14 results for author: Brandon Pomeroy


Uganda 2018 – A Vision of Sister Carmel

Thursday is always the hardest day. The adrenaline of being in a new place has long ago worn and we still haven’t fully adjusted to the eight-hour time change. The cumulative sleep deprivation coupled with hours of standing and concentrating and working have taken their toll. So there are fewer people waiting for the breakfast line to open at 6 am and the first bus to Lacor leaves at least fifteen minutes late.   And everyone is on the verge of tears.   I woke up reluctantly at 5:30 and looked at my phone. The smart people don’t check email and social media while on these trips, but with teenage kids I feel like I need to ...

Uganda 2018 – One Angel Among Many

It was Tuesday, right in the middle of it all. When we were still screening patients and when surgeries were going strong. Turnover was rapid. There wasn’t much time to put on a lab coat, change shoes, find Bobbi or Erica, and get outside. In order to reach the exam rooms we had to squeeze past a table of nursing student and several benches of waiting patients.   Each time I walked by that morning a boy who looked about seven years old stuck his hand out to shake mine. Every time. Waiting with his arm out. He’d smile when I said good morning and played along.   These days are made up of countless small interactions. From ...

Uganda 2018 – An Epiphany

It’s all a blur at this point. Sitting by the pool at Chobe, listening to the birds singing above and all around me, seeing flashes of green and red and yellow as they speed by with their mysterious agendas... it all makes it difficult to recall specifics. Hundreds of emails, hours of meetings and months of planning and it’s over in a flash.   But heaven knows it was worth it.   Interactions with the people here are by necessity quick and direct. We speak to most of the patients through a translator and receive only the basics: what hurts and for how long. Perhaps a small fact about their lives. This isn’t the Ugandan way ...

Uganda 2018 – Ugandan Sunsets

He’s been dreaming of volunteering for a mission trip for as long as he can remember. Everything finally came together this year and to his great delight Ty Townsend is in Gulu, Uganda. An anesthesia assistant that I work with in KC, I already knew he was talented. While working with him this week I am so impressed with his good-natured hard work. He has masked nearly 50 patients - something that will impress those who know a little about anesthesia.   Ty says he was surprised at the level of poverty he has seen. The huts, the small shops, the clothing. He talked to Honorable Reagan one night and learned a lot about the country and ...

Uganda 2018 – Happy Birthday Erica!

I wasn’t a bit surprised. After all, we’ve been working together for six years. Erica Smith is my nurse back home. In the past when I’ve been on a mission trip she has stayed back to work or perhaps relax for a few days, enjoying a break from me. But when I asked if she wanted to come help in Uganda she jumped at the chance. (If you are ever able to witness her rendition of Toto’s “Africa,” it conveys her excitement perfectly.)   She and veteran mission volunteer Bobbi Zink put their long hours of preparation to work and hit the ground running, screening patients with the surgeons. The pair have put in some of the longest ...

Uganda 2018 – A Good Place to Be

Perpetually upbeat and talented, it’s hard to believe that this is her first mission with Medical Mission Foundation. A PICU nurse at Children’s Mercy, she came highly recommended by previous mission participants. Olivia Pennington credits much of her energy on the fact that she works the night shift back home. That and the fan app on her phone. Whatever it is she took the eight hour time change in stride.   Livi was nervous about the different skill set that would be needed in the PACU and said that the first day was a steep learning curve. She’s used to longer relationships with her patients but quickly adapted to the rapid ...

Uganda 2018 – An Unexpected Return

She came with two friends to honor their favorite teacher from nursing school, Mary Smith. They had been friends for years and wanted to do something special together. But when registered nurse Lou Brady agreed to come to Uganda last year she never dreamed she’d be back again. It was an incredibly rewarding experience however and here she is, starting IV’s, taking vitals, and comforting patients both as they prepare for surgery and recover from it. A long time med-surg nurse, she enjoys the challenge of one-on-one patient care and she certainly finds her share of that in the pre and post anesthesia care unit at Lacor Hospital in Gulu.   ...

Uganda 2017 – Feels the Same

Sunday night in Gulu, Uganda. The room in the surgical ward at Lacor hospital is small and stuffy. There's just enough space for a bed against each wall, two metal chairs and a small desk. The metal shuttered window against the south wall lets in mosquitoes but no air movement. My white shirt is sticking to me as we screen patient after patient. One of our team members takes vitals, another fills out forms and organizes the surgery schedule and a local intern and the patient's attendant help with translation. This means that there are six people in the room at a time, all tired and hot and sticky.   We review the dirty medical records that ...

Uganda 2017 – Now What

Well, we're home, now what? All of my built-in friends are gone. When I wake up in the morning there's no one to talk to. There's no one at coffee that I can sit with and simply watch the changing colors of the sunrise. There are no smiling children on the streets to wave at on the way to work.   There's no one who needs me between surgeries. No one grabbing me to go screen a patient. It's very quiet here today as I sit and wait for the next one to start. I can talk to the family, dictate, greet the next patient and still have too much time to think.   There's no roomful of patients blessing me and thanking me and teaching me new ...

Uganda 2017 – We Are One

And then sometimes something unexpected happens. It was Friday morning. With only four short surgeries on the schedule, the end had nearly arrived. Truly it had been a fairly uneventful week in my room. Busy but rewarding, difficult and yet always unique, we hadn’t had any major disasters or difficult cases. We were a well-oiled machine, but as strange as it sounds I was melancholy about it all.   I wasn’t even sure we were making a difference. I hadn’t really bonded with any of the patients. Most of the surgeries blended together. Prostate surgery, hernias, hydroceles, there wasn’t much to differentiate them. And yet…  ...