Monday, March 30, 2015

God first, and the Nebraska Biocontainment Unit Team second

Last weekend, Rick and I traveled to Omaha to help the Biocontainment Unit Team celebrate the 10th Anniversary of the creation of the unit at Nebraska Medical Center for the treatment of patients with highly contagious diseases.  For 9 years, a team of nurses, infection control experts, lab techs, and doctors trained and studied without caring for a single patient.  And finally, on September 5, 2014, they admitted their first patient.  Yes, that would be Rick.  As he said in his comments, he put the "Bio" in "Biocontainment" 
This was Rick's room
It was a special time to be able to thank all of the team members who did so much to save Rick's life. They are really an exceptional group of professionals.  Since Rick left, they have had two additional patients.  They have also become a resource to other hospitals all over the USA in preparing to handle an unexpected contact with an Ebola patient.  They have traveled around to evaluate newly established isolation units and invited thousands of doctors, nurses and administrators to Nebraska to learn the essentials of setting one up.  We are so impressed by them.  They are also heroes of the Ebola epidemic, because they make it possible for volunteers to go to West Africa to serve in such a high risk situation.  Even this month, they were monitoring a small group of workers who had an exposure in Sierra Leone while they went through their 21 day observation period. Today is their 21st day, and none of them became ill.
Most of the leadership team
We really thank God for the team of doctors and nurses and support people who took care of Rick in Nebraska. It was super fun to go back and see them again.  They were all so pleased to see that Rick had gained weight and had his color back--- "You look good" was the most frequent comment.  We shared memories of good moments in the midst of Rick's illness: homemade Runzas by Nikki's mom, Kendall's chicken soup, and a midnight air guitar dance party that had not previously been exposed. We got to meet Nebraska Governor Pete Ricketts, who was bursting with pride in his state and his people. It was really fun to be a part of their celebration.
But most of all, it was good to take a moment to thank God for what he has brought us through.  As they say in Liberia "Thank God for life!" 

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