Wednesday, October 27, 2010

"You are Important Surgeon Now"

I leave Sunday for Belize and another adventure, but before I go, I need to wrap up the Mongolia story. I have put it away for awhile - worked at my 'real' job, and enjoyed being home with Beau. I hear from my new friends often, will be planning a trip to Utah to ski this season, and regularly recall the lessons I learned in Mongolia.

Dr. Ray Price left Mongolia on Wednesday of the second week. I was not aware that the same day, our medical translator would be leaving. When i voiced my un-ease, Ray was quick to point out "don't worry, you have Harold." I looked at him in shock, "but Harold doesn't speak Mongolian!" (see 'Leave 'em Laughing' to really understand!)

Despite Ray's departure on Wednesday afternoon, we finished our cases early and the Mongolian surgeons brought beers into the OR to celebrate an early day. As we drank our celebratory beverages, I showed them pictures of my family and surf trips on my computer.
Hmmm . . . beers in the O.R.?
The next day we were determined to get 4 cases done by 4pm (4x4). We encouraged quick room turnovers and attempted to move through the day efficiently. Our translator pointed out, as I was running around between cases, that I was "important surgeon now." It made me laugh, and it made me work harder.  In the end, we finished by 5pm and the last lap chole performed by Ganbolor and Oyuunbold took 49 minutes! They had been such good students!!
After the LAST lap chole!
The last lap chole team! Ganbolor, Suz, Allison, Oyuunbold
That evening, we went out back of the hospital and flew a small travel kite i had brought along. That kite has flown in Fiji, California and now Mongolia. We watched a gorgeous sunset, moon rise and started to think about heading home. 

Not much wind, but if you run fast enough, it flies!
Big Sky and a little kite
Our next day was full of rounds, one last lecture, and the distribution of certificates to all who had participated in the training program. We took more pictures (surprise) and gave Dr. Ganbat framed pictures of the whole team (these were later put in their cabinet of books - quite and honorary position). One more case and we were done . . . 
Giggles at the certificate ceremony
Dr. Ganbot and the group photos
We went back to Anna Home to see the kids one last time, and then off, to the adventure that was to be our long journey home. Bittersweet, we finished our work in Choibalsan with new friends, and a wealth of knowledge and experience. I think it is safe to say we all found a place in our hearts for Mongolia and the inspirational people we met on this trip. 
Allison and her best friend at Anna Home

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