A chance to fix broken smiles...

This experience occurred a few weeks ago, and I am just now taking time to write about it.

It was time for my second rotation at the hospital, and I wasn't sure what to expect. Students who had been on the medical ward with me warned me that the nurse in charge was strict, but I wasn't convinced that was a bad thing. Nonetheless, I walked in to the surgical ward with mixed feelings. I wasn't sure what to expect. As I walked into the ward my heart sank. This ward already felt worse than the medical ward. The paint on the building was peeling and chipping. The doors were so warped they didn't even close. It felt dark, dreary and dismal as I walked inside. "Lord, give me grace," I prayed. I went in search of the nurses' office, and found it unattended. I looked through the wards and found a nurse who told me to sit in the office and wait for the nurse in charge to arrive. A few minutes later the nurse in charge appeared, and I introduced myself. She told me that she needed to go greet some visitors, but that I should come with her. These visitors were doctors and nurses from other parts of Uganda who had come to do a surgical camp at the hospital. Their mission: to fix broken smiles. They were here to do cleft lip and palate repairs.

I greeted the doctors and nurses, and in the process got an invitation to join them for the week! I was astounded! A week in the operating theatre?! I had been praying for God to give me grace for this new experience, but I had no idea that He was going to give me a completely unexpected experience.

The operating theatre resembled an operating room in the USA, but so different. They strive for sterility, but probably really only accomplish cleanliness. I must say, this cleanliness is a huge improvement over the state of the rest of the hospital though. Thankfully, they do put the patients on antibiotics following surgery so hopefully that helps to cut down on post-op infections.

Here is a break down of things that remind me of the USA:
Large, bright operating lights
Adjustable operating tables
Sterile gloves
Masks and hair nets
The smell: a clean, sterile smell

Things I've never seen in an OR in the USA:
The use of normal saline to prep the skin
Cloth drapes
Reusing IV fluids with new IV tubing

Oh I am sure there are more, but memories are fading and I can't remember it all.
What an experience! It was so cool to see them work, to assist them, and to just experience an OR in Uganda from a "non-patient" perspective. I'd do it again, and the Doctors said they'd call me next time they're through to come assist! We'll see :) An added bonus: I got tea (soda and chapati) and lunch everyday for free! Incredible!

About Me

My name is Jenny. I am a sinner that has been redeemed by the blood of Christ, and I want to share the grace and love He has shown me with others. I am a nurse living and working in Uganda, and I am praying that God would make Matthew 5:16 true of my life.
"Let your light shine before men in such a way that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven."
Enjoy snippets from my journey as I step out in faith day after day.