Thursday, March 20, 2014

Sure is hot out here...I've never sweated so much I my life. Report day 3

Report from yesterday:

I am in a bit of a shock...but I'll get to that.

The day started out with another night of multiple awakenings. Hopefully I'll adjust otherwise I might have to ask for a different room. I didn't have to be at the obstetric clinic until 9:30 but I left early to use the Internet. (Might have a nifty solution for that, I'll explain later.) 

I headed over to the OB building but had no idea where I needed to go. I called Selom to see if he could come get me. He said he would have one of the girls call me and get me...aka I think he was still in bed lol. I just started exploring. The crazy thing is no one really seems to question your presence. 

I ended up finding Warlanyo...or rather he found me. I was walking through a room filled with a crazy amount of pregnant women. So..many...pregnant....women. The students were working with the nurses to find a good patient to interview. Once found, we all crammed into the examination room. As it was Monday, people were walking in and out, on the phone, listening to their music, carrying on conversations...I'm still trying to get used to that. Apart from answering questions, the patient never said anything. They just take it all as it comes. Even crazier, this woman couldn't recall what year her children were born! She would give one answer and when asked again a different one. One of the students asked me if that happened in Germany. All...the...time. Dr. House was spot on when he said all patients lie. Intentionally or not, you will meticulously interview a patient and when presenting to the consultant all of a sudden they have diabetes, the dad died of a heart attack and they were operated twice although you specifically asked about all that! So then you look like a sloppy history taker and want to hit people. 

We hung out interviewing and examining this one patient a few hours until the consultant had time for us. We presented our two cases (with copious amounts of interruptions, phone calls taken, doctor looking through his phone, breaks I can't explain). At around 2:30 the doctor told us to go home. The other students informed me that we were on duty tonight in the delivery ward. I was so hungry at this point so I walked over to the MedDiner with some of the guys. There I saw two white people. One of the guys from my group went and talked to the guy. When he got back I asked where the two where from. Already sensing the guy was German. So it was. I ordered my food and got a drink, said goodbye to the guys and said I'd see them later and then headed to the table with the German. The other person was a girl from Spain.

Both of them have been here a few weeks. We chatted a bit and discussed hanging out. They have been around Accra a bit and I haven't even left campus! Perfect. They also told me they have a SIM card for their phone which includes 3G. We planned on stopping by the Vodafone store tomorrow so I can get the same. Yes! I will be connected again! Once I got my food, we headed out. They went back to their hostel and I headed to the college of health science building for my internet fix.

Still having two hours before the duty started, I walked back to my room. Quick freshen up, change and back on the road. 

Again, I had no idea where I had to go. But since I realized that really no one questions why you are there, I just decided to start going places and looking at things. I found the labor ward, entered, did find a familiar face but she went up a level. I hung around labor ward 1 where it seemed the bit more complicated pregnancies lie. One level up are the spontaneous deliveries performed by the midwives. I looked around, peeked into the OR, looked at babies. I stood around a lot hoping one of the doctors would question my presence. Nope. Finally one of the consultants on my team entered. I followed him and the others for about 15 minutes before he finally asked what my name was. Then he remembered I study in Göttingen and that I am on his team. He asked himself why he didn't know my name... I told him it must be the fact that I blend in so well in this environment. Lol.

We looked at one patient and then headed into the doctors room...which has AC. I was sweating profusely before that. This heat is really effecting me. I was getting annoyed though that I was sitting in the room with a bunch of pregnant women out there. As in Germany, as long as nothing is complicated, the midwives take care of it. But since no one seems to care where you stand here and what you watch, I headed back out. I went to the OR room and got invited in by who I assume was anesthesiology. 

My state of shock had already begun a bit as I walked into the ward. Coming from a country like Germany which probably has some of the strictest hygiene rules and strictest if not anal workers (don't you dare stand there or get too close or touch that or even look in that general direction) this was a shock. I really don't want to say anything bad about their situation because they work with what they have, do their job, treat their patients and are genuinely nice people. Just to compare to the situation in Germany, I had to get a pair of scrubs from a doctor the day before, I couldn't find a hair net so I asked and was given one from a locked cabinet, hygiene doesn't seem a huge priority, a lot of the equipment is broken, the surgical gear was minimal and some people weren't even wearing masks in the OR! But....they are making it work and people are getting treatment. I'm sure the infection rates are much higher and probably the mortality as well but maybe Germany would suffice with less as well. The team was very nice. I again was a bit shocked when they started watching YouTube videos but hey, I'm comparing to anything fun would be different. (Now obviously that is not true for all of Germany, I had a lot of fun in urology. Those are my people. But I don't think chief would have appreciated me whipping out my phone, putting on a YouTube video and running around without a face mask...just saying.) I watched them perform a c section on a woman with twins. These little babies are so cute. 

I hung around until 9 and then started getting tired. One of the girls from my team was so sweet. While on the ward we hung out and then she said she would walk me out and make sure the taxi doesn't rip me off just because I'm white. On the way a lady asked if I needed scrub shoes. I did. We three walked over to the gyn building and I got shoes and a OR cap for just 12 Cedis (3.30€). The girl and I waited for a cab, she talked to the driver and I was brought home for 3 Cedis. Tomorrow it's off to the gynecology ward. 

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