Monday, April 28, 2014

A CSI Volunteer Shares Her Story 
 Hermosillo October 2013 

Mission Trip Nerves

As I prepared for my role as one of two logistics specialists going on the annual CSI trip to Hermosillo in October 2013, I became increasingly excited, and nervous. I knew this surgical mission to be a wonderful experience for those who had gone previously, including my husband; but also that it would be chaotic, tiring and emotional. As someone who prefers an orderly process and who also gets choked up at sad or sappy commercials, Hermosillo seemed a bit daunting. Could I take pictures in the operating room without fainting? How would I communicate? I shoved my concerns firmly aside, focused on my excitement at being part of this marvelous group of professionals, and boarded the plane that took us to Mexico. 

It turns out that the incredibly warm welcome given to CSI by our hosts, the fantastic support of the hospital staff and volunteers, and most of all, the smiles on the faces of these beautiful children were all that was needed to allay my fears. Whatever nerves I had were nothing compared to the initial fear and concern felt by these parents, many of whom traveled hundreds of miles to help their child, and who may never have been in a "real" hospital before.

One family touched us deeply. Tiny Inari, only three months old, was carried in by her very frightened parents. Throughout the screening day I would see Inari's mother, clutching her baby daughter to her and trying, unsucessfully, not to cry. Dad, ever stoic by their side, would smile grimly and nod at me but say nothing. After Inari's cleft lip surgery was successfully completed, Ashley, my wonderful partner in logistics and medical records, and I escorted Inari's anxious parents back to recovery. As they gazed down at their sleeping baby with a newly repaired lip, we watched their faces turn from anxious fear to joyful smiles. Their relief and joy was palpable. My strongest memory, however, is of Inari's stoic strong father dissolving into tears as he stroked his baby girl's head and held his wife. He gave me a huge grin and said thank you, over and over. I turned to Dr. Grischkan, who smiled and said "That's why we do this." 
Nervous? Not me. I can't wait to go back. 

Friday, November 15, 2013

Final Day!!! November 15th

So sad to leave our friends at Duside Hospital and Firestone Guest house.
A  quick goodye and discharging of patients followed by a wonderful send off
ceremony at the hospital.
Lora Koppel, Dave Tetzlaff and Lynn Randall left early to conduct a site visit in
Port Harcourt, Nigeria for CSI.

More summary later about the 116 patients we screened and 98 surgeries. For now,
a few parting shots....


Margaret Boone, Nolan Morice, Dan Chow
and Jill Turner boarding the bus



Our team at the final program at the hospital.
The hospital gave us some colorful aprons.



Janelle Fox taking a picture of Dave Vandersteen


Patience, our fabulous ward nurse


Paul Melchert presenting one of fifteen stethoscopes donated by
3M. Con Nguyen, a 3M employee secured the donation.


Dr. Sherman receiving a stethoscope from Dr. Dave Andrews.



Wonderful Ed Garcia and his wife Marissa.
Both fabulous Firestone employees!!

Thursday, November 14, 2013

It is Thursday afternoon and the pediatric ward is abuzz with our final patients
and their respective parents, grandparents, uncles, aunts, etc. Many are wearing
fish hats from the Minnesota State Fair which Gander Mountain very nicely donated.
All kids are holding either a doll or teddy bear made by Dollies Making A Difference.
They have a white-knuckle grip on their recovery room bags which also include
books, toothbrushes, a washcloth, beanie baby, a baseball cap nicely donated by
Zephyr and several other items. Thank goodness for the Liberian
peds nurses, as well as Victoria and Patience, the CSI tag team up there.


                               

                                                         
                                                              Father& son checking in for surgery

Young patient with a gown loving made
by Carol Miller. Carol makes our gowns,
nonos and recovery room bags.

All surgeries were deemed a success. Our final number is hovering right around 100. Lynn
Randall led the effort of packing up the supplies area. Mary Johnson the OR; Katie
Stewart and Julieann Swanson the medical records area;. Anna Koppel pre-op, with
everyone else helping wherever they were needed. One father and mother stopped
by, their daughter had been discharged -to deliver a framed thank you note to a
couple of CSI team members  who had made a significant  difference in the states.
In addition, a huge shout out to everyone at Duside Hospital, from Executive Director,
Joye Phillips to Dr. Lawrence Sherman and all of the many many staff who have been
hijacked to do nothing but help us in very possible way. It is exceedingly inspiring.
Now, more pictures, and promise to blog again tomorrow, our final day





 Joye Phillips, Executive Director Firestone Duside

  
 Dr. Raj Sarpal, CSI Anesthesiologist       Tracey Ryersee, CSI OR Nurse



                                   
                           Dr. Dave Andrews allows a patient to keep on the crown
                           he received during  pre-op during surgery

                                   
                                                           Delicious dessert made by the
                                                           Firestone Guest House Staff





















Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Tuesday at Duside Hospital with the CSI Team!!


