First Few Days In The Clinic

July 13th, 2016 by INMED

A rundown of the daily routine:


8:15 – 9:00 AM Worship and Prayer with a short message.


9:00 – 10:00 AM Doctor’s meeting. Doc on call from the night before does sign out and then we move into education.


10:00 – 1:00 PM Rounding. I was in the Pediatric ward the first day and the NICU the last two days. The NICU, I’m told, is one of 6 in Uganda, and it is packed. One physician rounds on something close to 30 babies, though not all of them are in dire straits – some just need a dose of antibiotics and the all clear. I have been with Dr. Becca, a Welsh physician, and Brian, a Ugandan medical student.


1:00 – 2:00 PM Lunch. Some women who work for the hospital/community prepare a feast for me/whoever is in the guest house during the week. They are excellent cooks! Typically I eat what’s left over for dinner. Pretty sweet deal.


2:00 – 5:00 PM Reading, waiting for admissions. I have seen just one patient in this time frame the last 3 days – a one-year-old with malaria on the Peds ward.


5:00 – bed Reading. I usually alternate between study materials and leisure reading.


The worship and prayer has been my favorite time the last few days – the worship is so rich and lively. Yesterday there was a great deal of excitement as the Archbishop of the Church of Uganda visited the hospital, so that time was more or less dedicated to him. All religious leaders wear funny hats.


Other notable stuff:
• I won the rematch with the help of one of the boys’ fathers, but thanks to some creative scorekeeping we ‘tied’. No punishments were performed.
• On the admission slips in the Peds ward there is a space for ‘Occupation’ – it often says ‘child’.
• The NICU does not have ventilators, but it does have some clever ‘CPAP’ machines made of air compressors, tubing, and Nalgenes. I spent 10 minutes staring at one and trying to figure out what it was before Dr. Becca let me in on the secret.
• The family that was staying in the guest house with me has left leaving me all to myself. I’m due to receive some more company in the form of additional medical students in a few days, though.
• No one really goes for a firm handshake. They just kind of hold their hand out there. I’m not accustomed to crushing hands, but I generally lead off with a baseline squeeze that I can adjust based on what I’m given. Here it’s mostly it’s cooked spaghetti noodle. There are a hundred little things like that I am picking up on, and it is making me hyper aware – I’m sure there are a hundred more things I do without thinking that give my hosts a bit of pause.
• Despite everyone being very welcoming and hospitable, it’s still quite easy to feel isolated, culturally or otherwise. I am gaining a new level of empathy for people who uproot and transplant themselves in cultures not their own – and for foreign medical grads!