|Belizean sunset view from the front of the hospital|
This is the first time I have been the “lead” (read “only”) surgeon on a medical mission trip. Initially, the idea was exciting, then intimidating, and then I think I just gave into it – the next step, figuring out how to fly without a net.
Today was our second day of operating. Every case had an added degree of difficulty – funny liver anatomy, acute inflammation, large gallstones, difficult airways, short cystic ducts. I got stressed during our second case when the anatomy was obscured by inflammation and I made the comment that I sometimes make when I am doing a difficult case “I’m not happy.” The minute I said it, Cynthia, or anesthesiologist piped in with “if you’re not happy, we’re not happy.” Subtly she reminded me that this team is counting on me to set the tone, be the leader, and make this a good situation for everyone. I shut up and got back to work – damn gallbladder has got to come out.
It was a long day. We operated until 830. Staring at 11pm right now and we have only just eaten dinner and gotten to our rooms. But we did it - managed to take out five gallbladders of the nastiest variety and fix a little kids funny looking belly button. Everyone worked incredibly hard today and we are all pretty tired. But we are here . . . we are doing this. We are each others net. We are flying.