Monday, November 07, 2016
Home Sweet Home
I'm back home from my adventures, so these posts will go back to being boring as usual. But, I still have to tell you about my final triumph. Well, perhaps triumph is too strong a term, but we did have a bit of success. As you see in the image above, we sent a nuclear study, a thyroid scan, from the e.cam to the PACS, where it can be seen on the laptop above. This is definitely the first time this has been done at Korle Bu, and probably the first time in Accra and all of Ghana, and maybe Western Africa as well. We've made history!
But all good things must come to an end, and it was time to prepare to go home. There had been some confusion as to whom was paying for the guesthouse room. I had assumed I was, but then it seemed that I wasn't, and on the evening of my departure, it seemed that I was paying after all. That was fine, but I didn't have enough Cidi's, and had to make a nighttime trip to the ATM farm, which is not a good idea. But Ben came with and played bodyguard, and I survived the experience.
I ended up with about 500 extra GHC's, worth about $125. I thought I'd spend them at the airport, but Delta insisted we head to the gate as quickly as possible so they could conduct the third security check, pat-down included, and then make us sit for an hour before boarding. Anyone headed back to Ghana anytime soon?
The flight home was uneventful, save for the "Is there a doctor on board?" call about 2 hours before landing. A passenger had experienced a seizure, and was still in that groggy, post-ictal state. Fortunately, two real doctors got to him before I did. It was rather amusing in a perverse way to watch the NYC paramedics perp-walk the poor guy from the back of the plane and out to an ambulance (presumably) upon docking.
Since we landed a bit early, I had the brilliant thought (well, Mrs. Dalai thought of it...) to try to get on the earlier flight that I shouldn't have been able to make. I was the last standby to get on, but I did make it, and also the next back home from Atlanta, which was about to close it's doors when I got to the gate, completely out of breath. So I made it home 4 hours before my scheduled arrival. Of course, my bags didn't, but that's OK.
It will still take me a bit to process this trip. It is indeed life-changing, in ways subtle and not. I'm thrilled, for example, to eat salads and to have ice in my drinks again. And looking around my reading room today with 10 monitors and 4 computers all for my own personal use, I shake my head in wonder at the amazing largess we take for granted over here. Today was my first day back at work, and everyone asked me how I liked the trip. I had to hesitate...how do you answer this question? This was not a pleasure trip, and certainly much different than your average vacation. But I loved it, and I certainly hope to do something like this again. Maybe that's the best answer I can give.
Thanks to WhatsApp, I've heard from my fellow travelers almost daily, and I text with Ben several times a day. Things seem to be progressing nicely without us; our training seems to have made a difference, and that, after all, is what we hope to achieve. And I'm very proud of how far everyone at Korle Bu has come. Hey, I can brag a little..."My son the doctor!" OK, my Ghanaian friends, but you get the idea.