That is the only word that can accurately describe my experience on Tuesday afternoon.
I donned the Mercy Ships blue scrubs and bouffant cap and paper booties and was promptly escorted into OR 3 where I spent the next two hours watching a case where a piece of hip bone was removed to then be attached next to the titanium jaw. After a few months the bone will fuse to and grow around the titanium thus creating a solid new jaw.
Dr. Gary took me through slides to explain everything he had done in the surgery and what Dr. Koffad and Dr. Biercin were doing. I don’t recall much except that the human body is fascinating and its resilience is incredible. I’ve seen plenty of before and after photos but to actually see the in between and the process it takes, amazing… Just amazing. To see surgeons attach dermis from the hip area to the inside of a man’s cheek to smooth out the wrinkles from the tumor, to see the relatively small chunk of bone that will grow and create a jaw… It’s just awesome!
I also observed a plastics case where Dr. Tertius was straightening a contracted arm and doing a skin graft. Oh my goodness, the process used to create the skin graft is so cool and again just left me wowed by innovations in medical technology and tools. (I would tell you more but for those who don’t like blood and such I’ll spare you but it was again, simply fascinating and way cooler than any Grey’s Anatomy episode!)
I couldn’t help too but think of just how incredible the service is to these patients, the transformation they undergo at the hands of skilled servants and the value and respect with which they are treated. The more I see of our mission of mercy practiced the more I love this organization and the more I am honored to support the hospital and serve the Africa Mercy crew!