T










Today's surgeries are over and it was a super successful day. Everyone worked
very hard.

Shown here are pediatric patients who weren't CSI patients,but who love the
Gander Mountain muskie hats and the tv and videos donated by CSI.














Also shown is our patient Othello, a 22 year old young man who has been unable to continue his education because of a huge tumor that grew on the side of his face. He was mocked mercilessly by his schoolmates. Shown here is Othello looking at himself  in the mirror for the first time after surgery.







This girl became pregnant at age 14 and is now 15. Her mouth was burned by drinking  a poisonous liquid. Here she is shown with her 10 month old baby who is lying waiting  for her mother to get better.






Shown here is the wonderful Amy working in Post-Op tending to a woman who had a huge tumor on the front of her face which had literally taken over her entire face. It had distorted
her face completely. Dr. Eric Moore did an amazing job removing the tumor.






Dr. Dave Tetzlaff coordinated the donation of 300 pairs of shoes from Soles 4 Souls.



CSI Partner Michael Silvio and happy patients. Special thank you to Dollies Making a Difference for their donation of dollies and bears.



Poster that advertises our mission










Monday, November 11, 2013

Liberia Day 2 and 3: Sunday and Monday

First, wow what a full day of screening we had from the crack of dawn until the end of the day Sunday. We arrived at Duside Hospital first thing in the morning where patients had begun lining up at 3 in the morning. Surgeons Eric Moore, Dave Vandersteen, Janelle Fox and Dave Andrews screened 107 patients and they will operate on close to 90. Medical records created a chart(yay Katie Stewart and Julieann Swanson): vitals were taken (yay Victoria Vandersteen, Anna Koppel, Patience Kankeh, Mary Bye and Amy Hassenstab:pre-op physicals were performed by pediatricians, Paul Melchert and Dave Tetzlaff. CSI Board member Con Nguyen and videographer Nolan Morice took some fabulous video of the entire situation as well as gathered wonderful patient stories. Logistics co-lead Leon Randall(with Con Nguyen) unpacked and moved furniture and did all he could to get us fed, as well as back and forth from the hospital to the guest house. As clinical lead Lora Koppel floated everywhere and answered 348 questions. Fantastic Jill Moore and Margaret Boone helped set up the OR's and then went above and beyond putting together all the patient recovery room bags. Mary Johnson, Jodi Pelkey, Tracey Ryersee and anesthesiologist, Raj Sarpal also did OR set up. Firestone executive Don Darden was in full gear at the balloon machine making all the kids ecstatic. Of course Lynn Randall and Dan Chow were getting the anesthesia organized. On top of it all, hospital administrator Joye Phillips was doing just about everything from organizing logistics, moving furniture and even making a few beds!! At the end of the day back at the Guest House we were treated to a lecture by Ed Garcia, Managing Director of Firestone Liberia who recounted what life was like in Liberia while he was here during the onset and surges of the war in the 1990's.Also, Liberian born and Denver-practicing attorney, Gerald Padamore, who represents many multinationals including Firestone and the Liberian government spoke about Liberia's history vis a vis the United States. The medical records team with the help of some other noble volunteers cranked until after midnight getting the charts organized, sorted, photos attached etc. It is now midday Monday and the first day of surgery is in very full swing. 4 operating tables are being used constantly, with Duside's Dr. Sherman participating and learning. I have been moving from mother to grandmother to father to brother to aunt- whoever is the kind soul who has brought in the patient- capturing the stories of the journeys that have brought in the patient-capturing the stories of the journeys that have brought them here. 7 year old Ruth's mother sells used clothes and has spent her child's entire life trying to find someone to repair the cleft palate she was born with. Ruth is very bright and in fact is in the grade ahead of her twin sister,despite her problems speaking. Her mother said, "It breaks, my heart that the children at school make fun of her. They say, "we can't understand you- you talk through your nose, Ruth." As a result Ruth is now begging her mother to let her drop out of school. Sally Lannin

Saturday, November 9, 2013


Videographer Nolan Morice, Co-founder of Line Break Media in Minneapolis which produces marketing and films for "all causes seeking justice", is volunteering his firm's time by filming for CSI in Liberia. Here he "lends" his expensive cameral to an orphan who pretends to make a video. Highlighted in the lens is the writing from the Firestone truck, our sponsor who provides transportation, housing, food and sponsorship for our time here.





                                    Medical Records Volunteer Julie Swanson with a new friend


                                                  Waiting for a soccer ball!!
                                                           


Photos From Frances Gaskin








Reading the book, "On the Day You Were Born"


                                        RN Mary Bye doing a puzzle with an orphan girl

                                                  
                          Medical Records volunteer Katie Stewart distributes soccer balls that 
                          Have been signed by her students at Crocus Hill Preschool in St. Paul.
                          We want to give a special shout out to Crocus Hill School which
                          moved locations this year and donated 30 + boxes of "No longer
                          needed but really appreciated at the orphanages CSI visits" goodies