Monday, January 22, 2007

What's on your other hemisphere?

What's on your mind, is generally my question. But I figure from Russia I'll ask what's on your other hemisphere.

We are in negotiations with the city to develop a tissue bank. That would allow us, and others, to have pediatric heart valves available in general and especially for emergencies. Why does this matter? For girls, with a human valve she will be able to have children; with an artificial valve, not possible because of the drugs needed to prevent rejection.

Just saw the new anatomy textbook produced by the local medical society, containing a chapter on congenital heart operations by our chief surgeon. Russia once was a world leader in cardiology, then fell when the money stopped. They lost a generation of momentum. We're trying to keep it from being yet another generation before they get back on their feet scientifically.

Have been here 29 times so much is familiar. But this time couldn't stay in my regular hotel, and this one is nice but unfamiliar. I'm such a baby! Oh wait, that's the patients.

Tomorrow we operate to correct a previous surgery done by another institution, that will remain nameless to protect the guilty.

And speaking of guilty, there is going to be an investigation of why certain materials are not reaching the hospital. Three guesses. Ooops, you only needed one? Very good.

I'm not talking here about the things that were wrecked somewhere between the airplane and the other side of customs, which made me almost quit for real this time, but the broader issue involving more people. To which I say, about f*cking time Godspeed.

I can't quit. I think about quitting every couple of months. This work would not be so easy for a normal person and I am mentally ill. But I realize I can't quit. Who would fill my shoes? And why would I want anyone else in my shoes :)

Gradually the government is taking up the reins, and reining in those who need it, and beginning to accept responsibility for saving the lives of their own newborns. Yay for that. In the meantime I will do what I can to keep these little ones alive.

My brother died at age 3 hours, and the tsunami of grief created then still haunted the family a year later when I was born. His loss has always been part of my story. Fair or not, that is how I'm wired. Might as well take advantage of that, and try to help others.

On the way to having my three angelic children I had 8 miscarriages. So I know a little bit about loss.

What's on my other hemisphere? Babies who live.


egregious said...

Well I would say What's on your mind? But now I think it's What's on your other hemisphere :)

Mental illness open house as always.

Women with miscarriages and infant deaths especially welcome tonight. And every night.

Adie said...

Never posted here, so don't know your system, or if this'll work o.k.
Just wanted you to know we're here for ya.
Good luck with the babies this trip, and - ahem - with the 'adults', sigh.
- Adie from FDL
(I don't wanna fill up their thread while they're live-bloggin' the trial, so I'll try to show up here from time to time. ;->)

egregious said...


Great to hear from another Ohio gal.

I'm from Middletown, you?

Please do come here, always interested in what you have to say.


inmymind'seye said...

wow egregious, thank you so much for this amazing work that you do. i'm sorry about the stolen supplies and had i the ability, would restore them to you and your babies in need.

I'm an avid reader and only an occasional poster at fdl, i use my given name - susan - there.

I'm reading a book that you may have read or may be interested in reading entitled, "Lincoln's Melancholy". The author describes the acceptance of depression and mental illness in the 19th century as a mere character trait and not as is currently the trend as a deficit, particularly in a candidate for national, state, or local office.

Anyway, I'm finding it an interesting read as someone who has struggled with depression and PTSD. Perhaps the trend will change again.

Anyway, I wish you and all your small charges well. You are truly an angel amoung us.

egregious said...


Thank you for your words of encouragement, much appreciated.

I figure in another century or two they'll get this mental illness stuff figured out. Or else decide we are the natural geniuses. Hope it's worth the pain.

Please chime in again. We're always here for people with emotional distress.

Nice name btw :) Pretty familiar here.

Suzanne said...

I have never been to Russia. Do you think you do a post about Russian life? You know, stuff like the weather, how it is diff than here, what kind of stuff is the same as here. General info kinda stuff. As a child of the cold war, I remember when the iron curtain first started to part - seeing on the evening news Russians who looked like us (not monsters). The footage was of a Russian fashion show and it has always stuck in my mind.

I'll probably never get to visit Russia although I would like to. Perhaps I could travel a wee bit vicariously in your shoes (which are very nice by the way) - hugs


egregious said...


Interesting idea to have a post about normal life in Russia. Yes there is such a thing, and we were shielded from seeing Russians as normal people until recently.

Let me give it some further thought.