Hello my friends, long time no talk. I hope each of you are well and doing great! I am happy to say that your favorite Mission team is at it again! Well some of us that is. Mother nature has placed her fingerprints on the beginning of our mission this year as many of our team is delayed in Portland (JFK airport woes) with most arriving on Monday and Tuesday nights. We miss them and wish them safe travels, but still the show must go on.
We have just enough of us to get things rolling tomorrow as our guardian angel has once again helped us out. All of our surgeons and supplies are here and our surgery schedule is bursting at the seams. We borrowed a surgical tech from our St. Louis team, and ran into some PT students and their instructor last night at ILAC. When we asked them if they could provide the PT for our post-op patients until the rest of our team showed up they jumped at the chance.
Shannon and I spent the day yesterday getting supplies over to the hospital and today getting things set up and yep, we are good to go for tomorrow. We have 5 hips and 1 knee scheduled for our 2 rooms and St. Louis has 6 knees in their 2 rooms so we are looking at 12 cases on Day 1. As you can see, our guardian angel has made their presence known and we are set for a good start to our week! The only trouble for tomorrow is that for me it is a holiday as it is Elvis Presley’s birthday and I usually try and take that day off in remembrance of the king of Rock and Roll! I guess this one time I will work on my annual Elvis holiday, for the greater good; what a sacrifice!
We have several new members this year, I will fill you in as they are able to join us. Currently here are our leader and surgeon Paul Duwelius, our other surgeons Mike Vessely and Hans Moller who is making his first trip and already fitting right in! Hans beat me in two games of cribbage last night so I have some work to do to even the score. We have Dr. Brent Graham back providing anesthesia and are looking for Dr. Joe Mahoney to get in tonight at about 11 who will provide anesthesia for our other room. Shannon Coupens, Madeline Vessely, Connor Schwab, Stefano Byer, Hugh Potter, Peter Dowell and I round out the rest of our team for now with the other 13 folks getting in in the next couple of days. I will update you as we go with when they get in and how we are doing! I expect good things as we have about 60 patients already booked for the week!
I did get to see my friend Ramona, she of the evil plantain fame. It was good to see her and true to form she tried to ply me with the nasty plantanos (Mangoo which is mashed and tasteless like kindergarten paste) but I outsmarted her and had mother nature delay everyone so much that all we could do was get ready for surgery and forego the revolting banana’s cousin. Pray that the rest of my week should be so lucky! I did have this sandwich kinda thingy that was bread and some thin meat with green olives cooked into it. It was sort of a cross between spam and peanut butter with some olives thrown in to hold it together. I don’t know what it was, but it did fill a void where some filler was needed. I decided that the best course of action was to just chew and swallow and not ask any questions!
The days have been wet, lots of rain Friday and Saturday with mucho humidity caused by the precipitation. Today was nice as is the outlook for the rest of the week. The hospital is in fine shape. I am sad to say that the autoclaves are still circa 1940 something but are doing their job! The new million-dollar baby still is in use as a towel dryer, I guess I will NEVER understand that one.
It is great to see old friends both from here and the US and make many new ones. I look forward to the week ahead and look forward to letting you all know how we are progressing. We are hopeful to match previous years’ numbers of 60+ cases and we are off to a good start!
Thank you to all of you who support us! We could not be here without you! Thanks especially to our friends, loved ones and spouses who give of themselves to make this happen for us and the people we are here to help. And a HUGE thank you to our corporate sponsors for the millions of dollars we have here in supplies and implants. Our team is not just those of us that are here but all of those on our board and those who have touched this trip in countless ways. All of us here are so appreciative that words cannot express our gratitude. Thank you!
"Movement is life, freedom, and independence."
-Dr. Paul Duwelius, Founder of Freedom to Move