Sunday, March 3, 2013

Planes, trains, automobiles... and boats!

It's hard to believe that I have been back from Uganda for two weeks now!  It has been a packed two weeks.  I guess my time off was when I was in Africa!  It was the perfect mix of working hard and having enough downtime to breathe.  At least when I had downtime, it was my own... obviously not the case when I am at home! 

The last few days of our mission were quite busy, including a patient who had to go back to the OR emergently... he kept us on our toes.  We finished surgeries on Friday and another nurse and I spent most of the day wrapping things up at the hospital on Saturday.  Friday night a few of us had a blast at a small nightclub near the hotel.  That'll make you feel like a white girl, dancing in a club in Africa!  After enough Niles, though, this white girl didn't really care!  It was hard to leave the hospital on Saturday afternoon.  There were still a couple of patients in the ICU (although they were stable).  There were still lines and chest tubes that would need to be pulled and vital signs that needed monitored.  I know that the Ugandan nurses are good, but it was difficult leaving the patients that we put in those beds knowing that they wouldn't be followed by our team.  One of my favorite patients, a sweet boy named Innocent, still felt pretty awful.  I just wanted to see him smile and know that he was doing better.  I did take comfort knowing that one of the physicians from UVA was staying a little while longer and would be checking in the patients.  This physician, Joel, will be finishing his fellowship this summer and then taking his family to Kampala, Uganda to continue this work at Mulago Hospital.  Pretty stinkin' cool!  You can check out their blog here. They are not just moving to this country to work full time, but they have to raise half of the cost to do it... now that's dedication! Go Joel!  Anyway, happily Joel got a few pics of our sweet kiddos.

Samaritan's Purse hosted a lovely dinner Saturday evening for us.  It's always nice to sit down with your team members outside of a clinical setting (some of the Ugandan team joined us) and really get to know them.  I fully intended to get back to the hotel, pack up, into bed early and get a good night's sleep.  Regardless, the call of a Nile beer and the good company of a few other nurses lulled me away from packing!  The whole medical team that traveled to Africa was great.  Everyone was fairly laid back, fun, very competent.  I feel very blessed not only to have been part of the work that was done there, but to have had the opportunity to meet and spent time with all of these awesome people!  Some picture parties and wine tours were planned... here's to hoping that they happen!

*As a side note to my previous entries, I did find out from two sources that the company that runs the 4 wheeler business that we toured on help out with the homes in that community.  I was told that they assist with the kids school fees and supplies.  That made me feel a little better.  Additionally, a nurse from Mulago Hospital did tell me that if a family cannot pay, Mulago is the only hospital in the region that will provide patient care regardless. 

Our last day in Africa was packed full!  We got up early to go to a chimpanzee sanctuary on an island.  They are truly amazing creatures and so much like us (or we are like them).  Our flight was leaving late so I went over to the local gym to get a massage.  I was a little worried as it was described as a "sensuous massage" but another nurse swore it was kosher.  Not so great as far as massages go, but no funny business, and only $13, so I can't complain!  We flew out of Entebbee at 11:30pm and got to Amsterdam around 6am.  A few of us braved the cold (fyi, airline blankets do a pretty good job passing off for pashminas) to tour Amsterdam and eat at a fabulous little cafe.  In case you ever visit Amsterdam, don't ask for the nearest "coffeeshop" unless you're planning to get stoned!  Otherwise, ask for a cafe!  I had intended to stay awake for the flight to the US.  However, I closed my eyes for a minute and then woke up and wondered why they were serving food since we hadn't taken off.  Apparently I slept right through take-off! After we arrived in the US I had to drive another three hours home.

By the time I got home at 7pm I posted this to my facebook wall: I rolled out of bed 42 hours ago. In that time I visited a chimpanzee sanctuary in Uganda, toured around Amsterdam, spent 2 hours on a boat, 5 hours driving, 15 hours on a plane, and an hour on a train. I have never been so happy to kiss my kids and husband and see my bed! Thank you for all of your well wishes and prayers. It's been an awesome 12 days! 

The hardest part by far was being away from my girls and Brad for so long.  I only talked / skyped with them for a total of 15 minutes or so the whole time that I was gone.  I am so thankful to my husband for urging me to go on this trip, despite my protests of finding childcare and making arrangements, as well as thanks my parents, Brad's dad and stepmom, and my friends Sara, Megan, and Heather (and their families) for taking on my children while I was gone.  I couldn't have done it without all of you.  It warmed my heart to know that my kids were having fun and being loved while I was gone!  You have my heartfelt thanks!

I'm completely slacking on the photos, because real life has taken over since I've gotten home and let's be honest, blogger is sucking on the picture front right now!  However, if you really want to see how hard we worked in Uganda you can check out our mascot on this facebook page: Kermit does Uganda!  Real pictures to follow someday!

1 comment:

  1. Thanks so much for linking to our blog! That was super sweet of you! I was checking our blog details and saw we had a few hits that came from this site, so I came over to see what and who it was :) I'm super late in noticing, but very appreciative! -Joel and Kristy