Still in Liberia

Monrovia Travel Blog

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Kollie's all smiles

Ok, if you are checking the calender, you might be wondering how come I'm still in Liberia.  After all I am supposed to be on a plane right now heading to Brussels, right?  Well, I could say I lost my passport or missed my flight, but the truth is that I am not ready to leave Liberia or the ship yet.  So, after a lot of praying, emailing and phone calls, I am still on the ship and will be coming home on December 23.

Lots of things have been happening this week, surgeries offically ended last Friday, but we still ended up doing 3 cases during the week.  The last 3 patients were transfered out to local hospitals today.  Update on Kollie, we brought him back on Monday and inserted a drain from the large pocket of fluid where the CSF seeps out and collects between his eyes and tunneled it under the skin and allows the fluid to drain into his abdomen.

Making things sea worthy
  During that time we put a tissue plug over the hole, but the area needs to remain dry in order for it to heal and prevent more fluid from leaking.  We brought him back again on Thursday to reposition the drain and today he was sent to a local hospital.  A neurosurgeon is coming in a couple weeks to Monrovia and will be able to assess him then.  So there is good news for our sweet little Kollie.

Our main goal for the week was to pack up the OR and prepare the ship for sailing.  Its easy to forget that this hospital is on a ship and this ship does sail from time to time.  That time is coming up very soon and we'll be heading out of Liberia to Tenerife, part of a group of Spanish islands between Spain and Africa.

Early morning fire drills
  We have to make sure nothing will be rolling around and causing problems.  We bolt the OR beds to the floors in the middle of the rooms and then, using shipping straps, we secure everything to the beds.  We've gotten very creative on how to keep things safe and secure during the 5 days to Tenerife.  Also, in preparation of sailing, our fire drills have changed.  They are now weekly 'at sea' drills.  Meaning that instead of mustering on the dock, we have muster stations on ship where we load the life boats.  This week's drill was early in the morning (9:15 am- ok that may not seem early, but I had only been awake since 9), needless to say I wasn't very awake yet, but ships don't sink at convient times.  Practice makes perfect.

The atmosphere on the ship has been changing.

Anthony & Roselyn disembarking
  As we come closer to leaving we say goodbye to more and more people.  Today was the goodbye party for all the day workers and translators.  We had an African style lunch and then a thankyou program.  It was a time for celebration and a time for sorrow, because it was the last time our day workers would be on the ship.  There were lots of tears and smiles and hugs.  Like I've said in previous posts, we honestly couldn't survive without our translators.  They were a big part of the ship and our mission here. 

Erika went home today.  I said goodbye to her on the dock.  She's excited to be going home, but it'll be wierd not having her here.  This is the first time we haven't been at least 8 minutes apart for over a year.

Goodbye Erika!
  We were inseperable when we met last year on the ship and then she moved 2 miles from me in Denver earlier this year.  Now she'll be a half a world away! 

Tomorrow they are turning off the entire ship.  The engines need to be worked on and they can't do that if the power is on, so they are turning everything off, from electricity to toliets to AC from 7a-7p tomorrow.  If all goes as plan, we'll have power after dark.  So wish us luck and if you don't hear from me, that means we are still in the dark.

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Kollies all smiles
Kollie's all smiles
Making things sea worthy
Making things sea worthy
Early morning fire drills
Early morning fire drills
Anthony & Roselyn disembarking
Anthony & Roselyn disembarking
Goodbye Erika!
Goodbye Erika!
If this was a real emergency...
If this was a real emergency...
Waffle break
Waffle break
Day worker celebration
Day worker celebration
Everything has to be tied down
Everything has to be tied down
The eye beds are secured
The eye beds are secured
Monrovia
photo by: Bluenose