Saturday, July 22, 2006

We are still on this rollercoaster

Hi all,

Well it has been long time since an entry. We've kinda lost a bit of motivation about adding to the blog...and now I have found some inspiration. Where to start. Well before we left Masaka we spent one day going very far out of town to an immunization clinc (different from the one the day before). Ais was busy weighing a bunch of bambinos and I immunized (ie. made a bunch of babies scream)...the staff were really into getting us involved and teaching us Lugandan words. It was good to see that most babies were up to date on their immunizations in this area. Before we got to the immunazation place we had to wait at a rural health clinic...and we waited with all the other sick Ugandans who were waiting for the doctor to come...I think he didn't arrive till 11 or 11:30 (and he said later he usually will see 100 patients a day at this clinic). Oh yah and the time here is very random...I think there is no such thing as being on time. After we finished with the immunizations the workers wanted to take us to a Cave and then to the lake (lake Nabugabo...which we had been to before...at the other end)...and just when we thought they were going to take us home so we could be back for our dinner plans...the clinical officer (doctor) decided he wanted to take us for fried fresh fish at a fancy restaurant on the lake...we didn't get home till 7pm. Its very much all about going with the flow here. Ahh then we had plans with the owner of the hotel we were staying at and his family. It was a very nice night in a very high end house...we watched all these videos of Ugandan weddings...he really wanted to Marry us off to his younger brothers. Then at 10pm they start serving us dinner (apparently this is a usual time for dinner in Uganda)...and good thing because we had already eaten dinner at 6pm.

Then our last day in Masaka we worked in the Antenatal ward and it was totally amazing. The midwife running the show here was absolutely super. She loved her job and kept her rooms immaculately clean and organized (not really something we have seen very much in these parts). She specialized in couselling clients about results from tests and focused mostly on HIV couselling. Ais had some time with her and a client spending a very long time on how to put on a condom, the expiry date, temperature to keep it in and how to talk to your husband about using a condom...she was absoletely fabulous!! I ended up helping with a backlog of hmmm 30-40 women who needed to have palpations...kind of like a crazy assembly line. Then we were leaving Masaka hospital. Kind of sad. Had tea and juice with the midwives we had worked with and some people in administration. Even considering the crazyness of the place sometimes I think we had aquired a real liking for the place and the people who worked there. There are some of the midwives that I am already missing. Some of the Ugandan students I think we will still keep in touch with...oh yah we also worked with some Ugandan med students (men) in the last week...and they were very super and interested in making change/learning from each other. Goodbye to our sweet hotel room and the hosptil in Masaka and on a bus to Kampala.

Ais and I took a three day weekend in Kampala. It was Aisia's b-day on friday...so a good day to have off. On Friday we went out to a coffee shop that has excellent Ugandan coffee (hard to find here bc they all drink Nescafe) and a great breakfast with fruit salad and muslie. They off for a Ugandan massage. Almost a two hour massage for 20 dollars...including a foot wash and massage at the beggining...got to love the underdeveloped country thing! Then out for dinner at a very nice outdoor restaurant with a group of Ugandan friends. Then out dancing the night away. The rest of the weekend was pretty melow. A friend took us to a used clothing market...a very wild place and thank goodness we had a Ugandan to guide us through the chaos.

This week. Started off very slow. Not many births in the first couple days at Malago and there were many (4-5) Ugandan students there also...and they were doing alot of the work. Even though we have been here for a while sometimes the way things are done is still shocking. For instance they are super picky about wearing two gloves for a delivery and bleaching the beds and floors, but sharps are left everywhere and anywhere (also half the sharps are on top of the sharps container not inside)and never mind that all the beds have scraps/nicks in them...a perfect breeding ground for bacteria. The last couple days have been pretty nuts...7 births each day. Delivering women in the floor, in their rooms, and being torn between two deliveries at the same time. Watched a breech delivery by a midwife while I was helping Ais with another delivery. Then there are the women falling off their beds (head first!!). Had a hillarious 10 minutes the other day of running from one woman to another picking their upper half of their bodies up and putting them back on the bed (as they were litterally pushing babies out at the same time). By the end of this falling off the bed escapade...we got kind of firm ... "Now you turn around...you have to stay on the bed". Then yikes...the way the many of the midwives treat the women is so brutal...and by Friday I was about at then end of my rope. With the midwife pulling on the woman's head and hair as hard as she could, yelling at her and then slapping her...yikes. I just try to be as nice as I possibly can, but its hard not to show my anger at these midwives for their awful behaviour. And, the students are exactly the same was...slapping the women and telling them they are weak. Interesting management also...just a bit slow on the uptake here. A baby is struggling to breath or a woman is hemmoraging and either nothing is done or it is all done in slow motion...sometimes I wonder are we all on the same planet. Overall though all very straightforward deliveries with healthy/crying babies as soon as they are delivered. We ended our fridey observing the delivery of a second twin (cephalic...head first) by a Ugandan student...very exciting. Perhaps the most memorable thing from this week was when a woman come in with a foot coming out (footling breech)...she was 7cm and this was her second delivery. The midwives assessed her and then wrote in their notes:
"Woman assessed with a footling breech at 7cm dilitation. Plan to transfer her to New Malago (the high risk ward) by ambulance. Meanwhile the ambulance is not available!!"
Kind of hillarious (they were laughing when they wrote it) and very sad. Now Ais and I say all the time to each other " Meanwhile the ambulance is not available" Hmmmmmm.

Spending our last weekend here in Kampala again. Now staying in the Mussy hotel..we are really used to the cold water showeres now. Then our last week in Malago..although we are mostly going to be doing other things other than delivering babies. Getting ready for our trip to Kenya next weekend and to actually be on hollidays.

Other Ugandan english-
-'I feel pressed'- I have to go pee
-'Do you want an escort with your tea'- this means a cookie or cracker..
-'Are you disturbed' or 'Is it disturbing'- ie. do you not like this or something like that...we are not exactly sure (but Ais and I ask each other all the time now if we are disturbed)

Welaba (goodbye in Lugandan)

2 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yes! The return of the midwife adventurers! And, more words for our lexicon to accompany the words that, especially for us non-midwife-type readers, send the imagine reeling: 'boggy uterus' (one imagines organs of oceanic proportions); 'trailing membranes' (something out of the movie Alien?); Morso Smelly Vite (Chloe explained this to me, but I still think it sounds like a new trendy menu item in an oh-so trendy restaurant).
Thanks for keeping us up to date! Life will seem humdrum without your blog to read. Take care. Lots and lots of love,
Barb/Mom

9:36 AM  
Blogger Emily said...

Thank you for the update! Have a good vacation!
love, Emily

10:14 AM  

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