Sunday, December 11, 2005

Day 5

Wow, this has been a busy day. I think if I put it into categories it will be easier to tell you all about.
Work - I am starting to get the flow of patients and the entire drug regiment. The hardest thing for me is writing the prescriptions. Since we are a clinic with both MSF and MoH patients we need to write actual prescriptions to dispense medications. By we I mean myself and the doctor that are seeing patients. HIV meds are not the easiest for me to figure out. Changing drug regiments is a bit tricky, but the best part is that are pharmacy has limited resources so there are not that many decisions to choose from. The patients are great also. They are so aware of their medications and follow exactly what you tell them. Today I saw a woman that thought she was about three months pregnant. She had used a condom, but it broke. The horrible part of her story was that her husband died about a month ago and now she will be the only one to raise this child (if she is pregnant) and she has hiv. So many patients are losing weight not just because of loss of appetite, but because they do not have the money to buy food. Another lady came in with a horrible rash which Elana and I decided looked like the worst case of ring worm we have ever seen. The patients come in at 8am and wait all afternoon until they are seen. By the time we arrive at 8 there are probably about 100 patients waiting to see us. They are lined up in one long hallway and outside as well.
Christmas party - Today was our MSF Christmas party. The entire staff of about 50 people sat around ate food and exchanged gifts in a secret santa type setting. I bought a necklace for this woman Dorothy and when she hugged be to thank me she made me dance to this African ¨Thank you very much¨ song. There was a lot of swaying of hips and people clapping. It was a wonderful and yet embarrassing experience. The entire evening it poured rain so that the front yard of the office looked like a swimming pool.
Bar Hopping - Tonight a group of four expats went out in town to see one of the expats ¨small houses.¨ A ¨small house¨ is someone you are dating either overtly or covertly presently. I think the term came from years past in Zimbabwe when the men had wives that lived in the big house and mistresses that lived in the small house. Anyhow, we went to a Zimbabwean jazz club. At one point I looked around and noticed that we were the only white people in the entire bar. It was not uncomfortable at all though. It was like a regular jazz club in DC. I spoke to a friend of Kate´s small house and he was telling me how he visited DC, but was so scared to go there because he had heard about all of the crime and violence. Ironic, that I was feeling the same thing about coming to Zimbabwe. Although everyone was having a good time I still noticed the economic problems as evidenced by my experience in the bathroom. The ladies bathroom had no toilet tissue. I originally figured that they had just not replaced it, but one woman offered me some that she had brought along and I commented that she was prepared when she told me it is not uncommon for places to not have soap or toilet paper because they can not afford to stock it. Lesson learned. Bring toilet tissue everywhere you go.
I am feeling much better about living and working here. It was an interesting week and I can not wait for some more.
I am sending along a photo of the clinic I am working in and some of the Christmas party.


Blogger diego the boxer said...

nancy! happy birthday girlfriend =) were u able to celebrate?
wow girl, your job is hard so proud of you though. well, seems like you and your colleagues are enjoying each others company, and of course working together...
hey, i enjoy reading your entries girl, so keep it coming!

1:47 PM  
Blogger diego the boxer said...

its katrina and eric & diego sending you our hugs and love =)

1:48 PM  
Blogger Andrea Prados said...


I'm really enjoying your blog....sounds like you're seeing a lot of interesting cases! Can't imagine a 100 pts lined up to be seen.....and we thought we had it bad in the ER!


2:14 PM  

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