July 28th, 2016 by INMED
I’ve spent 3 days on female ward and 1 day in the HIV clinic this week. From a medicine perspective this has probably been my favorite week due to the variety of pathology. Also, before coming here I had never actually encountered any HIV+ patients. The HIV clinic is quite busy and seems to provide great benefit, as most of the patients we saw where just checking in for regular lab draws and med checks. The majority of them have undetectable viral loads, which is great. I was working with Dr. Timothy, who has been an excellent teacher, and also gets flustered randomly in kind of a hilarious way. The female ward is basically a general medicine ward for ladies.
In addition to time in the clinic I have been working on a project for Dr. James, my supervisor. He wanted to know the reasons for which patients are referred to larger centers, so I have been going through a notebook with entries for each of the referrals over the last year. It seems the most common reason for referral is a head injury or stroke and subsequent need for a head CT to evaluate whether or not the patient has intracranial bleeding. I have come across some pretty exotic diagnoses in my time in the referral book, however, including Kaposi sarcoma, TB meningitis, Brucellosis, and cerebral malaria, to name a few.
I’ve spent more time the last week with two Ugandan students just starting their third year of training, Damian and Zam Zam (for real, Zam Zam). They asked me a bunch of questions about life in America, for which their only source of information is American television. They think all medical professionals in the US are extremely attractive, then I showed up and confirmed all their suspicions (just kidding). We talk about medicine quite a bit, too, differences in training, and life generally. At night the girls in the guest house and I have been kicking it with the six year-old son of the medical director, Gideon, and his eleven year-old buddy, Agre. They sneak around our house while we’re reading on the porch and try to jump out and scare us. Usually I can hear or see them coming. Usually. Last night I tried to teach them how to make fart noises with their armpits. They thought it was hilarious.
A couple nights ago I played in a hospital soccer tournament with the crew from the operating theater – they have uniforms and everything. They take it quite seriously, and I’m basically out there in skates on my vans. If only I had packed cleats! I’m beginning to seriously crave some creature comforts. I haven’t taken a warm shower in 3 weeks, and I miss pizza like a caged bird misses flight. Freedom is pizza. All in all, though, I have enjoyed the simplicity of life here. It has eliminated a number of frivolities, and the lack of distractions forces me to read quite a bit (I knocked out Anna Karenina in two weeks, which, other than some of the Harry Potter books and the Bible, is probably the longest book I’ve ever read). I’m learning plenty, about medicine, life, and mission. It will take me a while to process it all once I’m home, but I’m quite glad for the experience! Thanks for following along!