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Showing posts from August, 2010

Kamuzu Central Hospital-weeks 2 and 3

The saga continues, and only gets worse! I thought I was doing pretty well after the first two weeks--I was exhausted and my feet are swollen every night, but I could see the silver lining in most areas. Week 2 I worked at the HIV/AIDS clinic, where they have a fantastic system with computerized bar codes for each patient and a ton of needed services ranging from nutrition assessments to home-based hospice care from nurses that cruise around on motorcycles! They do see about 250 patients per day (all HIV+) which seemed amazing. And the vast majority of them looked perfectly healthy--it really hit home how the early stages can not be diagnosed by appearance! Then I also did a few days in the "Under 5" clinic where they see kids up to 14. Most were simple out-patient malaria treatments, coughs and colds. We did see a couple of measles cases, a first for me, and then bizarre things like kidney failure in a 10-yr old after a nasty strep infection, heart failure in a 12-yr old wi…

Kamuzu Central Hospital-week 1

I’ve finished my first week at the hospital; only 3 more to go! It’s been such a wild experience already I hardly know how to put it all in words, but I’ll try to give you an idea.
Day 1: we were supposed to meet with the hospital’s director of nursing at 7:30am. We sat on a wooden bench and waited, and at 9:30 her assistant said, “Perhaps she’s running late”. Yes, perhaps! She arrived just before 10 and we were sent off to different units. I got the surgical ward for my first 2-day assignment. It’s supposed to be a 60-bed unit spread over 3 rooms, but they’ve put beds along both sides of the patio with its half-wall, so they’re now considered an 80-bed unit but often will go up to 120 patients by putting mattresses on the floor. The nurse told me, “The problem is that during the rainy season, the patients out on the patio get rained on, but as long as we can give them a bed and the care they need, the rest is just details.” There are 3 nurses on day shift (7:30am-4pm) and 2 nurses on …

I'm a dork

So I have a nice, newsy blog update to tell you all about my first week at the central hospital here, saved on my computer at home where I can't post it instead of on the laptop here in the mission office where I can post it. Guess that was a wasted trip over here! But such is life when you're suddenly so busy you can hardly remember your first name!

The kids started back to school on Tuesday (yeah!) and they're doing fairly well. They love their teachers, they seem to have a good mix of classmates, but that 7am start time has knocked us all for a loop again and we're dragging by about 2pm (me especially) and having melt-downs over which play shirt to wear (mostly Ethan, but I wouldn't put it past me!).

The hospital is do-able, but I'm really worn out. Part of it is the pure number of hours I suddenly find myself working...from teaching 1 hour a day, to summer break, to suddenly being gone 7am-4:45pm! Part of it is the emotional stress of seeing the suffering and…

ABC Clinic

It's been forever since I wrote, and I'm sorry about that. Life has trucked on and we're all doing well, though summer has felt busier than I expected it to. Chad had only 2 weeks off before the next term started, so he's been hard at work, first developing the courses, then preparing for them, and now teaching them!

After getting back from South Africa, I was able to finalize things with our leadership and with ABC clinic, and we've worked out an agreement where I will see patients 3 mornings a week. The clinic is part of a mission compound that includes another seminary, the school which Anya and Ethan attend, and the community clinic. The clinic serves anyone for a small fee, but it won't be as busy as the local hospital clinics, where the services are free. I shadowed a doctor there for 2 days and it's remarkably similar to where I worked in the US--with the additional potential diagnoses of malaria, yellow fever, dengue fever, cholera, typhoid....arrrgh…