Eye Opening

June 9, 2011

Today I got to follow a doctor around, Marion Brown. She is from Wisconsin but practiced in Pennsylvia for 35 years in OB-GYN. She was 1 woman of the 60 in medical school. She retired because the last 10 years she did purely Medicare and Medicaid and could no longer afford malpractice insurance in Penn. So I went with her at 830 to the xray meeting where they go over all of the x-rays from the day before. There were so many and very unclear from supposedly an ancient machine. The man who analyzes them is quite amazing according to the wazungu doctors. Just to give you a hint of the theme of third world hospitals…. there is an x-ray of a chest and the doctor reading the description gets confused (a Tanzanian) and gives it to Christian (a doctor from Austria) who proceeds to say that this isn’t what was supposed to be xrayed and at the top it says “XR HIP.” There was also a woman who got xrayed instead of an ultrasound. So that was an interesting 30 minutes and we moved to the maternity ward.  First we went into the premi room where Marion made sure they were using the Kangaroo technique with the babies. That room smelled so terrible and foul I couldn’t describe. Next we met up with Jaap (pronounced yab) who is a 4th year med student from Holland to do rounds in ante natal. There were 10 beds in the room but it was pretty spacious. Most woman come in that are almost due and scared when they get a contraction. There were some others that had fetal demise and Marion got very angry that they were in this room because it is quite damaging psychologically. We went into another room where we gave these women a drug (I can’t remember the name) to induce contractions and dilation. Then they got called into labor because there was a woman who was struggling with labor. It was her first baby and eventually I got to witness that birth and a episiotomy.  It was close to lunch so that made me very light headed like when I was visiting my Grandpa when he got hospitalized with pneumonia. The area was very hot, no air circulation, and smelly. It made me rethink my doctor ambitions. However when I went running with Lauren (a second year Duke medical student) she said you need to drink lots of water so I think my dehydration played a big role in it. Duke has a cool medical school where they fit the first 2 years of teaching into the first year and the second they do some kind of research.  Continuing with the maternity ward there was a woman who was leaking amniotic fluid and a little blood. I got to see a cervical exam and see 2 cervices. After that it was lunch and then the lab.  I started running with two women to get into Kili shape and the altitude here is 5,000+ ft so it was quite hard to breathe haha.

Stung by scorpion Tuesday. Night before talked Crystal told me about shaking out clothes and shoes. I put on my pants and it was there, BUT when we tried to shake it out afterwards it was stuck so shaking it out would’ve done nothing. We had to pick him off with a ruler! This sent Crystal cursing like a sailor and almost fired me as her binti (child) but took that back because if a bug is going to bite its going to bite me. I’ve been the perfect insect repellent for everyone. It hurt a little bit but not too bad. I was ordered by our personal doctor (Christian) to keep it elevated. Christian has enjoyed the pleasure of being our doctor with every ailment we’ve had from bowels to my bugs. This time he got a great call at 7 am. Crystal has decided she can’t talk about bad things in relation to animals because if she says it happens the next day. It was also her birthday so we had cake, some really great songs by Jaap and Alexander, and then a relaxing evening hanging out with Christian and Lauren.

After the singing and cake

Worked in the lab transferring information to my excel files so Wednesday was rather boring, but I hadn’t been to the lab in almost a week. The salt samples have been taking longer to be gathered so I haven’t had much to do. I helped fill out a mass number of forms. I found it yesterday was also Upendo’s birthday so I invited her and Caroline for cake after work. After I finished everything I headed to the “tennis court” to do a version of P90X with Lauren and Beatrice. After thoroughly dying in the heat and with all of the jumping I came home to find the girls waiting for me. We had a delicious banana vanilla cake (delicious for here, man have my cake standards dropped since leaving Rachel Lo’s baking perimeter). I will get to learn more about working in a microbiology lab tomorrow so I am excited about that. Again we gathered at Christian’s for dinner on Thursday and it was absolutely amazing. Four types of salads… with balsamic vinegar, olive oil, mango, basil, apples. You name a delicious salad ingredient and it was probably in one of them. I was so shocked that they could find it. There was also curried beef and a marinated beef dish. Everyone agreed all the fresh vegetables and fruit were worth any possible diarrhea we may get tomorrow.

Friday I spent the morning helping Caroline with identifying different cultured specimens with this web database (Api I believe). After that it was lunch, chatting with the doctors, and then retreating my clothes with bug repellent. Then I went for a run with Beatrice and we had a bonfire in our backyard. All of the medical students came and it was a lot of fun with stories, jokes, guitar.  Everyone was out there except for my parents because they’re so tired because they’re working almost every waking hour (kind of sounds like my real parents, or at least my mom).

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