Heidi has commented on numerous occasions about how different medical processes are here than in the US. In the US we have the luxury of sterile medical environments and an abundance of new drugs. This box holds the medicine to be used on a given day in the pediatrics ward. It is shocking how dirty and used everything looks. The brand new, brightly colored children’s vitamin canister really stood out to me. It also reflected the situation in the peds ward. Despite all the sadness and sickness, there was an occasional kid that would give you a bright smile.
We are at the end of rainy season and late each afternoon huge thunder clouds roll in but don’t provide a drop of rain. I had just passed through the market to the other side of town when these children ran up asking to be “snapped.” I asked them to pose on the abandoned bulldozer and was pleased to be able to frame the shot with the thunder clouds creeping in.
One could use this image to communicate several different messages about industrialization and the future of traditional living in West Africa. I’ll let you ponder its implications.
This photo was taken on the road to the market. Children here make toys out of found objects. No Fisher Price, no Hasbro, no G.I. Joe. This boy was having a jolly good time pushing and chasing this old tire down the dirt road.
We are not alone in our new house. A mouse (or rat?) has been nibbling at our granola bars. He has to be stopped before he gets into our stash of snacks for Trey.
Baby had other obligations this afternoon so I took Trey with me to the market to get a mouse trap. Without Baby to translate things were a bit more difficult. I managed to get a “we not having the catch, but we having the poison.” So bought my 1 gram of imported Chinese rat poison for 10 cents.
Let’s hope we get rid of that little bugger tonight.
Yesterday Dr. Faile’s mother passed away while visiting her sister at a hospital in Georgia. Please pray for him as he travels tomorrow to the US for the funeral. Also lift up the hospital staff in your prayers. He is the hospital’s only surgeon and will be gone for 1 1/2 weeks. They are trying to get a temporary replacement in his absence.
This week also marks the departure of three sets of volunteers. Oli, a British med student, is leaving Thursday after two months here. Peter, a Belgian doctor serving in Burkina Faso, heads back north with his wife and children. Finally, a team of 6 OB/Gyn doctors, nurses, and techs will return to Florida after having worked here for 10 days. That leaves the hospital very short-handed this next week with only Dr. Hewitt, Heidi, and Jessica, another 4th year medical from Kansas City, MO.
The day began at 7am with devotions for the hospital staff, delivered in both Mampruli and English. Afterwards, I got the tour of the medical center and then we started rounds. First, we examined the babies in the pediatrics ward who were hooked up to IV’s. Then, we sat in the middle of the room as the rest of the patients were brought by their mothers for us to examine. About 90%, probably more, of the pediatric patients have malaria. They are given IV medicine until they can tolerate taking oral medications and they are sent home once they have improved. One little girl was so lively and happy, it was obvious she would be discharged today. We then worked our way into the women’s, men’s, and isolation wards.
After rounding, we took a short break while the chaplains did a devotional speech for the patients in the waiting room. I walked back to the house, and met William, Trey and Baby as they were on their way to the market. The rest of the morning and afternoon, I saw patients in clinic with Dr. Hewitt. At first I just observed, but as it became obvious that there were many patients yet to be seen, I saw some of my own patients and double-checked my findings and treatment plans with Dr. Hewitt.
It was interesting and challenging as I was learning the treatment protocols, figuring out which drugs are on formulary and working through a translator for each patient. At least I have 3 months to perfect my BMC clinic skills. We took a break for lunch, and my day ended around 6:30pm, when Dr. Hewitt told me to go home so I could be with Trey.