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Monrovia Travel Blog

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Cleaning up the mess

Well another week of fun and excitement has come and gone, as the old cliche says: time flies when you are having fun.  So what has happened since Sunday... lets see.   (just to warn you, I'll talk about some surgeries, not in detail, but there will be some pictures)

Well, the funny moment was that on Monday we almost flooded the ship.  So here's the story, those from work will think this is as funny I as did!  So every week we have to terminally clean all our rooms, there's no specific day, just whenever we can fit it in.  Terminally cleaning means wiping the walls, ceiling and all the equipment with bleach water.   I was in the middle of setting up for a really long case, so I was sterile, but we heard a loud HELP! from down the hall and everyone went running thinking someone was dying or something.

Trying to dry out decontam
  Well they were terminally cleaning the decontam room (the room where they wash all the gross bloody instruments before they wrap them and resterilize them)  when, by accident, they hit the sprinkler head and caused the sprinkler to turn on!  Water was pouring into the room at 60 gallons a minute (the average showerhead is 3 gallons/minute), not only that, but after the first 300 gallons it switches over to sea water.  So here is the entire OR down in decontam, everyone with their pants rolled up, with trash cans, kick buckets, rags trying to keep the water from spreading.  We had to overhead page people to come turn off our sprinklers.  We had it under control very quickly and once the washers were checked to make sure the water didn't harm them, we were running business as usual.
50 yo man with no nose
  The girl who had hit the sprinkler took it with grace and when she lead worship on Thursday she thanked everyone for all the help.  We still tease her about trying to sink the ship though.

Let's see, had 2 nurses and 1 surgeon leave this week.  Jenny and Merryl, both from Austrailia left this week and Dr. Tertius, our plastics surgeon from South Africa, left today.  We were a crazy bunch this week, I think we all got along too well.  Lots of dancing and singing going on.  We've had a lot of Aussies and Kiwis in the OR this year, so in honor of those leaving we watched the movie, The Castle.  Hilarious.  Think Napolean Dynomite, only way funnier! 

Our evenings are filled with fellowship.

His new nose- notice the flap of hair between his eyes
  We spend time out on the dock, the only time of day that its not unbarebly hot, when its not raining.  Sometimes we eat out there, most times we watch the sunset and the ships coming and going or we 'walk the dock'.  Its a mile to walk down to the second gate and back to the end of the dock, so there are a lot of people out after work.  I think I'm up to 3 miles now.  Thursday night is volleyball night.  The UN camp is right down the road from us and they allow us to come over and use their soccer field and volleyball court.  Its a lot of fun, sometimes its Mercy Ships vs the UN.  Games are a big part of our nights too.  Learned a couple of new games this week, Palace and Killer Uno (like regular Uno, only more slapping and random card passing).
Walk Like an Eypgtian was the song of the week
  We get a large group together, add some communial food and pretty soon no one can hear over all the laughter.  Tonight, we played Killer Uno for about 4 hours, we kept saying this game would be the last one, but then more people would show up or that hand was too short, etc.  Things get a little crazy around here sometimes. 

We do do some serious things too around here.  Wednesday, we had a baby born on ship.  I wasn't there, but I heard all about it in the morning (there are no secrets on a ship).  From what I heard it was a mother of a patient, she told the ward she was only 8 months pregnant, but that night she was complaining of back pain.  She was convinced she wasn't in labor, so they gave her tylenol and she went back to bed.

Playing Palace
  Then her water broke and by the time the midwife (we had a nurse on board who is a midwife) she was crowning.  Mercy was born at 0400 Wednesday morning.   

Surgeries are going well, I was doing face surgeries all week- people with some sort of deformatity- like a cleft lip/palate or tumor.  The one I did yesterday was a long case, I had 3 surgeons, 6 pans and only one overhead light.  Two surgeons fended for themselves gathering the bone from the patient's hip to be cut and placed around his metal plate that had replaced his jaw early this year.  I helped Dr Gary at the face, dissecting down and then tying the bone to the plate.  Its really interesting, in about 3 months time the bone graft will have fussed together into one bone incorporating the metal plate, all the lumps will be gone and if the patient could afford dentures he'll look very normal.

Saying goodbye to Jenny

Another interesting case was a 50 year old man who had lost his nose to noma when he was 2. (noma is caused by bacteria that lives in your nose and when your immune system is compromised it literally melts the skin off your face, its 90% fatal)  We created a new nose for him by taking a flap of skin from his scalp, turning it around and making it into a nose.  In 3 weeks, we'll bring him back, cut the blood vessels that are feeding the flap and put his scalp back.  It sounds complicated and gross and it is, but its really cool!  He has a nose for the first time in 48 years!   

So thats my update.

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Cleaning up the mess
Cleaning up the mess
Trying to dry out decontam
Trying to dry out decontam
50 yo man with no nose
50 yo man with no nose
His new nose- notice the flap of h…
His new nose- notice the flap of …
Walk Like an Eypgtian was the song…
Walk Like an Eypgtian was the son…
Playing Palace
Playing Palace
Saying goodbye to Jenny
Saying goodbye to Jenny
Saying goodbye, OR style
Saying goodbye, OR style
Volleyball
Volleyball
Monrovia
photo by: Bluenose