Friday at the hospital I decided to spend the morning at the maternity ward. One side of the unit had a few rooms (when I say "rooms" I mean a bed behind a curtain) with women laboring. The other side had rooms for complicated pregnancies.
Not long after arriving, doctors and nurses kept asking us to put lines (IV's) in patients. I was a bit frightened since I was unfamiliar with their IV catheters. Marlen, who is a senior med student from Norway, offered to put the first one in so I could watch and see how their catheters work. In the states, our catheters have a button to push once you're in the vein that retracts the needle to prevent sticking yourself. Here there is no such thing...you literally take out the needle and set it on the bed.
After Marlen was successful, I decided to give it a try. After checking the patient's chart and seeing the words serum-NR (meaning HIV nonreactive), I found a good vein and went for it. I managed to make a bit of a blood bath but was successful.
There were a few woman screaming in pain. I don't blame them since there is no pain medication and no support from their spouses (men are not allowed in the rooms). The doctors or nurse midwives use a fetoscope (sp?) to listen to the baby's heart rate. One side of it is placed on the woman's abdomen as you press your ear up against the other side to listen. None of the women are hooked up to monitors like in the states, and vaginal exams are done every 4 hours. Therefore, there is no way of knowing if the baby starts going into distress. When the women are ready to push, they scream in Swahili, "doctor the baby is coming!"
Shortly after I had arrived, I saw a baby that was a stillborn, meaning the baby was born dead. Those are always sad. We finally saw a woman deliver who had meconium stained amniotic fluid. Not terribly uncommon, but can be very dangerous to the baby if the baby aspirates it. Meconium is a baby's first poop and can often happen inutero. So, preparing for this delivery, we went to set up the suction and realized it was broken! We tried improvising and making our own suction device with a syringe attached to a suction catheter but it didn't work that well. Fortunately, the baby came out crying. After seeing tons of deliveries, I still find them incredible to watch.
After the hospital, we lounged around the house anticipating going to see Lion King in 3D at Nyali Cinemax. I had never seen a movie in 3D and we are going on our safari on Thursday, so I was pumped! After getting yelled at for taking a picture inside the theater (fun fact: theater is also what they call the operating rooms in the hospital), I put my 3D glasses on and watched the movie. Why is it that I am 26 years old and still get sad when Mufasa dies??
Some of the girls bought liquor at the Nakumatt before the movie and played a drinking game where some of them had to drink every time they heard the word Simba, and the others Mufasa. I decided not to drink since my tummy was feeling a bit funny.
After the movie all 18 of us went back to our house, only to find that our power was out! I have gotten used to losing the power every day for a few hours, but it has always been back by night time. We all sat around in a circle with flashlights, most drinking (minus me and some of the Irish guys) and played a game. 2 people think of a rule and then say I am going to a picnic and am bringing a... sausage for example. Then you then go around in a circle saying what you're going to bring and try to figure the rule they made, based on whether or not they tell you that you can come to the picnic. Silly game that I remember playing as a child. Of course I was one of the last people to figure it out so I was getting frustrated...
Some of the group decided to go out but I was exhausted, so I figured I would try and fall asleep even though it was sweltering hot in our room. I got creative and tied one of my hand held battery operated fans to my mosquito net above my head and was able to fall asleep. Kitty got annoyed by the noise and turned it off after I fell asleep. I woke up at 3 AM and turned it back on, but she yelled "that fan is f$&@ng loud. Shut it off!" So I shut it off and somehow managed to fall asleep.
I got up real early because it was so warm and started hand washing my laundry with Lillian. She asked me to pay her 1,000 shillings, which is a little more than $10, but I had so much laundry that I wanted her help and didn't mind paying. It made me feel very grateful for my washing machine back home!
Most of the group spend the day at an elderly home, then orphanage, then some went back to White Sands resort and others to a place called Fort Jesus. I had already been to the orphanage last week and felt like relaxing, so I stayed behind doing laundry and laying by the pool. I dozed off at the pool, and woke up to Neil (one of the Irish guys) singing and playing the guitar. Neil and the 4 Irish girls were all hysterically laughing as Neil was singing a song he wrote about getting sick with food poisoning. Some of the lyrics were about puke coming out his noise and sleeping with a paper bag taped to his face. It was hilarious. It seems that every day there are at least one or two people that are sick.
I think we are going to have a chill night tonight and not sure what's in store for tomorrow!