It’s Go Time!
August 13, 2019
We started the day today with another 6:00am wakeup call, at breakfast by 6:30am. I would say we definitely loaded up for our first day of surgery; French toast, bread, marble cake, potatoes, eggs, we ate it all. We loaded up on the bus at 7:30am with the goal of starting surgery at 8:00am. The patient prepping process was running behind, so Dr. Kayanja, Dr. Schaffer, and I used this time to see some more patients in the clinic that we had not been able to get to yesterday. Since we saw 61 out of the 100 yesterday, that means we have 39 left to squeeze in wherever we can. Between our time in the clinic in the morning and our time seeing clinic patients in between surgery, we managed to get about 20 of these patients seen. Less than 20 left (as of now)!
By about 9:30am it was time to get surgery started. We had a big crowd of local nurses and doctors watching every aspect of the surgery—from the surgery itself to the neuromonitoring to the anesthesia. At one point, we counted 18 people in the room!
Our busy room during our first surgery.
Everyone wanted in on the action!
We did three surgeries today: one decompression and fusion to treat a fracture, one decompression to treat lumbar stenosis, and one PSF (posterior spinal fusion) to treat another fracture.
Drs. Kayanja and Schaffer working on a fusion and
decompression for our first patient of the day.
One thing I really loved about today, aside from seeing surgeries and cases I had never gotten to see before, was seeing the adaptability of the physicians and other team members and how well they dealt with the changes that arose today. First, Drs. Kayanja and Schaffer responded so well to the surgeries being postponed, seeing it as a perfect opportunity to see even more patients. Also, due to some delays, we ended up having to move a fourth case that we had planned for today to tomorrow. This change was taken in stride and we are all excited to work hard tomorrow to do the FIVE procedures we have planned. Also, during our last procedure, we lost power. Everyone kept on working, with the aid of multiple head lamps and flashlights. All of the changes and unexpected things that popped up today were handled so well, which is the reason these trips run so well. It wouldn’t be the Uganda Spine Surgery Mission without some unexpected changes and redirections!
When the lights go out in the OR, we make it work!
We finished up the final surgery around 10:00pm—meaning that we were at the hospital for over 14 hours today! Tired and hungry (not sure which of these we were more of), we headed back to the hotel for a late dinner and some discussion about clinic cases and surgical cases for tomorrow. We are looking forward to our even longer day tomorrow! The impact on the patients’ lives is worth all the tiredness and hunger.