Sights and Sounds
Sometimes when I look back on the day, I am simply amazing at all the things that can happen in one day. Days back in the US don’t seem so as interesting maybe that’s because I know the culture at home better and things don’t seem as interesting.
Here’s a brief snippet of some sights and sounds of the day in chronological order.
1. Caught up with the “mama” who sells newspapers at the corner up from the IU House on the way to work. Simply buying two newspapers for the OR staff brightens her day immensely. I have never known a newspaper person who is so happy to sell papers. They cost $1 USD.
2. Cardiology morning report–the fellows are taught in American style. In other words, come prepared and come on time. Review of all cardiology consults and EKGs. An elderly patient was admitted with bad heart disease over the weekend. The ICU refused to accept the patient, because the suction was broken even though four beds were available. The patient died on the floor for a lack of suction. Yes, there is ischemic heart disease here in Kenya. Where is the person who refused to take the patient in the ICU?
3. Went to the ward to check on two of the patients we operated on last Friday. One of the patients was dead, and the second looked rocky at best. Said my final good-byes to Jumbi and Lugaria.
4. Humorous side bar–Birech the medical officer saw me in transit and called me over to say that I was becoming a real Kenyan since I was showing up to work with two newspapers. The Kenyans LOVE to read their newspapers. You can’t just have the one paper without the other here in Kenya.
5. Received text on my cell asking me to see a recent hand injury in a US ex-pat. Called the person to come down to MTRH to see me.
6. Ran to the OR to say good-bye and clean out my locker. Gave away the OR boots that Matthews wore just once in the OR. Asked several times if I was the son of Matthews. Ha, ha do all wazungus look alike? One of the medical students scrubbed into a case fainted while I was talking to the pediatric surgeon. Finally finished saying my good-byes after being asked to give out several monetary gifts on the way out of the door.
7. Office visit with Sabilia to arrange lunch. Saw the hand injury in his office with Paul my ortho resident friend and colleague
8. Went to a Kenyan restaurant with Sabila, his wife and Paul (read place where American’s wouldn’t go because they would never know where it was). There are 7 flies per person at this restaurant. Your food (chicken and ugali) is prepared from scratch so it took it two hours to get our food. I was offered the gizzard as the guest of honor per tradition–I passed on that one…fortunately Sabila liked it.
9. Ran back to the IU house to pay my bill but not before receiving two more requests for future gifts (Swahali word is zawadi)–boots and a scholarship for future training.
10. Called my favorite taxi man to help me get a quick haircut and get me back to MTRH in time for Grand Rounds. Actually was able to make it across town, get my haircut and make conference in less than 25 minutes. We might have set a land-speed record for Eldoret.
11. Grand rounds–good discussion on Acute Coronary Syndrome (heart attack), Wellen’s Syndrome and heart disease in the elderly (an increasingly recognized problem here in Eldoret).
12. Went to see a very ill-looking man on the men’s ward with John Lawrence, the retired US interventional cardiologist serving on staff here (pictured on the right). The smell of urine on the ward was overwhelming. Saw the patient laying in the bed with two other men. He was pale, diaphoretic (sweating) and on a large amount of oxygen. His echo was incomplete and not recorded permanently. The oral presentation of this patient was disorganized and missing information as well. While discussing the patient, two women rapidly carry out a third woman who is screaming and sobbing in mourning at the top of her voice. Some tribes have a tradition of expressing grief in this manner.
13. Went to dinner with John Lawrence and his wife. The restaurant was missing some staple food and drink items. Rather surprising given this restaurant caters to wazungus (Americans etc). Nice discussion about the challenges of advancing cardiology and cardiac surgery here at Eldoret. Discussed the corruption in the system and problems with tribal nepotism that hinders progress.
14. Talked with Matthews on the phone.
15. Spent time with Chrissie and Geren discussing mutual missionary friends, Tenwek etc.
16. Finally back in my room, packing, blogging and decompressing. What a day.