Monday, January 31, 2011
The travel agent is patiently checking every hour. All flights are still posted as departing on-time, so none of us can change....we are all praying and thinking good thoughts--hope the huge storm will miss us, but do not think that is going to happen. But there is nothing we can do except be flexible and know it will all work out.
Sunday, January 30, 2011
Team Heart: The February Snow Goddess is still hovering. For many of you watching, there is a winter storm watch for Boston Tuesday later in day and Wednesday. We are watching it closely and have our travel agent on alert. Please check back for updates.
faith, there is land without snow and shovelling!!! We left
Boston pre dawn on Friday. Taxi came to my neighborhood but I
couldnt lift suitcases over the sidewalk mounds . Eventually made
our way on first leg of flight to DC and yes, it was snowing again
- small remnants of the previous stom that delayed all of the
flights by 1 day. Twelve assorted flight hrs to Ethiopia on
leg 2. Addis is olive green and filled with brown rolling hills.
We also had a bonus leg for our jourmey rerouted next to
Nairobi because we hadn't seen enough tarmac! Kind King Faisal
hospital people met us ouside Kigali customs after hour 26 of travel .
We are busy tonight at the guest house reviewing many case
clips and details from Dr. Joseph M. Also time for renewing
friendhips with our house hostess, Betty . We met Dr Michael
Koo fomm Yale, a 4th year who is going to help us a bit
during his time here.
Saturday, January 29, 2011
Today: packing and repacking. I'm trying to keep Ceeya's words of wisdom in mind: "pack your bags and then remove half of everything". Yikes!! Very excited and nerves are now kicking in as well. Can't wait to get going! Diane
Friday, January 28, 2011
We are busy on many fronts, Dr. Pat and Marilyn, our pre-screening team, currently, sitting in DC waiting to take off via Addis for Kigali. Pat received a list of some 40 names last evening from Joseph (our colleague liaison, one of the only 4 cardiologist in Rwanda) of the candidates she will begin to evaluate on her arrival. Pat, in consultation with the Team Heart cardiac surgeons, Prem and Chip, discussed the priority of evaluation and selecting those candidates to begin our theater schedule (that is OR to those of us in US). Both surgeons feel so totally comfortable with Pat making this decision--after all; this is how their practice works here. She is a terrific referral cardiologist, her work-ups are thorough and with sonographer Marilyn at her side, the studies will be as complete as we are used to having here. Taufiek, our surgical resident assigned to help with pre-op screening will arrive just in time to complete the surgical paper work required, double check all the labs, make sure blood bank is ready and begin to do the pre-op teaching preparation. Each person meeting the patients after selection contributes to patient education. Having the patient understand the procedure they are going to have done and how they can participate in their recovery is incredibly important. Suellen will address this aspect later, right Suellen?
Thursday, January 27, 2011
Wednesday, January 26, 2011
Wow it doesn't seem like it's time to go back to Rwanda for my second trip, but I leave one week from today. This time next week I will be on my way to Brussels and then on to Rwanda. I'm excited for all the great and life changing things we have in store for us and our patients. And also excited for the warmer weather! While it isn't as cold in Durham, NC as it is in Boston, it is still a lot colder than Rwanda!
Tuesday, January 25, 2011
Woo Hoo - finally
I have sent out an e- mail to the people I work with asking for clothes donation and money for matresses for the orphanage, so people are responding and I am hopping we can the kids plenty of clothes and the matresses they need.
Time is flying buy as we enter the last stretch before leaving to Rwanda.
Hello to all of you sharing this journey to Rwanda for our fourth trip to provide cardiac surgical procedures for adolescent and young adults suffering from rheumatic heart disease. We have all been incredibly busy on both state side and with our counterparts in Rwanda. I hope each team member will share their role, their preparation for this trip and their experience in many posts through out the next few weeks, so you can get to know each person.
Our cardiology team prepares to depart Thursday--if east coast snowstorm allows. Forms for patient assessment, echo studies and documents are flying back and forth. There is so much to gather for final bags to carry with us--and this is after shipping 6 pallets over 1200 kg of supplies for the operating theater, ICU and step-down.
I will be returning for my 9th trip to Rwanda. Although an ICU nurse by background, I am the program coordinator. I watched the shipment drive off with final paperwork, (Thank you to shipping partner FedEx) but the entire team sweats the arrival and receiving with customs. Every item is critical to the success and many of our vendors have donated the supplies needed. At this point we have shipped over $100,000 worth of supplies, with more than $225,000 of supplies traveling with us in loaned equipment from Brigham and Women's Hospital and other area hospitals.
I feel our colleagues at King Faisal Hospital have become friends and I have enormous respect for their contribution and organization-- and I look forward to you coming to know each of them on this site, as we hope they too will post their experiences and preparations.
What we do, and the impact, as we save one life at a time, hit home this morning as I received an email from the husband of one patient we saw in November of 2009. Critically ill, she could not lie down for her echo-she would have suffocated. Mother of two, a college graduate, she would die if she had to wait for our team to arrive in April of 2010. We referred her on to HHNW in February for a valve replacement. She had a prolonged recuperation due to her level of illness, but has just returned to work at the University.
Another patient many of you know from following our team, begins his second semester at an engineering program in India. And Erneste, had better be studying mathematics since he has national exams coming up, but is doing very well. Young Miss Claudine will soon travel to the US with PIH as an ambassador to show conference attendees the impact cardiac surgery can have in a resource poor setting -- saving one life at a time. None of these patients would have survived, had surgery not been an option. And the same is true for those waiting on us to arrive with our equipment and supplies.
We are incredibly honored and humbled by the trust placed in our team by the people of Rwanda. But our team is an amazing group of the most talented individuals selected for both their expertise and their commitment to give back and-- to do it as a team. It is not about one person-
I hope you enjoy following our trip. And thank you for your support.