Friday, August 13, 2010

Rocket Man…

Thursday, August 12, 2010 9:37 PM

This blog post comes to you LIVE (okay, not live, I can't even post this thing until tomorrow morning because I haven't figured out how to piggyback onto the one wireless network within range my computer) from Crispy's Bachelor Pad in sunny (well at least tomorrow morning it will be) Gaborone, Botswana. Yes yes, I know, it's not really a bachelor pad, but I'm all by myself and I'm trying to have a positive outlook on it…so for now gimme a break and we'll say Bachelor means (dude living all by his lonesome in a foreign country). More on that later…

So I've been kinda slacking for the last couple of days, but to be honest, I've had decent reasons why and there hasn't been too too much new going on each day. So I don't feel like I am totally behind (it's not like there was a cheetah at the clinic who I got to pet and who randomly decided to give me a hug), and I feel like I can summarize briefly…that is, with limited interruptions and tangents (not likely).

So…Tuesday was it? I guess that's the day that I haven't chronicled as of yet. Tuesday was pretty tame, actually. I mean, if I recall correctly, I was in the Family Clinic, which fortunately for everyone involved finished by about 11:30. There were so few adult patients, in fact, that the doctor I was working with actually starting picking up pediatric charts here and there. So at the very least I got to see a couple cute kiddos. I think one was a baby…but it was three days ago and it's all a blur… I ran home and grabbed some grub and then essentially went back to the clinic to use the internet there, wrote for Monday's blog entry, and then came home.

After that I decided that I needed to educate myself while I was here, so I read the chapter in the book that BIPAI gave us about Antiretroviral Treatment. I thought I was preparing myself to look like a good little student, because in my mind that was the lecture we were supposed to have one afternoon this week. After reading, it was already about 9:30 and the night was done as far as I was concerned. Shower, Office of Readings, and a bit of leisure reading later, and it was sleepytime.

Wednesday…I can do Wednesday, that was only yesterday.

THE PAC DOCTORS CAME BACK! Seriously, we were all happy to have the PAC (Pediatric AIDS Corps) doctors back. Essentially they are physicians who have agreed to come work at the clinic for a year or two years in order to help train local doctors so that at the end of the five-year program the clinic can be run by the local docs entirely. In any case, three of these docs were away on a medical trip to Nigeria, while another was in Houston on leave. However, now that they are back the other docs are happy to have more flexibility in their schedules and additional hands on deck. I was just happy to meet them. On Wednesday I was able to work with one of them in the pediatric clinic.

However, Wednesday was actually kind of a blah day as far as the clinic went. It wasn't anything against the doc at all. I honestly think we just got a crummy set of patients. Now, before I am labeled mean or a bad medical student for calling my patients crummy, I just mean they seemed super apathetic. No energy, no real enthusiasm for their own care, and just kinda "I'm gonna sit here and shrug my shoulders and not really answer your questions" kind of attitude. Granted, there were a couple of exceptions, thank goodness. But seriously, it just kind of reinforced my desire for there to be a subspecialty in pediatrics called "Pre-School Medicine." It basically goes like this: I get to play with them and take care of them while they are little, fun, and want to play too. I give them their immunizations, watch them learn to talk, walk, play, and make poopy in the toilet, and then I pass them off to someone in "Elementary Medicine" for them to gradually turn from cute into rebellious and apathetic. Thank God for NeonatologyJ.

I thought that I would make the day better by stopping for lunch at the little restaurant near the clinic run by the local old ladies. The food was great of course. However, unrelated to the food, a little while later I started to feel a scratchiness in my throat, and a soreness when I swallowed. It was just a general blah feeling. Perhaps it was related to the fact that I knew that I was going to be roommateless the following day, but in any case that made Wednesday a meh type day too. Later that evening, sitting around longing for something to do other than sit and do nothing in a TV-less, internet-less house, I broke down and started to READ A BOOK for fun. Granted, it was "The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe" because I figured that it was the closest to mindless reading as I could get, but still, it was a bookJ. After a quick dinner and some more reading, I was ready for bed…and I'm pretty sure I fell asleep before 10….

Which would make you think that I'd be up and at 'em at 6:15 this morning when my alarm went off. Again, I had planned on getting up early, making some eggs and toast for a real breakfast, and having plenty of time to get to work. Five pulverizations of the snooze button later, it was another "Get up and get to the clinic" morning. I did have time to make some coffee and put it into my nalgene (thanks babe), which kept my hands warm as I clutched it on the walk to work. Seriously though, you would think "Sunny day in Africa" would automatically mean hot…but you'd be wrong. That clutched nalgene full of hot coffee was, well, clutch.

Today (wait, seriously, I'm already to today, which by tomorrow when I post this will be yesterday? DANGIT I will never catch up), was another good day in the pedi clinic. I was able to work with the PAC doctor who helped answer my many questions in the days before I left for Botswana. The kids were much more energetic and cooperative, which makes for an easier day. Nothing too out of the ordinary, though I think I'm gradually settling in to the rhythm of the appointments and am being allowed to do a bit more each day. I am hoping that by the time I am done here that I'll be essentially conducting the visit with the watchful eyes of the doc in the room. J Even still, there is so much to learn with regards to medications, treatment, etc. that I am sure that there will be at least one look of "Help" from me towards the doctor each time:-P.

This afternoon was essentially just a lecture (not on ARV meds, like I thought…nuts) and meeting with one of the docs to plan a presentation for next week. It turns out to be really good timing, because…

MY ROOMMATE IS GONE. This house is seriously so much less warm and fun at night…add to that being in it by yourself, the fact that it pops and creeks randomly, and the creature that I pretend is a monkey, hope is a possum, but really think is a rat(s) scurrying around at night in the attic, and it's easy to see that I am a bit jumpy tonight.

In any case, I brought my sad self back home this evening and just set to work reading up on the article to present, and then decided at 9:30 that I'd done enough for the night.

This brings us to Crispy's question of the day, which is going to sound strange but actually is a debatable question, possibly. So everyone who has read this blog knows about Vincent the Electrical Engineer who I have seen at Mass on numerous occasions, is an usher at the Cathedral, and is by all measures a really nice guy. After Mass today, he walked with me about half a mile on my way home, telling me about how he goes to Mass both in the morning and the evening each day, job searching in between. He then turns around and says he is heading back to the Church because he lives in the opposite direction and wants to go back and do some meditation in the Church before going home. In any case, he tells me that if I am not busy Sunday that he wanted to have me over to for lunch after the 10AM Mass.

So, I realize that he is clearly a faithful guy, but nearly everything inside me says not to go over to a random stranger's house, especially while in another country. Honestly, I do not think this guy has any ill-intentions, but even still. Question of the day: What to do? And how do I tell such a nice guy that I really don't feel comfortable accepting his hospitality?

It is now 10:30 PM. Sorry the blog wasn't deep/funny/that entertaining. Just an update today. I'll have better stuff later.

And just a parting thought. I have about 5000 songs on my computer, set to shuffle. If my computer plays "Rocket Man" one more time, I am: 1) going to think it is not "Random" but wired and 2) I am going to cry because I do NOT need to be reminded that I am so far away from my family by Sir Elton John, thanks very much. My own thoughts, the screensaver on my computer that I sometimes use to go to sleep, and the six pictures my mirror in the room here do that enough…

That's all folks,


Rocket Man