Monday, January 20, 2003

Day 2: Unpacking & Organizing

Sheesh! 1:30 a.m. and the phone is ringing.

I am sleeping like a rock and it takes about 10 rings to wake me.

My mind finally lets me know that someone is speaking Vietnamese to me.

Still not quite sure where I am or who I am speaking to, I do my best to respond.

I finally realize it is Dr. Duong, one of the doctors at the hospital. After a couple of minutes my mind starts to clear and I realize he thought it would be a nice time to chat. I said a polite hello and we talked about tomorrow’s plans. I don’t remember much about the conversation. Morpheus had such a strong grip on me that I am surprised I could speak at all, let alone in Vietnamese.

I think we have the day set up. Maybe.

Up at 6 a.m. and breakfast at 7 a.m. The hotel puts on a very nice breakfast buffet like home, but a bit smaller. Everyone is fat, happy, and ready to start our first day at the hospital. The hospital had a van waiting to transport us right at 8:30 a.m. -- just the way we planned it last night (I think).

We had a short meeting with the Vice Director and the doctors began unpacking and organizing all the cartons of supplies we brought. They will have everything organized and be ready to start surgery tomorrow morning. This afternoon the doctors will check on some of last year's patients and see as many new surgery candidates as they can. Our turnout is expected to be a bit light: The Vietnamese don’t want to have a patient around the house during the Tet holiday. Kind of like being in the hospital during Christmas back home. Can’t blame them. We will see who turns out for examinations.

Cam Hoa, Ponce, and I are off to meet with our friend Philip Phuc at the local shipping company who has been helping us with our cargo container. I dashed out of the house in such a hurry on Friday night that I forgot the documents I need to receive the container. Philip let me use his computer and fax machine to contact our agent in America. I hope to have the paperwork by Wednesday. Stupid mistake on my part.

The doctors completed their setup and examined several of the last year's patients, all of whom are doing just fine.  One of the men they worked on last year needs some minor corrections. The doctors hope to take care of him while here. Barry and Annamarie made it to the hotel around 10:30 p.m., which was about 6 or 7 hours later than expected.  Not bad for Viet Nam.

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