A number of things happen when 13 people who have never met one another previously, travel together across 9 time zones, share sleeping accommodations and provide medical care in a third world country. You see compassion. You see creativity. You see brilliance. And you see sheer stupidity. For stupidity, we awarded the Blue Monkey, a beanie baby which needed to be worn by the recipient in a visible way. In other words, everybody else had to be able to see it.
It all started with Sally Miner, of course. We headed back to the bungalow after a day at the clinic. A mirror was broken and shattered on the floor. The team was quite concerned and was asking what possibly could have happened. Sally commented, “It fell down and broke.” There was a long silence. Followed by hysterical laughing at Sally’s all too obvious assessment.
The Blue Monkey has traveled from Sally M. and between team members like dominoes since. Shirley later told us about a musical group called the Canadian Tenors. “They are from Canada,” she added. Oh really, Shirley?!!? She was awarded the Blue Monkey.
At the end of the second clinic day, the nurses organized and cleaned the pre-op room in preparation for the next day, changing linens and sweeping the floor. Dr. Olson-Dorff promptly entered the room, sat on the bed and plopped her feet on top of the clean linen. This is the problem with having a psychologist on the team. You can’t make a nurse out of a psychologist. The nurses stuck that Blue Monkey in the pocket of her scrubs.
On the way to dinner that evening, Dr. Shilling locked us out of the bungalow. The Blue Monkey changed hands again.
On Sunday morning, as offering was being taken at church and the basket passed from person to person, Rosie dropped the offering basket and bills and coins spilled over the floor. Everyone in the church went pale. And I mean everyone.
Bryce was working in the lab early the following week. He mishandled a urine test, with the end result that there was urine everywhere except on the microscope slide. Blue Monkey for Bryce.
The following day, Dr. Shilling and the Blue Mondey became acquainted yet again when she squirted clinic staff during an ear lavage. A bad aim, I reckon.
Bob and Jeff H were later carrying laundry back to the bunglow. The plastic laundry basket was piled high with hand-washed and sun dried clean clothes for all of us. The laundry spilled onto the gravel road. Jeff H. had a long list of reasons this was an unfair assessment of a Blue Monkey moment. You should have heard all his reasons that this was simply unreasonable. A double Blue Monkey moment for Dr. Hillesland.
One evening we had a special event planned. The Maasi warriors were to dance for us before dinner. Shirley was on the cell phone with her credit card company during the show and just behind where they performed. She is in all our photos of the dancing. As the Maasi warriors chanted we could hear Shirley, “Yes. I am okay. I am just surrounded by Maasi warriors.” Peals of laughter erupted.
Dr. Yee and Dennis shared the following Blue Monkey award as a hydrocele went out of control in the OR – it was an amazing display of water works which left everyone just shaking their heads. The Blue Monkey again rests with Bryce. At dinner , his coke was served with a lime. He planned to squirt the lime into the glass of coke, but misaimed and got himself in the face.
It’s hard to know where the Blue Monkey will be at the end of the trip. I still cannot figure out how Deb R., of all the team, has not yet had it awarded. Something is up there….. But if you know any team members, beware, as you may be the next recipient of the Blue Monkey! He fits nicely into front pockets and backpacks and is a well-acquainted, well-traveled companion.