You can probably assume how this post is going to start out. I’ll give you a hint: it involves waking up for breakfast, situating myself by the pb&j at the table and… yes… the COFFEE! We were gearing up for clinic day 2 and my evening cocktail of my Malarone and Valium was proving to provide an excellent night’s sleep. Complete with the strangest dreams.. ever. Anyway, morning inspiration, breakfast, lots of coffee and we were piled into the vans once again. We were rearing and ready to go for Katwetwe Day 2.
Now that we were well seasoned in the way things ran during a typical clinic day, we were off and running even quicker this time. Lucky for me, I got to see a whole different side of clinic. The Kristen’s were taking over in the provider room. Just call me Little K the PA – as in a provider’s assistant to Dr. Kristen. We had our sweet little bench set-up in one of our two provider rooms. Jory, Jefferson, Greg and April were all in with us – I knew it would be a great day.
The registration team had just began to give people their wrist bands and papers so none of the patients had been through triage yet. Determined to get the show on the road, Dr. K and I grabbed the first person in line and tag teamed vital signs. Our first patient was registered, seen by a provider and given their medication all before 9:00am. BIG THINGS for Team Awesome on our second day.
Just when I thought the morning couldn’t get any better, it did. One of our physician assistants, Jory, had her little station next to Dr. K and I. She was in the middle of talking to an interpreter and a patient when my attention was drawn to a little girl who had jumped down from the bench in front of Jory and began walking toward me. Then all of the sudden she just hiked up her little white princess dress, squatted in between Jory and I and just started peeing. Yup, right there in the middle of the floor. Apparently I was the only one that noticed this event taking place. I mean, when a girl’s gotta go, she’s gotta go… right? At least she didn’t go in her pants? Never a dull moment.
Only a few hours into our second clinic day and I was learning more than I could have ever imagined working alongside Dr. Kristen. One of our little patients, maybe four or five months old, was showing signs of malaria. We had a test for it and it involved a finger stick. Usually at work, those are fairly easy to do, even on infants. This situation was proved quite the challenge. One: the baby was not happy in the first place. Two: the lancet that I had to use to prick her little finger somewhat resembled a thumbtack. The only thing running through my head was DO NOT BE THE VICTIM OF A NEEDLE STICK. Please Lord, no. She definitely didn’t like it but Dr. K and I got what blood we needed and the test did come back positive. Poor little thing. Thanks to PMI, that little baby and her mama were going home with the proper medications.
Our next patient was a gentleman who came hobbling in on one foot using a log as a cane of sorts. I promise you, the term ‘log’ is no exaggeration. And neither is comparing the laceration on the bottom of his foot to a portion of the Grand Canyon. Here, let me give you a visual…
We also saw a crazy case of Lordosis – curvature of the upper back. Poor guy came in and said that his back has been hurting him for years and this is what we see when he takes his shirt off…
At one point, someone ran into our provider room and said that there was an emergency outside. Five of us got up without question and ran to see what was going on. Dr. K, Bryan, Greg, April and I found a 13 year old on a bench outside with her family, holding her head in her hands and rocking back and forth, wailing. As some of us tried to disperse the crowds, the doctors took her to a quiet area to try and figure out what was going on. One of the villagers tried to tell me that the cause of her illness was demonic. April and I got a BP cuff, thermometer and clean water. They discovered that she did have a fever and Greg continued to question her and her family to try and get to the bottom of her episode.
Dr. K and I returned back to our post only to be welcomed by a mom and one of the cutest babies I have ever seen (do you see a trend? I think every baby that I encountered in Uganda was beyond adorbs). Anyway, this little guy was in his mama’s lap and was looking at me with this very perplexed look. Al of the sudden he reached his little arms out for me, obviously I was not going to deny a child’s wanting to be held and loved on. NEVER. The best part was that he was a perfectly healthy baby.
How could I forget! Dr. Greg and April saw a family of ten and mom, Grace, was pregnant. When I say that Greg is an amazing pediatrician, I convey that through this text with the utmost sincerity I possibly can. He had as much enthusiasm with the tenth child as he did with the first. Unbelievable. And if I am not mistaken, it took them almost two hours to see everyone. The kids were unbelievably well behaved. In fact, all the kids that I had the pleasure of meeting while in Africa were so well mannered and laid back. Little babies included.
Once we had seen all of our patients, the translators, who had helped us during our time in Katwetwe, had the chance to receive care. Many of them gave their spot to a family member in need. The love that the people in Uganda have for one another just awed and fascinated me. Pure, raw, unconditional love. It was uplifting and refreshing. You want to talk about filling your own love tank? Just immerse yourself in the culture of this country, spend time with these beautiful people and BAM! Love tank = Full.
After all of our patients had been seen by the provider team, we began to pack up our things and prepare for the trip home to Masindi. Word got out that the pharmacy was a tad backed up and they needed help. Pill party anyone?! It was like a puzzle – filling prescriptions. So much fun. A few of us filtered in to help and in no time we were ready to make like diarrhea and run. (too much?)
Aaaand then it started to rain. Unfortunately for us, the road to get out of there got even more treacherous when there was water involved. Not good. Although, if I remember correctly, Greg and I weren’t so concerned about staying dry or the fact that we might be pushing our vans home. We were sweaty and gross and it was raining. Free shower? Yes please. We danced a little jig, shouted out our numbers for role call and bee lined for the vans. The rain was light and as we started our drive we made it out underneath the storm in time to make it through the rough patch of road.
Clinic day 2 was a success. A day of phenomenal teamwork, hard work and love welcomed dinner back at the hotel. Shout-outs, life stories, showers and bedtime.
I was falling in love with Uganda and my head falling onto my pillow was a gift.