Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Clinic #4: Mityana

This was going to be our final clinic, and we knew it. It was a little bitter sweet loading up the luggage of medications for these final two days. Ok, it was mostly sweet, since I know I was darn tired of lifting and pulling 7 bags through the back windows of the bus and lugging them over uneven dirt sidewalks.

The night before our first day, we brainstormed on how to make this one run most efficiently. We had definitely run into some speed bumps along the way. So, we formulated a plan to try and get through all of the orphans and school kids as well as the adults in the community. So, with a plan in hand, we started the clinic early.

Things ran really well. Partly because we finally knew what we were doing. Partly because Joshua and Paul, who run the orphanage, were very capable leaders [in the photo below, Joshua is on the far right, with Paul in the yellow shirt]. We arranged a line of children and the NPs saw them. We arranged a line of adults who saw the nurses for vital signs. Then they arranged in a line outside the door and waited for the PA or me to be free. By this time, we all had our own translator. I worked with Nicholas, a very bright and caring young man who one day will be a world-class economist. However, I was lucky enough to have him as my translator and friend. By the end of our week together, he could diagnose arthritis, give medication precautions for Benadryl and educate people on conservative treatment of low back pain. He was a lifesaver.

We were seeing a young mother who was holding a baby who was about 5-6 months old. All of the sudden, the baby's arms started shaking. Nicholas jumped up and translated for me: "She says this has never happened before - what's wrong with the baby?" I looked at the baby. His pupils were fixed and pinpoint. He was unresponsive to painful stimuli. He was shaking. He had a pulse. I grabbed my sister-in-law, the NP: this baby was having a seizure. {He only seized for a few minutes. Needless to say, we recommended that the mother take the baby to the hospital to get evaluated for a seizure disorder.

We saw about 250 people in 2 days. We were running out of medications at the end of the second day. Mostly over-the-counter things like Tylenol and Omeprazole. But, we did what we could, and the people were very thankful.

It was sad to pack up at the end of the day on Thursday. We said goodbye to the people in the town. We said goodbye to the kids. We eventually had to say goodbye to the translators...our new friends [here's a picture of some of them with some of us]. But, we have great memories and thanks to Facebook we are still keeping in touch, all these miles away. I have no doubt that some of us will go back to Africa, perhaps even Uganda. Some of us will work on helping the poor and under-served right here at home. All of us have been touched by the warm hearts of the people of Uganda, and that will leave a mark on us forever.

1 comment:

Julia said...

thanks for sharing your stories. wish i could've gone with you guys.