Friday, November 14, 2008

TIA- This.Is.Africa.

1. A week ago Saturday morning, while the other two volunteers, Sarah and Lauren were at church and I was enjoying a lazy morning of yoga and reading, their house (which will one day be my house as soon as there is a roof in my room,) was broken into. Though we don’t know for sure, we have reason to believe that our thief was a child, being that he, or she for that matter unwisely left (a wet shower, used muddy bucket and little muddy foot prints in the bathroom) more than he or she took (cell phone and spare change). Unfortunate as it is to have our cell phone gone which really puts a damper on the weekly chats with our parents, we are quite thankful that it was the phone that was taken while their cameras, computers and ipods were spared and we really cant help but laugh at the thought of a little intruder capitalizing on the opportunity of cleaning up a bit while in our house........ T.I.A.

2.Not too far from our town of Koza there is a smaller town named Mozogo which claims the only forest in the Extreme Nord as its prize possession. Along with a new friend Marcel, (a peace corp worker who has been here for almost two years) to play guide for us, Sarah, Lauren and I headed our way into the thick of the jungle for a nice afternoon away from the hospital. Happening upon a tree fort that was built a number of years ago, we promptly climbed up and made ourselves comfortable high in the canopy of the forest while 20 wild baboons played for hours surrounding the tree house as we laughed and stared at them while they laughed and stared at us.........T.I.A.

3.With both doctors out of town in Boston for a surgical convention for a week, my personal position here at the hospital, which is usually to directly assist Greg in either surgery, clinic, or rounds was altered a bit when I was asked to work in the Pediatrics Ward with Eliza, the only female nurse on our staff instead. Usually one of the other girls would work with a nurse and I, a doctor, but since I speak French and they don’t and Eliza doesn’t know a word of English, we all thought it a better fit for me to work with her. The week in Peds was hectic, and had us admitting over 30 patients into a ward that reaches capacity at 24 which meant there was not much time to sit me down and explain how and when to do the things that were needed. Thrown into a flood of charting, diluting and calculating meds, giving meds in a timely fashion, giving shots, starting IV’s, and even prescribing meds while changing patients from IV feed to oral doses was brand new for me, but I am quickly beginning to grasp the fact that a lot in the medical field cant be taught in a classroom or from a text book. As I have stated before I am learning so much here, overwhelming amounts daily, yet have barely opened a text and have with open arms accepted Eliza’s motto for the week of teaching me the ropes, as my own.... “You are allowed to sit and watch only once, and then you simply do.” ........T.I.A.

4.Well I think we all assumed I would eventually get pretty sick over here in Africa, in fact I think we all expected it, it was only a matter of time. The question was not ‘If,” but “When” and the answer is....”Now.” Unfortunately I think the ever looming malaria has begun to wrap her hands around me and things aren’t looking pretty. Never mind the fact that it is a nearly negligible amount of Plasmodium Ovale that are exponentially attacking the red blood cells in my body causing them to burst and die because it is not this bout of malaria that I am concerned with. No, I can handle a low count of malaria this time, it’s the next time that has me worried, because if waves of fever, chills, dizziness, cough, headache, stomach and chest pain, diarrhea, vomiting and loss of appetite all present themselves with even the slightest amount of malaria , I can only begin to imagine what the future holds......T.I.A.

In short...Bush Africa...Night running with a head lamp, sipping home brewed tea in a hammock, one day weekends, snakes, exceptionally dirty feet, missing coffee in the morning/noon/night, substituting a bucket for a washing machine, target practice on veins, living in fear of every mosquito, learning from your mistakes.



TaraB said...

Monkeys! Allison...I'm really excited for you.

lauren said...

Hey cousin! Love reading your posts; can't wait for the new chapter every week or two. Sorry to hear about the malaria...will miss you lots at Christmas!