August 20, 2010 1:00PM
Still at the airport…at least there's an airplane on the tarmac now that I think might be the one that's supposed to take us to Kasane. This delay means no opportunity for a sunset cruise on the river today. I think a partial refund may be in order:-P Now for Wednesday.
Wednesday, August 18, 2010
Wednesday was my day to work with Dr. Parth in the inpatient ward at Princess Marina Hospital. As I said before, he's a pediatric hematologist/oncologist. Rather than just getting a quick glimpse as a did previously when we admitted one patient from the clinic, I was able to spend the entire morning on rounds with him and the two other doctors on the team.
Like I've said before, the differences between the clinic and the hospital are striking. The differences in the patients in each of them were equally if not more striking. We saw about 10 patients throughout the morning, with various cancer/blood disorders. The more serious were a small girl with a kidney tumor about the size of a small football, from what I could tell, and who was basically receiving comfort care as there was no treatment that would cure her or truly prolong her life. In addition, and maybe most surprising to me, was a young boy who was running around doing well but had recently come in because of a recurrence of a retinoblastoma (simply, an eye tumor). He had received surgery and chemo, and was doing well other than having to have his right eye removed. However, the tumor started to grow back. Rather than bring him in right away, the family waited until the poor kid essentially looked like he had a horn coming out of his forehead, from what I understand. The apparent thought process was that, in his village where hunting and other activities are of utmost importance, he was living an inferior life anyway. The quote I remember from Dr. Parth quoting his mom was, "He is already missing one eye. What is the point?"
Just a few other things I noted during the morning. The beds of course are next to each other in the main ward, with no separation whatsoever. Parents who stay overnight sleep on the floor on mats, if there are any. Like TCH, there is an oncology ward. However, the "oncology ward" is one room that looks almost like a classroom with four beds in it, again with no curtains or privacy. The chemotherapy, like almost everything else, is mixed and given by the doctor giving it, not simply ordered and left to be administered by a chemo nurse. Patients who were coming for treatment or to be admitted were seen by Dr. Parth: his office was a bench at the entrance of the pediatric ward. In general, there is just so much less. Less space, fewer resources, fewer nurses, less attention to cleanliness. Earlier in the year a sink overflowed and the water could not be turned off, spilling over right in the middle of the ward as maintenance caught it in a bucket while trying to fix it.
As the surprising and humbling morning concluded, I was able to run home for some lunch before returning to clinic for another lecture. After lecture I set a goal of finding a place to stay in Kasane for the weekend. Calling around and asking those who were full for suggestions on where to stay, I stumbled upon "The Old House" and reserved a room for Friday night there, and since unfortunately the nice lady on the phone insisted that they were full for Sautrday, I found another room at Thebe River Lodge. Victorious, I decided to head over to the Sun again for a half-priced drink before finally making a proper dinner. Added bonus this time: about ten after six the bartenders passed out bowls of beef jerky, cashews, and olives…salty snacks anyone? I think their magnanimity was a bit questionable:-P. Tricky tricky, bartenders. I however, fought their salty temptation and stuck to what I had planned on drinking anyway and no more…I didn't care how thirsty I was. Regardless, after finishing I had dinner to cook.
I arrived home and set to dinner. Trying again to revise my previous "Pasta a la Gaborone", I cut up red bell peppers, tomatoes, an onion, and about six garlic cloves (thank you very much SUPERSPAR) and cooked them all up individually, as the pan was far too small for all of them. After adding a bunch of salt and herbs to try to counteract the sugar in the essentially "Spaghettios" sauce that I had leftover from the previous week, I poured said sauce in with the vegetables. It was still really sweet, but better;-P. A pot of boiling water, some shell pasta (the sauce and vegetables could hide inside!), and straining later, and it was dinner! By the way, there is still a ton leftover should anyone want to come over and try some:-P.
After doing the dishes, I set to work trying to write out a personal statement for residency application. I hadn't realized it until receiving an email earlier in the day, but our Dean needed a copy by the end of Friday. Now, forced creative writing is really not my thing at first. At least, I'm not good at setting to getting started. In any case, I thought over what I could write, read some tips about what to write, and set to it in my room, pictures of my family surrounding the mirror above my desk. About two hours later, I had something that I was at least not disappointed in, and thought could be edited and revised at a later time. By then, though, it was about 11 and time for a shower and bed. Anyone who would like to read said personal statement is more than welcome, just message/email me. However I think I won't be posting it on the blog.
That's all folks!