During the long return trip to Syracuse, Dr. Seth Greenky penned his thoughts about our just completed surgical mission at Nepal Medical College:
How do you describe a life changing experience to someone else and capture the spirit of the event- especially when one lacks the skills of writing. A group of ragtag "Syracusians" with a sense of adventure and a desire to tackle major hurdles, altruistic to the extreme, traveling literally to the other side of the world to help people. A dream that started with casual conversation and morphed into reality mostly by extremely hard work and some luck. Sometimes the stars just come together and magic occurs.
I feel like we were the Olympic hockey team that tackled a task and succeeded beyond all of our expectations.
The group was not a team that regularly worked together. We were composed of individuals who come from different hospitals, different outpatient facilities, different cities, different religions, different motivations, different ages, different stages in life, and I could go on and on. All received nothing but the potential satisfaction of doing something special for someone else. No one got paid, no one got "comped" time off and there was a minimal hierarchy at best.
This was our inaugural visit sort of a "try out" for the Operation walk team so to speak. We were being judged by the Operation walk LA division- the originators and supervisors of the 13 sites. Four rooms, the lead organizer, three PA's, six surgeons (thank God because I was sick as a dog for the first two days),two anesthesiologists, two nurse anesthetists, circulating nurses, OR techs, floor nurses, Physical Therapists, an instrument tech, a representative from the company that donated all the prosthesis, a Mr. fix it/ engineer, a supply coordinator, our translator and cultural guide, and I probably forgot someone.
Let me just sum up how we did- we kicked ass! Not one single complaint the entire time; despite heat, exhaustion, GI issues, communication issues and more. We had incredible mentoring from our LA counterparts, but we were seamless in our ability to run with guidance and soon mesh with them and ourselves. Compliments from our LA mentors, our Nepalese friends (physicians, nurses, housekeeping staff, etc) were over the top.
I think I can say without reservation one of the top experiences of my life and of all those of us who participated. There is no substitute for the feeling you get from a selfless act of good.
I am beyond proud of our team, and feel that the hand of God was with all of us. The faces of the patients and their families is ingrained in all of our minds. There were no stars, there was essentially one unit that won the ultimate victory. Hurrah for all of us.
We will be doing this again, and again, and again.....
From Farland to Homeland:
As thoughts of Dr. Brett Greenky's Nepalese patient Pramrod, the 25 year old hip replacement patient linger in our minds, merely two weeks later we repeated the program this weekend for our own local community thanks to the support of St. Joseph's Hospital Health Center, Syracuse Orthopedic Specialists, and Anesthesia of Onondaga.
Seven patients. Eight joint replacement procedures. A multitude of grateful patients and countless family members and friends. Nena, a fifty-three year old hair stylist, has been severely limited by increasing pain and decreased mobility. Not eligible for Medicaid, yet unable to afford insurance since the loss of her husband's job, she had resigned herself to her circustances. The initiative this weekend changed everything for her and her husband. We appreciate the support of Central New York in Operation Walk USA--it would not have been possible without the generosity of all of you! Until next year................thank you!