Thursday, December 29, 2005

Day 28 and 29

Having been here for a few weeks now, I thought it might be nice to give you a picture of what my normal day looks like, so here goes.
A day in my life begins fairly common with the sound of the alarm on my phone going off at fifteen-minute intervals to ensure that I actually get out of bed. I then fight my way out of the mosquito net that covers my bed, and on a rare occasion have unfortunately managed to trip my way out of bed when my foot got caught on one end of the net. A quick shower with the shower head that only reaches chest height, a cup of instant coffee and some toast take up about the next 15 to 20 minutes depending on how many of my house mates are crowded around the industrial strength hotpot, the likes of which I have not seen since college. I am usually leaving for work by 7:45am to open the office and then grab some drugs or some paper that is needed at the clinic. The staff aims to leave the office at 8am for the clinic, but that rarely happens so around 8:15 seven of us are packed in the land cruiser for the 10 minute drive to the O.I clinic, which stands for opportunistic infection. At this point I walk into the halls of the clinic that is packed with patients in all states of wellness, and take a deep breath. I see patients in a consultation room until around 11am when I take a few minutes to go across the dirt road to this type of pool hall that smells like stale beer and usually has about five or six men shooting pool on the one pool table. There is a room to the side that sells coke and fanta, so I buy a coke for $25,000 Zim dollars and take it outside to enjoy the fresh air for a bit. Elena and Esther usually join me on this ¨tea¨ break. Then it is back to the clinic to see more patients until about 1pm. If there are not that many patients to see then I try to take stock of the pharmacy or help out with the new patients that the doctors are seeing. In fact what I am supposed to be doing is writing down all the patients that have not come to see me on their scheduled day, but that is tedious and I usually leave that until Friday.
So the car and driver come to pick me and the rest of the msf staff that works in the clinic up and we find some type of lunch. Lunch may consist of a sandwich at the one coffee shop in Bulawayo or meat and rice at the office if we ordered it from the wonderful housekeeper at the office in the morning. After lunch it is about 2 or 2:30 so this leaves a few hours left in the day that are filled with a number of different tasks that range from training for the counselors, visiting the outside clinics, entering data, figuring out the pharmacy stock and I am sure many other tasks that I have failed to learn yet. I usually get back home around 6 or 6:30pm and have some tea with my housemates and stand around in the kitchen talking about the day. Dinner is usually around 8pm which is really late for the American in me but seems normal to all of my Spanish roommates. After dinner on a few occasions we watch a movie on the computer or I find myself reading a book. Unfortunately, there is a limited supply of both movies and books so I do find myself daydreaming and of course writing this blog. I guess that raps up my typical day. I hope you enjoyed! Day 29 – The patients – They are so wonderful to work with. Everyday I realize how fortunate I am to have been blessed with good health and a wonderful family. Today there was a woman that came to the clinic in tears because the family friends she was staying with found out she was hiv positive and want her to move out. The family apparently was buying new plates. The lack of understanding of the disease can lead to so much heartache. I pray that things work out for her and she finds a new place to stay. It really is a shame. On a lighter note, some of the names of the patients that I encounter make me laugh all day, names such as ´Bigboy, Lovemore, Lookout, Never, Shorty, and Marvelous´ are becoming common to me.


Blogger The Czar said...

You want more hints?!?!I once was called "Bigboy" or was that "big Guy" but never "shorty" and at one point in my life I was filled with movies-- but please tell us more about the flies!!! Does your mosquito net keep them out?

10:08 PM  
Blogger mikedunphy said...

Hi nancy,
dont know if you remember me, buts its michael dunphy your irish cousin, just got a letter from your parents which had your blog address so i said i would take this opportunity to wish you the very best of luck and happiness on your year. i will check in regularly to see how things are going. A very happy new year to you.

all the very best,

10:08 AM  
Blogger brockbron said... from totty in the hot tub specialist.

3:47 AM  
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5:59 AM  

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