At the end of the day today, I asked one of our Ghanaian colleagues how his day went and he replied, “It was so wonderful”. I agree with him.
The three theatres ran extremely smoothly and Dr. Karen reported that all of the children who had surgeries yesterday, including the boy who had the anaphylactic reaction, returned to their villages. She gave a big shout out to our Recovery Room team of Becky and Lee-Anne whose small recovery room contains one stretcher, one mattress on the floor and one reclining chair.
One of today’s patients has been a peanut farmer all his life but had never tasted peanut butter as he could not afford to use his income-generating peanuts for this delicacy. It just so happened that peanut butter sandwiches were on the surgical team’s lunch menu, so of course, they offered one to him.
This week, 148 surgeries have been performed by this amazing team. The crowd in Asantekwa was massive, but our approach did not change — give your best to one patient at a time. Everyone had a “let’s do this” attitude and in the end, we didn’t have to turn away anyone who needed care. At one point this afternoon, I simply needed to clear my head and get a breath of air. I walked out to the porch and must have been away from my desk for no more than two minutes when an NEA staff member named Collins tapped me on the shoulder, “Dr. Jennifer, it is now time for you to go back to your desk.” Yes, Collins!
At about 4:30 pm, I heard Dr. Carlye across the room say, “My brain is starting to shut down”. I think we all could have echoed that sentiment due to the intensity of our task today. In the midst of the hard work from all stations, there was much laughter and camaraderie, especially during Uber Hour, which I will explain another time.
As usual, the compound kids were cheering for us as we arrived back and Patience and the hospitality team, who start their day at 4:00 am, had prepared a feast. Tomato soup with homemade croutons, beef stew over rice, salad, yam balls and fresh pineapple was thoroughly enjoyed by all. Everything we eat is grown or raised right here on the compound and is absolutely delicious.
Kim advised me this evening that our medical, dental, eye, laser and surgical teams have provided cared for 3,387 patients so far. Our leadership team all had high expectations for this mission, but honestly, this team is blowing our expectations out of the water on so many levels. It has not been easy and there have been many challenges, but we have fought through them and grown from them. We didn’t know how we would do it without our colleagues Ashley, Sue, Joan and Tracey, but they prepared and equipped us so very well.
Now it is time to rest. We will take the weekend off, and NEA and our team social convenor Leslie have some activities planned so that we can refuel and recharge our batteries for what will be a big second week for sure.
Dr. Jennifer Wilson, MD, CCFP(EM), FCFP, DIMPH