This is my last hospital week! My time in SA has seriously flown!! This week was an awesome hospital week though because we were on Neuro and we got to see a brain tumor removal as well as repair of craniosynostosis.
Craniosynostosis – cranio (cranium) + syn (together) + ostium (bone)! This is when the cranial bones fuse together prematurely and dont allow the skull to grow. Did you know that the skull actually grows around the brain? So the brain is what is creating the (relative) shape of the head in a normal baby. If the bones fuse together too early, the skull cannot form properly around the brain and the brain doesnt have room to grow.
This surgery is one of THE coolest surgeries I have ever seen. The procedure is done so the brain has room to grow, but it is also cosmetic as you can see from the above photo. So you have to cut the skull, but not just one cut, you have to make multiple cuts to give the brain room. And it is a relatively short “recovery” time, but the skull doesnt look “normal” for years. There are a couple of different techniques, but this picture below is similar to the procedure we did. It was very cool and props to all neurosurgeons out there.
The tumor removal was also very cool, and the first time I saw an exposed brain before (last one didnt go past the Dura mater). This surgery was what I thought brain surgery would be like. It was extremely tedious and long. But when the tumor was finally removed, it was extremely gratifying.
We tried to fit alot in this week since it was my last week! We did a moon rise kayak trip! It was recommended by one of the docs at Red Cross. It was sooo awesome! Have you ever watched the moon rise? I honestly never thought about the moon rising.
The guide texted me that day and said “it might be canceled due to rough winds and high waves”. I said “nooo, we are looking forward to this!” and he said “is your group fit and adventurous?!” 😀 Of courseeee! The waves were super rough and it was very difficult, but seriously it was sooo fun!
CFHI provides students with a driver to and from the hospital and for two weeks I had “Uncle” and “Auntie” (pictured below). They are a 75 year old Muslim couple who had been driving for years and asked me and Zach over for dinner. It was so wonderful and more food than I got the whole trip!! Uncle drove me every morning and since I was by myself for awhile, we got pretty close. He taught me about Islam and took me to a mosque. He taught me about the Apartheid and stories of living through those years. It was probably one of the most valuable relationships I had during my time in SA. 🙂
One day after the hospital we all went to a rooftop bar. These are really “up-and-coming” in Cape Town! Here is the view!
I had one more week in Cape Town but this was the end of my hospital experience so I will end the blog here! I wish I wrote more but I hope you enjoyed it! 🙂 Cape Town is amazing. And I feel so grateful to have had this experience! I am so grateful to OUHCOM to provide students with this opportunity!