Always good to get to the end of a busy week. Last Sunday started the week off with a bang. The first e-mail of the morning announced that the flight from Banjul, Gabia had been cancelled and my first resident coming from Gabon would not be in until Monday mid-day.
Crew Emergency: In the early afternoon, one of the crew members presented with shock and obvious blood loss. I was called and an ultrasound exam confirmed free blood in the abdomen. In this city, there are only five trained national surgeons and getting across town to the hospital can take more than an hour. The ship often doesn’t have a general surgeon on board. Praise God that I was here and comfortable with the idea of doing an emergent hysterectomy. The procedure was done with many of the crew gathered in the International lounge, praying for both of us. It went well and she is now back in her cabin recovering satisfactorily.
PAACS Residents: About dusk on Sunday, the two PAACS residents from Kenya arrived after traveling all day and we got them settled into the routine. It was good to see them and they seemed amazed at the size and complexity of the ship. They are writing a brief paragraph to describe their reactions and to include in the next PAACS Bulletin. I look forward to reading what they wrote! Since that time, they have adjusted well and both the maxillofacial surgeon (Gary Parker) and the anesthetist (Annette Frick) have been very complementary of the residents working with them. Poor Philadelphie Dembele has had to work with me. You have to feel sorry for the poor man, but he is already picking up some skills that will stand him in good stead when he returns to Koutiala Hospital in Mali (I erred last week when I said he was from the DRC).
Weekly metrics: This week, I have done 41 procedures in 29 patients. Not bad considering we only did 2 on Wednesday (see next paragraph) and Friday we lost an electrical relay which made us cancel most of the afternoon schedule. The power was too unreliable to proceed until a “fix” was effected. I felt sorry for the two who had been starved all day and then told that they would have to wait until Monday. Next week’s schedule will unfortunately be much lighter than desirable because of a lack of nursing on the ward.
Errata: In the area of “I can’t believe it happened to me”: I had two complications this week from pediatric hernias (acute recurrences, something I have had only two of in my whole career before) and I made a mistake in the SteffeScope last week. I was able to fix the hernias without difficulty and now I will fix my other error. I implied last week that the containers stacked as a fence surrounding our dock were likely full. I have been corrected. “The containers are “mostly” empty.”
Birthday Party – Sean: Sean’s tenth birthday is Monday. This afternoon, he had a birthday party with a Star Wars theme and six of his friends came to celebrate. Micky has spent several days trying to find games suitable for the limited nature of our supplies. Michelle, my daughter, helped with some pictures and sound-bytes that she sent by the internet.
Thank you for your prayers and the support which allows us to be here.
With gratitude to you and our Lord,
Bruce, Micky and Sean