Saturday, March 20, 2010

Day 3: Saturday March 20th

Today may have been Saturday, but the Operation Walk team continued to work as hard as ever. Breakfast begins at 5:30am, and the bus leaves for the hospital at 6:00am. Interdisciplinary floor rounds start at 7:00am, with all 40 inpatients seen by a team comprised of surgeons, residents, nurses, therapists and other providers. (At right, Kanu gets ready for morning rounds by loading charts into a makeshift cart.)

By the time the first incision is made at 8:00am, much work has already been done. Today was another successful day in the OR, with 16 joint replacements performed in 12 grateful patients.

The biggest smiles of today, however, were on the floor as more and more of the postop patients started to get up and walk, some of them for the first time in a long time.

Here's a picture of one of our patients, thrilled to be walking 2 days after replacement of both knees:

Here's another happy patient, up and walking just one day after getting her hip replaced.

As more and more patients return to the ward with their new joints, the preoperative patients who are yet to undergo surgery are starting to get excited about their upcoming procedures. (I love the picture below, in which a preop patient watches a postop patient walking the halls, perhaps thinking about the time when she'll be able to do the same.)

While the past few days -- comprised of much work and little rest -- have left team members a bit sleep deprived, the team remains enthusiastic, with our spirits constantly buoyed by the incredible gratitude of our patients. (The quote of the day came from a patient whose eyes welled up with tears of joy as her procedure finished, leading her to say "Que Dios les dara un premio cuando lleguen al cielo" -- a phrase that roughly translates to "may God give all of you a prize when you reach heaven").

The "prize," of course, is simply seeing the happiness on the faces of the patients we've been lucky enough to help. There are a few dozen patients who are yet to have their procedures, and the team is looking forward to continuing the work tomorrow.

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