Home Sweet Home

I’m back home from my adventures, so these posts will go back to being boring as usual. But, I still have to tell you about my final triumph. Well, perhaps triumph is too strong a term, but we did have a bit of success. As you see in the image above, we sent a nuclear study, a thyroid scan, from the e.cam to the PACS, where it can be seen on the laptop above. This is definitely the first time this has been done at Korle Bu, and probably the first time in Accra and all of Ghana, and maybe Western Africa as well. We’ve made history!

But all good things must come to an end, and it was time to prepare to go home. There had been some confusion as to whom was paying for the guesthouse room. I had assumed I was, but then it seemed that I wasn’t, and on the evening of my departure, it seemed that I was paying after all. That was fine, but I didn’t have enough Cidi’s, and had to make a nighttime trip to the ATM farm, which is not a good idea. But Ben came with and played bodyguard, and I survived the experience.

I ended up with about 500 extra GHC’s, worth about $125. I thought I’d spend them at the airport, but Delta insisted we head to the gate as quickly as possible so they could conduct the third security check, pat-down included, and then make us sit for an hour before boarding. Anyone headed back to Ghana anytime soon?

The flight home was uneventful, save for the “Is there a doctor on board?” call about 2 hours before landing. A passenger had experienced a seizure, and was still in that groggy, post-ictal state. Fortunately, two real doctors got to him before I did. It was rather amusing in a perverse way to watch the NYC paramedics perp-walk the poor guy from the back of the plane and out to an ambulance (presumably) upon docking.

Since we landed a bit early, I had the brilliant thought (well, Mrs. Dalai thought of it…) to try to get on the earlier flight that I shouldn’t have been able to make. I was the last standby to get on, but I did make it, and also the next back home from Atlanta, which was about to close it’s doors when I got to the gate, completely out of breath. So I made it home 4 hours before my scheduled arrival. Of course, my bags didn’t, but that’s OK.

It will still take me a bit to process this trip. It is indeed life-changing, in ways subtle and not. I’m thrilled, for example, to eat salads and to have ice in my drinks again. And looking around my reading room today with 10 monitors and 4 computers all for my own personal use, I shake my head in wonder at the amazing largess we take for granted over here. Today was my first day back at work, and everyone asked me how I liked the trip. I had to hesitate…how do you answer this question? This was not a pleasure trip, and certainly much different than your average vacation. But I loved it, and I certainly hope to do something like this again. Maybe that’s the best answer I can give.

Thanks to WhatsApp, I’ve heard from my fellow travelers almost daily, and I text with Ben several times a day. Things seem to be progressing nicely without us; our training seems to have made a difference, and that, after all, is what we hope to achieve. And I’m very proud of how far everyone at Korle Bu has come. Hey, I can brag a little…”My son the doctor!”  OK, my Ghanaian friends, but you get the idea.

via Blogger http://ift.tt/2eH32b4 November 07, 2016 at 07:42PM

It’s Just Another Manic Monday…And Tuesday…And Wednesday…

I’m still here in Accra, this morning working on some stuff before my appointment with the Head of Nuclear Medicine here at Korle Bu Teaching Hospital. More on nuclear things momentarily.

We hit the ground running on Monday, after the emotional trip to Cape Coast the day before. We were to meet with the Head of IT and tour the facilities (Brian tells me there is a server room that is right up there with most he’s seen) and speak with those knowledgeable in a locally-developed mini-EHR designed for the OB-GYN Department. But due to various scheduling conflicts and the Head of PACS IT taking ill, we ultimately met simply with one of the designers directly, who demonstrated the capabilities of their software. I was most impressed; this system is as good as any in-house developed product I’ve seen, and better than most.

I delivered my PET/CT talk to the Radiology residents yesterday morning, and they were as attentive as any audience I’ve had over the years, again asking some of the most insightful questions. Imagine how much good they could do with the actual scanner itself!

Thanks to Dr. B.’s monitoring of misbehavior of a worklist, I’ve discovered a glitch in the Merge PACS 7.0.x software. Worklists are comprised of a worklist “frame” (my term, but it helps me understand the new structure) and blocks that actually do the heavy lifting of determining which exams show up on the list. A worklist can contain multiple blocks, so one can create a list of all CT’s and MRI’s done today by combining the individual “Today” blocks. A key element in the block is the “Time Constraint” which tells the worklist the time-frame of exams to display:

The glitch, which my friends at Merge were able to reproduce, is that the Start Time Hours entry can blank itself, simply erasing the entry. It doesn’t go to zero, it goes to nothing. Which fouls the block, which fouls the worklist. But now that Merge knows about it, I’m sure it will be fixed.

In the meantime, I’m still slogging away at a solution for those with limited-capacity Mac’s. “Dr. Mary”, one of the residents, has very graciously lent me her Macbook Air (128 Gb SSD) for experimentation. Unfortunately, the drive is way too small to accommodate BootCamp for a Windows installation, so I’ve tried anything and everything to work around this. Dr. B. suggested Wine, sort of a program-by-program Windows emulator. I tried this, with some minimal success on other Windows programs, but the Merge client is a large Java app, and getting Java running within Wine so as to run Merge is beyond my abilities, at least within the time I have left to make anything work. My last possibility is to use a program called WinToUSB to turn a USB Hard Drive (won’t work on a flash drive, we tried) into a bootable Windows environment. The first disk we tried failed utterly, and I’m trying with another. The installation seems to always fail at the 95% mark. This is one I might have to leave in Ben’s able hands. I asked “Dr. Mary” if perhaps there is a new Mac coming for Christmas. She smiled and asked if perhaps she should simply get a Windows laptop next time. Frankly, much as I love my Macs, it is probably the best thing to do if running Windows software is your main focus. Can someone explain to me why a program written in Java, supposedly a platform-independent environment, will only run on Windows? We Mac-lovers feel slighted!

On to Nuclear Medicine. As above, I will meet with the Head of Department today, and hopefully I’ll have the opportunity to show her how the Merge PACS works, and explain my idea of connecting their Siemens e.cam (which is currently down for service) to the PACS. Keep in mind that here, as in much of the rest of the world, NM is a completely separate entity from Radiology, but I can tell you from long experience that having both Radiology and Nuclear examinations available to compare to each other and to newer studies is incredibly helpful. I’m expecting the same happy reaction I’ve seen on everyone’s faces when I demonstrate the capabilities of soft-copy reading in general, and the power of this particular PACS client in particular. That alone has made this trip worthwhile.

I cannot believe how quickly my time here has passed. We have today and tomorrow remaining here at Korle Bu, and then back to the USA on Friday. (And back to work on Monday!) As I’m donating this laptop to the hospital, I probably won’t have another blog entry until I’m back home. Which will allow much time for me to process what I’ve seen, done, and learned here. I can tell you already that a trip like this is life-changing. You cannot spend this length of time outside your comfort-zone and not come back just a little different. I’ve been accepted by people of a culture very different than mine, to the point that I feel very comfortable among my new friends. Yes, we stand out as obviously different, but I really stopped thinking about that after Day One, to the point that when I ran into another Obroni here at Korle Bu, my first thought was that HE was out of place. But not me. Perhaps I’ll be able to wrap more words around the feelings with time.

Hopefully, I’ve absorbed some of the profound kindness and hospitality we’ve been shown on this trip. The common Ghanaian greeting is, “You are welcome!” (Which makes a lot more sense than saying it in response to “Thank you”.) We really were welcome here. While I’m anxious to get back home to the family and the puppies, I will truly miss Ghana, and if they’ll have me again, I do hope to return someday.

via Blogger http://ift.tt/2fgPAYG November 02, 2016 at 05:01AM