Wednesday, May 7, 2008

From Ceeya Patton Bolman, RN, program coordinator

I sit in an empty ICU and reflect on what the past 10 days have been not only for us, the 36 members of Team Heart, but for those patients who do not share a common language and yet entrusted us to provide their care.

It was an eerie feeling to transfer the patients out to the surgical ward, and I had forgotten in the past few years the incredible emotional connection physicians and nurses develop with patients in that critical period. I was dreading moving that last patient out...and returned to find it empty. Leslie--after working all night--showed up at the right moment and moved him over, so I would not be alone!

We leave many friends, both at King Faisal and Partners In Health, and it is hard to say goodbye. We will take a group photo of those we can gather...3 patients have been discharged, happy as can be with huge smiles and hugs all around. One patient remains in the King Faisal ICU for monitoring heart rate, but I think we can walk him outside for the photo. All the others are in the surgical ward in 2 rooms and doing well, supporting each other. I walked in yesterday and they were lined up at the mirror checking out incisions!!!

To cover all bases, we pray and keep our fingers crossed they will continue to improve to go home soon.The local team is feeling more confident and is under the leadership of Dr. Joseph Mucumbitsi, Dr. Mugisa, Jo and Dr. Joseph, and they have Gene and Jose for the following week. I have no doubt they will continue to provide care at the same level and, thanks to Jim Rawn's computer skills and google docs, we all can follow the lab values from wherever we are!!!

We miss our team members. Thanks for all the incredible well wishes...we all teared up at Prem and Chip's emails. We head home in a few hours and will see you all soon!!
Murabeho! (Goodbye in Kinyarwandan)