Arrangements were made for a gynecologist from Dar es Salaam to join the team for our second week of work. Dr. Harold arrived Monday at noon and his consults began with four women that were waiting for his arrival. The following day was our busiest day yet and both doctors rotated between surgery and patient consults.
By mid-day on Tuesday, our surgery schedule for the rest of our stay was completely booked. And there was a big reason to be thankful for Bill’s talents with mechanical repairs. We lost power for a brief time at noon and decided it was a perfect time for our lunch break. By the time we had returned, power was normal. Doug began his third procedure early in the afternoon but midway through the surgery the hospital lost power for the second time. That meant Doug had a patient on the table with an open wound and was working without lights or cautery. One of Bill’s first jobs after the autoclave was the repair of two emergency battery operated lights. As soon as the hospital went dark, Bill grabbed the lights and took them to the operating room where Doug was able to finish the surgery with the help of Bill’s repaired lights.
Because of the power outages, Doug postponed Tuesday’s last surgery to Wednesday morning. The surgery schedule was already at the max, so the team arrived an hour and a half earlier to get a head start on the full day. Dr. Harold had his first surgery with this team and asked Doug to scrub in with him. The patient was a young woman who was 3 months pregnant and a large ovarian cyst was removed. It was amazing to see her full, round uterus resting on her belly while the two doctors successfully removed the diseased ovary, after which they replaced her uterus and closed the wound. Both doctors say that the prognosis for a successful pregnancy is excellent. Praise God!
The other half of our team has continued to work in Lugoba the past two days, helping to educate the school children, parents and adults of the village about their health and the benefits of preventative medicine. Tanzania has a culture of reactive medicine and many people see a doctor for the first time when they are in the middle of a health crisis. One of the strategic goals of the Morogoro diocese is to change that and our team is blessed to be a part of making that happen.
We are looking forward to dinner at a local restaurant tonight and Barbara and Dr. Harold are joining the team at “The Oasis.” We will be celebrating with Elise (birthday) and Bill and Sophia (anniversary.) That will make for a late evening but we enjoy the change in dinner fare and the chance to socialize together as a team.
Thursday is our last day of work and the village people are becoming hospital crew! While part of the team will be working as support for the doctors, the rest of the team will be doing public health screening at Mazimbu. We expect a very busy day.
Since our work will be completed, Friday morning we head to Mikumi National Park for safari and arrive at sunrise. It might be possible to post pictures before we leave, but there won’t be a chance to write another blog. Packing and final farewells must be completed by late Saturday morning, when we start our long journey home. Our time here has been a blessing and many team members are already talking about returning next year.