Day 9: A Happy Homecoming
On Friday, October 26, Niloo Edwards, MD, head of the division of cardiothoracic surgery at UW Hospital and Clinics, joined a Wisconsin delegation that journeyed to the Dominican Republic, there to spend a week providing free cardiac surgery to indigent residents in Santiago.
During his stay, Dr. Edwards and other surgeons operated on 11 patients, survived hurricane conditions and gained a greater perspective on health care in Latin America. The following is Day 9 of Dr. Edwards' blog of his experience. Return to Dr. Edwards' Blog: Day 1
Day 9: November 3, 2007
Our flight back to Miami is at 9am. We plan to arrive early because we know that we will be searched. Jody's suitcase is filled with UW surgical instruments that we brought with us for the mission.
We are stopped and searched, but Bolivar cuts through the red tape and get us through check-in. I am not sure of Bolivar's official title, but he has been our guide, body guard, interpreter, Man-Friday and friend. He is one of the unsung heroes of the mission, who makes it possible for a team with cultural and language barriers to get the job done.
Once he gets us through security, he asks if we will be back in February. He tells us that the residents and nurses feel we have been one of the easiest teams to work with and that they have appreciated our teaching and would like us back soon. (The ICU nurses have written a letter to Dr. Pascotto requesting Annette return on every mission.)
Dr. Bob has already lined up teams for the next two missions, but we are invited to return next October for mission #19. Fritz and I have already agreed that we will do it again.
Captain America leaves us in Chicago as he heads back to Milwaukee. But we are glad to see that he has embraced UW.
PHOTO (above): 'Captain America' asleep on the plane ride home
When we get back to Madison, it is late. It is good to be home. Our families have held the fort while we were away, and this is as much about their sacrifice of time and effort as it is ours. As I walk out to the car, I realize that the things we consider so basic are not so basic. UW is blessed with one of the best cardiac surgery programs in the country. And it doesn't rain in the hospital.
PHOTO (above): Homecoming hugs - Jody with Sara and their two children
Dedicated to Anna and Jake, Lisa and Joel, Sara and Jody, Dan and Annette, and my wife Maureen.