The ever present generator hum mixes with the assorted music in the neighbourhood. The sky is aflutter with the traditional pre Easter kites set against the stunningly orange sunset. Then the team ascends to the roof for our final team meeting although for the Operating Room personnel it is just a break as we have two more cases to do.
There is again a general giddiness to the group as we are winding down our work. The logistics coordinator feels that our trip home could be a little bumpy and she is not referring to the actual flights so we shall see how it goes. It’s an super early morning departure followed by a late night arrival but this time we are shlepping a lot less luggage. Our room mate giggles, loud crazy laughter and silly stories that kept us up late will make us all a little tired as we wander home.
We wound the week down in the Operating Room with the same patient that we started with, which was convenient for me because my Creole and French haven’t improved much in a week and he spoke English. Perhaps though there was something symbolic about this and I will try my best to explain. In orthopaedic trauma there are no win situations and that is a universal truth whether you live in Haiti, Timbutku (and then I got lost in Wikipedia reading about where that is but I’m back now) or Saskatoon. When bad shit happens to people we try to fix them but sometimes, and the reasons vary, it doesn’t work out well. As an Operating Room nurse I ended the week as I started it, the way I do every day that I put on my name tag; with compassion, caring and dignity for my patients. As I stumble along this paragraph I think what I am trying to say is that we wanted to go out in a blaze of glory having definitely fixed someone and altered their life in a positive manner. We didn’t – instead we spent pre and post operative time trying to convince this patient with an infected leg that he needed to have it amputated. He refused, we cleaned it up but we can’t fix it. And perhaps that is the point – we can’t fix them all nor fix their system so we have to just accept that dwe did make a difference.
So now many hours later I am sitting up on the roof top alone late at night trying to clarify my thoughts and make cohesive sentences. It’s not from lack of sleep or too much to drink (ha – who did drink that last beer as it wasn’t me!) that the perspective just won’t come. It is perhaps from a week filled with so many emotions where the outlay of energy, skills and heart that has left me exhausted and yet exhilarated.
And then we packed up and went home. For a week we interacted, to the best of our abilities, with the staff and patients within the medical compound of Bernard Mews Hospital. We leave behind the gift of our time, skills, supplies and quilts. We treated many patients in clinics, ER, ICU and the Operating Room. And as Andrew Furey (Team Broken Earth Founder) says “we aren’t going to change the world, just one patient’s world” and that we did.
We have had such support on social media for our trip and that has helped to keep us going. I personally want to thank everyone for stopping in to read my blog. I can tell from the statistics page that a lot of new readers have dropped in to see how the trip has progressed and I am so pleased at how many of you left me comments about my writing and my commitment to the patient and the page. Yes I stay up too late (Judy) but I made this commitment to myself that I would record my thoughts daily and I have honoured myself in doing this. It’s important to reflect and document my thoughts and it was the only way I was getting any alone time! Tomorrow evenings post may seem ho hum but please check back every once in a while as I do want to do a couple of specific posts about Project Stitches, the prosthesis man and lessons learned from trip.