, back at the hospital, we started our work. We had 4 cases planned today, 2 in each operating room, that would run simultaneously. One case was able to start around 8:30am, an L4-5 decompression done by Dr. Hisey and Dr. Kisitu. The other case, an I&D of one of our post-operative patients whose incision site was draining a little more than we would have liked it to, was able to start around 9:00am, when Dr. Schaffer and I returned from rounding on our patients.
Dr. Hisey’s case got off to a slow start because the suction was not working properly. After some tinkering, our neuromonitoring technician-turned-engineer, Kari, saved the day and MacGyvered her way to a solution. After that, the case was able to continue on smoothly.
Kari being resourceful and fixing our suction machine so that we could continue on with the operation that was in progress.
We finished up our four cases around 5pm and decided to try out the restaurant at a new hotel we had driven past earlier in the week called the Hotel Triangle Mbarara. Though the food took a long time (over 3 and a half hours once we finally finished), it was amazing. Dr. Lieberman’s face in the following pictures shows the satisfaction we all felt after that meal. It is definitely going on the list of places to eat dinner in the future!
Before: Looking lovingly at his meal.
During: Dissected the spine with perfect precision.
After: Triumphant, yet slightly jaded by the task.
While we were waiting for dinner, we all went around the table and told what our “Lesson of the Day.” We also got our “Quote of the Day” out of that discussion. While in the past our quotes have been very humorous, this one was very inspiration and thoughtful! When talking about how quickly plans change when you are here due to unforeseen problems or lack of resources, Dr. Benton said, “Failure to adapt is the easiest way to fail.” We all thought this was beautifully said and was applicable both to our work here and at home. Sometimes, despite your best efforts, things just do not go how you wanted them to or how you expected them to. If you do not adapt, altering your plans to meet the changing demands of the case, you risk making mistakes or missing out on a better way to do things. This is definitely an essential thing to hang on to in Africa—as surprises seem to hang around every corner.