I sat around Saturday at Villa Francesca feeling frustrated and defeated, and annoyed that I couldn’t be helping as much as I should be. I mean, this is Haiti after all! I came here with a skill, people at St Luke’s knew I was coming, and yet things were essentially a giant dead end cluster.
And then something magical happened. I can imagine it is much like discovering an oasis in the desert. A whole new team of people arrived from the United States. And everything changed.
An ER physician and an anesthesiologist from Indiana. A general surgeon, a vascular surgeon, and an urologist from the Mayo Clinic in Arizona. Critical care, long term care, and outpatient urology clinic nurses from Mayo Clinic in Arizona. They arrived, with large suitcases filled with supplies, and were eager to get to work. We marched over to the hospital, barged into the surgical suite, and began to organize what would become our supply area for the week. The urology team went off to set up their clinic, and the rest of us inspected what was available and what would be needed.
The “team” brought with them such enthusiasm that was quite frankly – infectious. We figured out how and where we would patients would be held pre-op, where all the IV start sets were, where patients would go post-operatively. The ED doc (Donny) and the anesthesiologist (Art) got to work on the anesthesia machine, getting together supplies and medicines to perform spinal blocks, and gathering endotracheal tubes for general anesthesia. The general surgeon (Alyssa), the vascular surgeon (Jim) and I made quick work of what was in the OR and what the team had brought with them for supplies. Sutures, drapes, sponges, instrument kits, prep kits… organized and arranged quickly and orderly.
We accomplished together what I would never have been able to do by myself. And I felt that in the end, the day had not been all together wasted. We arrived at Villa Francesca to a feast of pasta. It turned out the urology team had finished early, went to the market to shop, and started on dinner while we were organizing in the OR. I guess sometimes life really does hand you some lemons… and you need some helping hands to make lemonade.