I love efficiency! I crave it! I spend a good deal of my normal days figuring out how to be more efficient. When I operate I have everything planned out. Like a chess match, I know my next moves and am planning for all the variations that may thwart my plans. I even have figured out how to hold my open hand in certain unique positions so that my scrub tech can tell what instrument I want without me saying it. Afterall, an extra 2.3 seconds of me speaking the word and her hearing the word means inefficiency. So, I get a great feeling when an operation flows smoothly. When every detail goes as planned and everthing flows it gives me an indescribable feeling of satisfaction and accomplishment. Efficiency means less anesthesia time and less risk to the patient. Efficiency means protecting critical structures and operating strategically. Mistakes slow you down, so I've honed my technique knowing that efficiency is surely a Godly attribute!
Kenya is not the place for me! I nearly went into convulsions today over efficiency withdrawal! I spent too much time thinking of all that needs to be done while realizing all the obstacles that are standing in the way. I did three operations today that consumed most of the day! Three 45 minute cases in an entire day! I felt like crawling out of my skin! In one case, I walked into the room to see the nurse sitting on a chair, seemingly content. The instruments I needed weren't in the room and opened. The injection wasn't drawn up. No gloves were pulled for the case. The Mayo stand wasn't prepared. In fact, she had done absolutely nothing - nothing to prepare the room, nothing to help the surgeon or anesthetist, and nothing to help the patient. I then recalled that I remember her pretty much doing the same thing last year; so why was I surprised? In fact, I've spent enough time here that I should have expected all this!
But that is the intellectual side of my brain reasoning over the situation. My heart and my ambition were screaming "let's get to work! let's help some people! I didn't come half way around the world to relax! I only have two weeks here and my time is valuable!" Funny, I had a similar feeling three weeks into my stay last year - when I only had a week or so left. I remember telling myself that "this is a waste, I'm never coming back, these people don't appreciate me, these people aren't helping themselves!" But, this is Kenya. Kenyans don't see things my way. They are in no hurry; they don't understand why I would rush by and not visit. They don't seem to compile checklists each day. Their culture is not mine and I'm called to honor theirs - and that is not always easy! So, I returned to my room late afternoon and succumbed to the jet lag and took a nap! Those of you that know me well, know that I don't nap! Fortunately, the ER had an emergency and I was paged out of my nap. Yes, I'm still tired, but now there's a need - a chance to get something done! A chance to feed my addiction! Turns out, it was just a simple nosebleed that was well managed before I got there. No excitement, but I think I'm ok now.
Just had to get that off my chest. I'll pick up tomorrow trying to work within the system and help where I can. I just have to take it a Kenyan pace. I have to shred the mental checklist; I have to stop the mental comparisions (if my OR team at home...) I have to trust that God put me here to serve, not to dictate. So, when frustration comes, I'll just shrug my shoulders and say "TIA!" (This is Africa!) and I'm glad to be here.