Excellent day today….we started off with a hot cooked breakfast and then made our way to the Black Lion Hospital. We met with the head of the paediatric ICU and she gave us a tour of both the peds area and the main hospital wards.
When we entered the peds ER/ICU area, there were about six beds in where one bed would go in our hospitals. There was family all around each patient and it was very quiet. We learned that the family does the main nursing of the patients. The diaper changing, the feeding, the bedding changes (that they supply) as well as fetching any and all medical supplies and medications needed. For example, if an IV antibiotic is ordered, the family is given a prescription to go get the bag of saline, the iv tubing, the lock, the gauze, the medication itself…everything that is needed for the pt. Nothing is stocked at or provided by the hospital. NOTHING.
There were large crowds waiting in all areas of the hospital. Some patients or family were actually camping out in the hospital with pieces of cardboard to lay on, their blankets and their pots of food.
When we were going through the peds ER, they were using plastic water bottles, tape and tubing to makeshift Macgyver both saline infused oxygen as well as for CPAP machines. Lee and I stopped at the side of one 30 day old baby girl who had neonatal sepsis. Her father was there as well as a resident who was in charge of her care. Lee and I looked right away and could see she was struggling to breathe. Alynne joined us as she could see something was going on. The little girl was barely breathing and the Dr was tickling her to try and rouse her. Lee asked if he could bag her to assist her ventilation’s, and the resident thought that was a good idea, and so he did. Alynne and I suggested suction cause you could hear the secretions, and the resident again thought that was a good idea, so a suction tubing was removed from a glove that was taped to the side of the bed that the family had brought in for her, and she was suctioned. A minute later she was breathing on her own again…albeit with sats of 91% and near death without a doubt. Had Lee not stopped by her bedside, we are all confident the resident would not have been able to handle things, and she would have died right then and there. I would not be surprised if she has died by now, along with however many of the other extremely sick kids that were there.
We continued our tour and met a patient that was a ten year old boy who was recovering from his third bout of Gillian Barre syndrome, which is either a case for the medical journals or a misdiagnosis multiple times. We then met up with the Chief of the Hospital and she toured us through their critical care area of the adult ER where we followed the Drs doing rounds. There was a 60 yr old woman with Leukemia sepsis getting blood infusions and was being ventilated with one of the four in total the hospital had. The Drs for some reason were keeping her on life support for some totally unknown reason to us as EVERY SINGLE sign of brain death was present. In consultation with two Toronto ER Drs that were there doing a residency and teaching position, the six of us were at a loss as to their treatment plan. We also saw a woman with such ascites in her abdomen I thought she was pregnant at first. It was unbelievable how big her belly was with all the fluid in it. We saw a young msn with cardiomyopathy and kidney failure who was on an epi drip even though he was tachycardic, we got to see a pregnant women get an ultrasound to try and diagnose her shortness of breath because of the risk of an X-ray to the fetus….it was filled with patients as high as you could stack them.
There were BartSimpson posters as well as Tom and Jerry ones in the peds ward, and one that maybe was lost in translation that showed a kid and some tools and said, “Keep on hammering!”
Matt and Kari were there for part of the tour and then went to the University to get their own tour of the dentistry lab they had.
We met up back at the house for lunch and Kari had surprised Alynne for her birthday with some cake she picked up from the bakery on the way home. I had brought some candles from Canada with me, so it was well lit up when she blew them out. We all then had some wet, soapy, rose flavoured birthday cake. No one had seconds. I thought for sure if I hiccuped bubbles would come from my mouth!
After lunch Bisrat’s wife Saggi showed us to how make injera. It is the staple food here made from a grain called teff. It is like a cross between sourdough bread and a crepe. I am going to try and make some when I get home!
I learned that being a professional driver is an occupation here. It takes six months to get your drivers license and costs $6,000 Birr, which is a lot considering 30 Birr a day is most people’s wages. It would explain why the traffic flows so well, considering lines are just a suggestion, and in a city of 3 million there are only four stop lights. It was crazy!!
At the medical clinic today I got to do something I’ve never done before. There was a girl with molluscum contagiousum. I know it sounds like a Harry Potter spell, but they are a viral infection that looks like a cross between a wart and a whitehead. The cure is to leave them alone, but most kids pick and scratch at them, and then they spread everywhere. The other cure is to take a scalpel and scrape the head off until you see the gluey pus underneath and then squeeze them till a big ball erupts and then wash them. They will dry off and go away then too. It was harder than I thought it would be to cut the skin by scraping and avoid sliding into this girl’s face.
Nail polish Gate three
This time at the Kirkos centre, I gave the bag of polishes to the older girls and had them paint their own nails. I was wondering if I would get them back at the end, but I did and wasn’t subjected to needing a stick to be kind.
For supper tonight we went to the Yod Abssynia Restaurant for traditional Ethiopian food. One of the graduates from the Canadian Humanitarian programs was playing there as a musician and so we chose that night to go. The videos we took of the traditional dancing were very similar to the dances that children did, but with definitely more fervor! Our supper was the traditional plate of food, but in the middle was a ?vulture egg drowning in a very spicy sauce that was thought to be spiced with cobra venom. Our driver’s ate that, we did not … lol. It was a non fasting supersized celebration meal they called it, with sizzling goat chunks (which Alynne loved, but I couldn’t bring myself to eat) and lamb entrails. I didn’t eat much for supper other than the chick pea and bean dishes. I have definitely been spoiled with my Alberta beef.
Our song of the trip was one called Malemequoi by an Ethiopian artist. I decided to go out on a limb and see if the band could play it for us. Not only did they, they got all their dancers dressed up in the correct costumes, and let me co-perform it. The video is funny, but I think my resume now can say professional dancer (no pole required).
Their dancing like I said before is very different than ours. The do full body twerking, as well as moonwalk pushups 2.0 as seen in the videos. I can’t post these here yet though.
Off to bed after a long day!